Category Archives: Society News

Joint ECS/SMM Letter of Concern sent to Massey University

The Society for Marine Mammalogy, together with the European Cetacean Society, sent the following joint letter of concern to Vice Chancellor Jan Thomas and Massey University Council to show their concern by reports that Massey University has recently proposed to eliminate its natural sciences from its Albany campus, which among other significant losses, would result in the complete removal of a BSc in Marine Biology programme, along with its associated staff and students.

See copy of official letter sent

29 March 2020

Dear Vice Chancellor Jan Thomas and Massey University Council,

We write on the behalf of the European Cetacean Society (ECS) and the Society of Marine Mammalogy (SMM), two scientific bodies comprising a total membership of over 2,300 scientists, managers and conservationists. Our societies aim to promote and advance the science and conservation of marine mammals. Our respective membership is concerned by reports that important marine mammal conservation projects are at significant risk in New Zealand due to proposed university cuts to the sciences.

We understand that Massey University has recently proposed to eliminate its natural sciences from its Albany campus, which among other significant losses, would result in the complete removal of a BSc in Marine Biology programme, along with its associated staff and students. Such programmes are of national and indeed international significance, have enhanced the diversity of students involved with STEM education, and have been supported financially or through collaboration by organizations such as the Association for Commonwealth Universities, The Royal Society of New Zealand Te Apārangi and the International Fund for Animal Welfare. We believe such dismantling of marine mammal research at Massey University will have significant detrimental impacts on critical welfare and conservation-based projects including programmes centred on tourism impacts and contaminant-disease associations for the endemic, endangered Hector’s dolphin. Furthermore, Massey scientists currently lead international efforts to assess survivorship and welfare considerations during the rescue and response efforts of whale mass strandings – a phenomenon of unprecedented frequency in New Zealand.

ECS and SMM members believe that the loss of critical research programmes currently offered by Massey University scientists within New Zealand will have severe and possibly irreversible consequences for marine mammal conservation. In just two decades, more than 30 post-graduate theses, with their associated peer-reviewed outputs in the field of marine biology, have originated from Massey University researchers. Many of these outputs, achieved by a diverse collective of national and international Early Career Researchers, span Australasia, Europe, Asia, UK and USA. As such we are writing to express our collective concern about about this situation and respectfully ask that the proposed removal of such significant conservation-based research be reassessed by the University Council and its Senior Leadership Team.

Sincerely,
Joan Gonzalvo, Chair
European Cetacean Society

and

D. Ann Pabst, President
Society for Marine Mammalogy

Please Read and Sign Barcelona Declaration – Together for Marine Mammal Science and Conservation

At the World Marine Mammal Conference, the Organizing Committee released the Barcelona Declaration – Together for Science and Conservation. The declaration highlights what international collaborations among scientists, public and private sectors can achieve by working together, for the benefit of marine mammal science and conservation worldwide.
Please, dedicate two minutes to read and sign the declaration (if you agree with it!).
(even if you have already signed it on paper in Barcelona!)
Thank you!

Deadline Approaching: Louis M. Herman Research Scholarship

Application Deadline Soon: 17 February, 2020

Background

Louis M. Herman, Ph.D. and Emeritus Professor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, was a pioneer and trailblazer in research on dolphin sensory perception and cognition, and humpback whale behavioral ecology. This work was carried out through the world renowned Kewalo Basin Marine Mammal Laboratory (KBMML) that he established in 1969 in Honolulu, Hawaii. He also co-founded The Dolphin Institute (TDI), dedicated to dolphins and whales through education, research, and conservation. KBMML/TDI’s findings on marine mammals were published in over 160 scientific papers and featured in more than 230 national and international media articles, television and radio programs, and documentary films. Dr. Herman’s life’s work significantly influenced marine mammal conservation. It also had an enormous impact on the lives and careers of countless interns, undergraduate and graduate students, post-doctoral researchers, visiting faculty, and volunteers from around the world, all of whom played important roles in the unique research team he assembled over more than four decades. Dr. Herman will always be remembered for his innovative, creative, and scientifically rigorous approach to the study of the marine mammals he so loved, and for the future generations of marine mammal researchers he and his work continue to inspire. Read more about Dr. Herman’s legacy here.

Dr. Herman’s family, colleagues, and friends established the Louis M. Herman Research Scholarship in 2017 to honor his legacy by promoting the type of research that was the focus of his groundbreaking studies. The Scholarship is given every two years in the amount of $5,000.

Criteria

The Louis M. Herman Research Scholarship supports a research project that contributes to our understanding of either cetacean cognition and sensory perception (laboratory or field studies), or humpback whale behavioral ecology or communication. Work with other marine mammals that especially enhances our understanding of their cognitive abilities will also be considered. Eligible candidates include graduate students and those students who have completed their Masters or PhD within the past three years.

LINK TO CRITERIA AND APPLICATION UPLOAD

Previous Winners

World Marine Mammal Conference Plenary Sessions

Please find below the three plenary sessions presented at the World Marine Mammal Conference in Barcelona between December 8-12, 2019, co-hosted by Society for Marine Mammalogy and the European Cetacean Society.

WMMC 2019 Plenary Session: “Marine Mammals and Climate Change”

 

WMMC 2019 Plenary Session: “Conservation Interventions”

 

WMMC 2019 Plenary Session: “Overcoming Challenges to Marine Mammal Research”

In Memoriam – Remembering Colleagues Lost 2017-2019

At each Biennial Conference, we honor those colleagues whom we have lost over the last two years. It is one of the most important things we do as a Society and a community. We wish to thank the family members, friends and colleagues who contributed their photos and memories of the individuals included in this Biennial’s In Memoriam. We also thank Mr. Jarrett Corke for its production, and the artists who permitted us to use their music for this tribute.

We have made the In Memoriam available here to be shared with colleagues, family and loved ones.

SMM Honorary Member, Dr. Sidney Holt Has Passed Away

Message sent out on 2 January 2020 by the International Whaling Commission:
Dr Sidney Holt, 1926-2019
 
We are saddened to learn that Dr Sidney Holt passed away in his adoptive home of Umbria, Italy on 22nd December 2019.
Dr Holt was born in 1926 in the UK, and educated at the University of Reading, England. He began his career at the Fisheries Laboratory in Lowestoft (UK), and it was during this period that he produced with Ray Beverton one of the most influential books in Fisheries Science: On the dynamics of exploited fish populations (1957). Dr Holt spent the following 25 years employed in UN organisations, having been appointed at various times Director of the Fisheries Resources and Operations Division of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN (FAO, in Rome), Secretary of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) and Director of UNESCO’s Marine Sciences Division in Paris. After retiring from the UN in 1979, Dr Holt addressed the status of whales, serving on the International Whaling Commission’s (IWC) ‘Committee of Three (subsequently four with the addition of Dr John Gulland) scientists’, whose final report was instrumental in achieving recognition of the severe overexploitation of Antarctic baleen whales at the time. The report helped to ensure that sufficient residual populations of species such as blue and humpback remained to seed their subsequent recovery. Dr Holt participated in various capacities for forty years in the Scientific Committee, as well as in the Commission itself, from 1959 to 2002.
Dr Holt received the Gold Medal of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the Royal Netherlands Golden Ark, the Global 500 Award of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and The Blue Planet Award of IFAW, for contributions to the protection of marine mammals, to animal welfare and to fisheries science. Dr Holt’s scientific papers, chapters of books, letters to Editors of scholarly journals, magazines and newspapers, and working briefs for a number of organizations on a variety of subjects reflect the breadth of his scientific achievements as well as his efforts to convey scientific and political ideas to a wider audience.
Sidney will be remembered by his fellow scientists as a persistent, often challenging, debating partner and an enduringly influential colleague.

E-book of VAQUITA: Science, Politics, and Crime in the Sea of Cortez is ONLY $0.99

From the SMM Conservation Committee:

For a limited time, the e-book of VAQUITA: Science, Politics, and Crime in the Sea of Cortez is ONLY $0.99. Yes, it’s practically free! This temporary 97% price reduction came in response to the recent poaching scandal off San Felipe, Mexico.

a 99c kindle version is available via Amazon.com

For an e-pub version go to: https://islandpress.org/books/vaquita

Member’s Meeting Reminder (Tuesday, 10 December 2019 17:45-19:00)

Hello Everyone!

I hope that this email finds you all very well!  We are already seeing many of you in Barcelona and I wish safe travels to the World Marine Mammal Conference for those still in route.

For our members who cannot attend, we will miss you!  I hope you can stay engaged with the conference through SMM and WMMC social media outlets, and through your friends and colleagues who will be attending!

I am writing, too, to remind us that our General Members Meeting will be Tuesday, 10 December, at 17:45-19:00, in the auditorium, directly after the Plenary on Conservation Interventions, and directly before the Student Event!

At our meeting, we will:

  • highlight recent accomplishments of our Society
  • recognize SMM award winners
  • hear from our Ad-Hoc Diversity and Inclusion Committee
  • hear about SMM’s financial status from our Treasurer
  • get a brief update from our 2021 Conference Committee
  • hear presentations from organizations interested in hosting our 2023 Biennial
  • learn the nominees for offices from our Nominations and Elections Committee and take nominations from the floor.
  • open the floor to ask you for your input, insights, suggestions, and criticisms!

We will end the meeting with a message from our President-Elect!

Will the SMM General Member Meeting be as relaxing and fun as going for a libation with your friends and colleagues?  Likely not!  But is it an important opportunity to hear what your Society has been working towards, to honor your colleagues, and to lend your voice to make us stronger?  Absolutely!

We hope very much to see you there!

Best wishes – Ann

Call For Proposals

LOUIS M. HERMAN RESEARCH SCHOLARSHIP

Application Deadline: 17 February, 2020

Background

Louis M. Herman, Ph.D. and Emeritus Professor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, was a pioneer and trailblazer in research on dolphin sensory perception and cognition, and humpback whale behavioral ecology. This work was carried out through the world renowned Kewalo Basin Marine Mammal Laboratory (KBMML) that he established in 1969 in Honolulu, Hawaii. He also co-founded The Dolphin Institute (TDI), dedicated to dolphins and whales through education, research, and conservation. KBMML/TDI’s findings on marine mammals were published in over 160 scientific papers and featured in more than 230 national and international media articles, television and radio programs, and documentary films. Dr. Herman’s life’s work significantly influenced marine mammal conservation. It also had an enormous impact on the lives and careers of countless interns, undergraduate and graduate students, post-doctoral researchers, visiting faculty, and volunteers from around the world, all of whom played important roles in the unique research team he assembled over more than four decades. Dr. Herman will always be remembered for his innovative, creative, and scientifically rigorous approach to the study of the marine mammals he so loved, and for the future generations of marine mammal researchers he and his work continue to inspire. Read more about Dr. Herman’s legacy here.

Dr. Herman’s family, colleagues, and friends established the Louis M. Herman Research Scholarship in 2017 to honor his legacy by promoting the type of research that was the focus of his groundbreaking studies. The Scholarship is given every two years in the amount of $5,000.

Criteria

The Louis M. Herman Research Scholarship supports a research project that contributes to our understanding of either cetacean cognition and sensory perception (laboratory or field studies), or humpback whale behavioral ecology or communication. Work with other marine mammals that especially enhances our understanding of their cognitive abilities will also be considered. Eligible candidates include graduate students and those students who have completed their Masters or PhD within the past three years.

LINK TO CRITERIA AND APPLICATION UPLOAD

Helene Marsh Awarded Norris Award

Hello Good Colleagues!

It is with great pleasure that I remind us all that Dr. Helene Marsh has been awarded the Norris Award for 2019. This reminder comes as we prepare for the World Marine Mammal Conference, where Dr. Marsh will be speaking at the Closing Ceremony!

Dr. Marsh is an Emeritus Professor and Dean of Graduate Research Studies at James Cook University in North Queensland, Australia. She conducted her graduate studies at James Cook University. The focus of her research has been dugong population ecology, and has been committed to informing interdisciplinary solutions to conservation problems. She is a Fellow of both the Australian Academies of Science and Technological Sciences and Engineering and has chaired the National Threatened Species Scientific Committee of Australia. She also served as the Society for Marine Mammalogy President from 2012-2014.

The Norris Award is a lifetime achievement award, honoring a career of excellence in scientific research on any aspect of marine mammalogy. As the recipient of this award, Dr. Marsh has been invited to present a talk at the World Conference, and to submit a written paper from her lecture for publication in Marine Mammal Science. The award also includes a life-time honorary membership to the Society.

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Marsh on this well-deserved honor. We look forward to hearing her talk at the World Marine Mammal Conference next week and to reading her paper in Marine Mammal Science!

Warm regards,
D. Ann Pabst
President, Society for Marine Mammalogy