Category Archives: Society News

Government of Mozambique chooses to relinquish seismic explorations in core dugong habitat in response to stakeholder input, including SMM Presidential Letter

Good news!

In March 2020, SMM President, D. Ann Pabst signed an SMM Presidential Letter to attract the attention of the Government of Mozambique on the high risks involved in letting the South African SASOL oil giant conduct seismic explorations in core habitat of the last healthy population of dugongs in Africa.

Today South African petroleum giant, SASOL, announced that they have chosen to relinquish Blocks 16 & 19 (the area just to the north of the Bazaruto Archipelago National Park in southern Mozambique) in their entirety to the Government of Mozambique and that the Mozambican authorities have been notified of this decision.

SASOL acknowledged all the comments received during the pre-feasibility phase of the EIA process from scientists, NGOs, tourism operators, fishers, local community members, and international authorities. They said they valued the input provided by these stakeholders.

They stated that they understood and appreciated the environmental sensitivity of the area in question and maintained that sustainability is integral to how SASOL conducts business.

This is encouraging not only for the dugongs – long may they live – but also because it shows that we must never give up.

See the Presidential Letter here:
https://marinemammalscience.org/…/presidential-letter-to-m…/

See Official Press Release here:
https://drive.google.com/…/1GdErAjUy1y9AToOWRUVEXgw2EW…/view

Wiki Species Pages Continue to Improve and Other News from the Education Committee

Wiki student curators continue to be hard at work in drafting and publishing wiki species pages. Here is the current list of active Wiki Species Pages (18 species).

We continue to seek new student curators for the Wiki Species Pages. So, if you are interested and have some unexpected free time due to COVID-19, consider signing up by emailing Dr. Mridula Srinivasan mridula.srinivasan@noaa.gov.

Andrews’ beaked whale, Mesoplodon bowdoini DD Mackenzie Griffin https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrews%27_beaked_whale
Antarctic fur seal, Arctocephalus gazella LC Giulia Roncon https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antarctic_fur_seal
Beluga, Delphinapterus leucas NT (Cook Inlet Subpopulation CR) Alexander Mildener https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beluga_whale
Blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus EN (ssp. musculus – northern blue whale NE, ssp. brevicauda – pygmy blue whale DD, ssp. intermedia – southern blue whale CR, ssp. indica – great Indian blue whale NE, unnamed subspecies – Chilean blue whale NE) Angela Szesciorka https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_whale
Dall’s porpoise, Phocoenoides dalli LC (ssp. dalli – Dalli-type Dall’s porpoise NE, ssp. truei – Truei-type Dall’s porpoise NE) Kimberly Nielsen https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dall%27s_porpoise
Galápagos fur seal, Arctocephalus galapagoensis EN Sakile Johnson https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gal%C3%A1pagos_fur_seal
Hourglass dolphin, Lagenorhynchus cruciger LC Simeon Abidari https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hourglass_dolphin
Hubbs’ beaked whale, Mesoplodon carlhubbsi DD Mackenzie Griffin https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hubbs%27_beaked_whale
Melon-headed whale, Peponocephala electra LC Vicki Hamilton https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melon-headed_whale
Narwhal, Monodon monoceros NT Liza Tsitrin https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narwhal
Arnoux’s beaked whale, Berardius arnuxii DD Maureen Spiessl https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_bottlenose_whale
Northern right whale dolphin, Lissodelphis borealis LC Jenny Bachmann https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_right_whale_dolphin
Perrin’s beaked whale, Mesoplodon perrini DD Tiffany Stoeckig https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perrin%27s_beaked_whale
Short-finned pilot whale, Globicephala macrorhynchus DD Liza Tsitrin https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Short-finned_pilot_whale
Southern bottlenose whale, Hyperoodon planifrons LC Savannah Geiger https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_bottlenose_whale
Southern right whale dolphin, Lissodelphis peronii DD Mieke Weyn https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_right_whale_dolphin
Strap-toothed whale, Mesoplodon layardii DD Texa Sim https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strap-toothed_whale
Vaquita, Phocoena sinus CR Kimberly Nielsen https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaquita
Weddell seal, Leptonychotes weddellii LC Giulia Roncon https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weddell_seal

 

New SMM Education Web Pages Coming Soon
We are currently in the process of publishing a brand new student career page with information on pursuing a career in marine mammal science, scientists interviews in different languages, educational resources, a dedicated Wiki Species Page, and other useful links. Stay tuned.

Open Team Member Positions in the Education Committee
The Education Committee is still looking for diverse and qualified applicants to add to the team. If you are interested in being part of the Education Committee, please send your CV and a brief statement (two paragraphs) on why you are interested in joining the committee and how you can best contribute to advancing its goals of making marine mammal science accessible and rewarding to students, scientists, and enthusiasts, especially underrepresented groups, to admin@marinemammalscience.org.

Marine Mammal Science Podcast

The Marine Mammal Science podcast has been going from strength to strength. The podcast has been a top 3 nature podcast in 39 countries, reaching the number 1 nature podcast position in 28 counties, including*: 

Argentina1, Australia1, Brazil1, Canada2, Chile1, Colombia1, Costa Rica1, Denmark1, Ecuador1, Estonia1, Finland1, Germany2, Hong Kong1, Iceland3, India1, Italy1, Ireland2, Japan2, Kenya1, Lithuania1, Mexico1, Namibia1, the Netherlands1, New Zealand3, Norway2, the Phillipines1, Poland2, Portugal1, Russia1, Singapore1, South Africa1, Spain2, Sri Lanka2, Sweden1, Switzerland1, Taiwan1, Turkey1, the United Kingdom1 and the United States of America2.

In total, it’s been a top 10 nature podcast in 42 countries (including the above plus Belgium8, France4 and Indonesia4).

* The super-script number refers to the position reached in the nature podcast charts.

Episodes can be downloaded from:

Apple podcasts, Spotify, Podtail, Acast, Player FM, Charitable, Podparadise, Listen notes, Podtoopen, Deezer, Podbean and many more podcast providers.

Episodes so far:

Episode 1 – Endangered blue whales in Sri Lanka – with Dr Asha De Vos.

Episode 2 –“Parachute science” and the difficulties faced by marine mammal researchers from developing countries – with Dr Asha De Vos.

Episode 3 – Using drones for marine mammal research – with Shah Selbe

Episode 4 –  The taxonomy of the short-beaked dolphins of the genus Lagenorhynchus – with Dr Nicole Vollmer.

Episode 5 –  Humpback whales in New York harbor  (which was one of the most downloaded and shared papers in the journal Marine Mammal Science) – with Danielle Brown.

Episode 6 – The “hump” of the humpback dolphin (Sousa plumbea), and the threatened dolphins of the genus Sousa – with Dr Stephanie Plön.

Episode 7 – The Society for Marine Mammalogy Conservation Committee, the critically endangered Vaquita, and the newly identified Gulf of Mexico whale – with Dr Barb Taylor. 

Episode 8 – Identifying dolphins from their faces (which was one of the most downloaded and shared papers in the journal Marine Mammal Science) – with Tilen Genov

Episode 9 –The threats faced by Indus and Ganges river dolphins – with Dr Gill Braulik.

Episode 10 –The critically endangered vaquita – with Dr Lorenzo Rojas Bracho

Episode 11 – The behavior of bottlenose and Atlantic spotted dolphins in the Bahamas, and what’s it like conducting field work in paradise-like surroundings – with Dr Denise Herzing.

Episode 12 – Dolphin intelligence and their sophisticated language skills, the nature of humpback whale song, the Hawaiian Islands whale sanctuary, the impacts of climate change … and Star Trek – with Dr Adam Pack.

Episode 13 – Determining whale stress levels by looking at their ear wax, the impacts of World War 2 on cetaceans, and using Twitter and storytelling to help communicate marine mammal science – with Dr Dani Crain.

Episode 14 –  New technology being developed to detect cetaceans at sea – with Dave Steckler

Episode 15 – Ganges river dolphins in Bangladesh and transforming from a research biologist to a science communicator and documentary film maker – with  Dr Jennifer Lewis. 

Episode 16 – Research on dugongs, dolphins and whales in Malaysia – Dr Louisa Ponnampalam.

Episode 17 – The trials and tribulations of life in the field and whales & dolphins in New York harbor – with Eric Angel Ramos.

Episode 18 – Satellite tagging whales – with Dr Daniel Palacios.

Episode 19 – The impacts of whale-watching in Juneau, Alaska, and the “Whale SENSE” program (for more information go to www.whalesense.org)- with Alicia Schuler

 Episode 20 – Cetacean conservation in the Indian Ocean – with Umair Shahid 

Episode 21 – Drs Chris Parsons & Adam Pack introduce the winners of the 2019 Louis M. Herman Research Scholarships: Rebecca Hamilton for her project entitled ‘Cognition in the wild: Dolphin communication during a role-specialized foraging tactic’ and Solène Derville for her project entitled, ‘Whales of the deep: Analyzing movement and diving of humpback whales to understand oceanic breeding congregations in New Caledonia’. Chris also chats to the Herman family about the life of Louis Herman, his legacy and their aims for this new award. For more information about the scholarship go to: https://www.marinemammalscience.org/jobs-grants/awards-and-scholarships/louis-m-herman-research-scholarship/

 Episode 22 – Underwater sound and marine mammals in the Arctic, and the impacts of climate change and human-produced noise on this unique ecosystem – Dr Kate Stafford

Episode 23 – The Amazon river dolphin, the threats it faces, and the dramatic changes in the Amazon ecosystem – Dr Fernando Trujillo

Episode 24 – Humpback whales in Oman and hump-back dolphins in the Congo – with Tim Collins

Episode 25 –  Threats to west African manatees, the problems that are being caused by climate change, the growing wild meat trade and the need for protected areas for marine mammals in Nigeria – with Professor Edem Eniang

Episode 26 – North Atlantic right whale conservation, threatened dolphins on the US Gulf (of Mexico) Coast and issues impacting seals and sealions in the US – with Sharon Young

Episode 27 – Humpback whales, whaling, and whale-watching – with Dr Phil Clapham

Episode 28 – Illegal Soviet whaling and marine mammal science in Russia – with Dr Yulia Ivashchenko

Episode 29 – Whale and dolphin strandings and welfare science – with Dr Karen Stockin

Episode 30 – The impacts of naval exercises on beaked whales in the Marianas Islands – with Dr Anne Simonis

Episode 31 – “Things that are thrown at it in life test us, but show us who we really are…”  – Dr Peter Corkeron talks about the trials and tribulations of his marine mammal career

Episode 32 – Important Marine Mammal Areas (IMMAs) and marine protection – with Erich Hoyt

 Episode 33 – Marine mammal conservation in the Mediterranean – with Dr Giuseppe Notarbartolo di Sciara.

Episode 34 – How smart are dolphins? – with Dr Diana Reiss

Episode 35 – Life in the freezer – living and working in Antarctica – with Dr Rob Harcourt  

Episode 36 – African manatee biology & conservation – with Dr Lucy Keith-Diagne of https://africanaquaticconservation.org/

Episode 37 – Marine mammal science and conservation in the US Government – with Steve Leathery

Episode 38 – Hawaiian monk seal conservation – with Dr Michelle Barbieri

 Episode 39 – How the US Marine Mammal Protection Act got passed – with special guest Dr Lee Talbot

Episode 40 – The extinction of Steller’s sea cow – with Dr Lorelei Crerar

Reminder: Small Grants in Aid of Research Deadline is Approaching

The Society for Marine Mammalogy would like to remind eligible members (see below) that this year’s Small Grants in Aid of Research application window will close on 30 June 2020 at 12 PM Eastern Daylight Time. The Committee of Scientific Advisors will review applications and make recommendations on funding with decisions announced in early September. The awards are up to US $2,000. All three of the following eligibility requirements must be met:

1. Be a member of the Society for Marine Mammalogy.

2. Be a national of any country not on this Excluded Country List: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom, and United States.

Preference is given to early career researchers such as students and researchers with less than 5 years post-doctoral experience.

3. Be conducting research in a country not on the above Excluded Country List.

The Small Grant web page provides full information, links to past successful applications, a list of recipients from prior years and their completed project reports, and a link to the application itself. Please be mindful of the word limits in the various sections of the application.

New Board Members, Enhanced Diversity and Inclusion, and the 2023 Conference Venue Highlights 

New Board Members, Enhanced Diversity and Inclusion, and the 2023 Conference Venue Highlights 

The results from the Society of Marine Mammalogy’s 2020 election are in. On this ballot, our members were asked to select new board officers (President-Elect, Treasurer, Secretary, Member-at-Large, and two Student Members-at-Large), approve changes to our governing documents, and choose the host city for the SMM 2023 biennial conference.

Our new President-elect, Simon Goldsworthy, is a scientist at the South Australian Research and Development Institute in Adelaide, focused on mitigating marine mammal interactions with fisheries and aquaculture. Simon will be joining the Board for a four-year term beginning in July 2020 and has previously served as Member-at-Large for the Society. This previous experience will allow him to hit the ground running as President-Elect. Upon receiving the election news he expressed his willingness to do just that, “‘I’m delighted to have been elected and look forward to immediately start working with the Board and help lead the Society over the next four years.”

Tara Cox and Katie Moore will be continuing their Board responsibilities as Secretary and Treasurer, respectively. The ongoing commitment by these two members on tasks vital to the Society not only provide much needed stability to our SMM functionality but their professional interests also bring a greater depth to the Board and the decisions made there. Incoming President, Charles Littnan, applauded their return, “We as a Society are incredibly lucky to have Tara and Katie returning for another term. Their commitment to the SMM is unflagging but they bring so much more. They are strong voices on our Board for critical issues such as animal welfare, diversity and inclusion and conservation and also striving to find how we can best serve our global marine mammal community.”

Cindy Peter was the successful candidate for our Member-at-Large seat. Cindy is the Coordinator of the Sarawak Dolphin Research Project, based at the Institute of Biodiversity and Environmental Conservation, University of Malaysia Sarawak, where she is also a Lecturer. Her response to learning of her selection to the Board: “I’m so grateful that the SMM board gave this tiny island researcher all the way in Borneo a chance to run for the election,” speaks to the positive energy she will bring to the committee while pushing for her priorities of “ being a voice for developing country members, especially students, and to promote their inclusion in the society, thus advancing marine mammal science globally”.

Two student Members-at-Large were elected to the SMM Board on this ballot. The first successful candidate was Ayça Eleman who recently started her doctorate program in biology at the University of Iceland studying killer whale foraging ecology and habitat use in Icelandic waters. The other successful candidate was Theresa Tatom-Naecker, a second-year PhD student in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB) at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) studying the foraging of common bottlenose dolphins. Both our new Student Members-at-Large will be focused on improving the support provided to our student members through a variety of initiatives and engaging students from underrepresented regions.

Acknowledging the Vital Importance of Diversity and Inclusion and the Service of Our Student Members

There were two amendments to the Society’s Constitution that required support by two-thirds of votes cast by the membership. The first amendment was to formally recognize promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in membership, leadership, and readership as one of the SMM’s four principle objectives. The SMM Ad hoc committee on Diversity and Inclusion co-chairs Tara Cox and Eric Archer led the effort to craft this addition to the constitution. The importance of this amendment was emphasized by Eric, “Enshrining this statement in our constitution highlights the SMM’s commitment to ensuring that the field of marine mammal science is open and welcoming to everyone who wishes to participate. The Society will continue to work to identify and actively address barriers experienced by members from all walks of life.”

Our student Members-at-Large (SMaLs) are dedicated to helping the Society’s students, especially in the lead up to and during our biennial conference. Due to the duration and  staggered nature of the terms, the most experienced SMaLs would rotate off just prior to the conference. The newly approved amendment extends SMaL terms another six months, enabling an experienced SMaL to facilitate conference organizing and execution in the following biennial. 

2023 Biennial is Going Down Under

Three delegations offered proposals to host the 25th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Marine Mammals scheduled to occur in 2023. The three locales: Perth, Sanya and Singapore, all offered state-of-the-art conference facilities and rich cultural and scientific experiences. Perth received the most votes from the membership and the Australian host committee is excited to welcome the SMM in three years. “We are honoured and absolutely delighted to host the SMM conference in Perth in 2023. We will work hard to reduce the environmental impact of the conference, and make opportunities to attend as equal as possible by securing funds to support students and delegates from low income countries. As we hope that you will combine your attendance with a holiday, we will aim to provide childcare and a program for older children so that you can enjoy the scientific program while your kids also have a great time. We will introduce you to the Australian way of life and our cultural and natural heritage, while firing up the BBQ and offering a cold beverage over a summer sunset. We can’t wait to have you over! Until then, please enjoy this Wanju nitja Noongar boodja (Welcome to Country) film that we have prepared for you.”

A Letter to the Community Regarding Racial Injustice

Dear Marine Mammal Science Community,

A core tenet of the Society for Marine Mammalogy is that our science is strengthened by the participation of people representing all ages, races, national, cultural, and socio-economic backgrounds, genders, gender identities, sexual orientations, and physical abilities. Our science is at its best when all voices are at the table.

Today, the tears of the SMM join those of the rest of the world as we grieve the latest in a long string of killings and systemic abuses against black Americans. We add our voices to those who have been historically oppressed in saying, enough. We can no longer stand idly by as our colleagues and friends in African American communities continue to be minimized, sidelined, abused, and suffer.

The Society for Marine Mammalogy has an obligation to speak at a time like this and give our support to the communities that have been under siege – an obligation that we have not previously fulfilled. Unfortunately, far too many of our members and their communities are continuously silenced through the insidious forces of institutionalized racism, sexism, and political and religious intolerance. This statement is a renewal of our commitment to our membership and our global community at large to do our part to actively create a diverse, inclusive and tolerant world. Thus, SMM will continue its mission working to make spaces where all people are welcome and free to pursue their interests.

We hope you will feel free to share your thoughts and feelings with us during these difficult times. We are regularly looking for ways to support our members and provide a safe community for all.

 

D. Ann Pabst, SMM President

Charles Littnan, SMM President-Elect

Eric Archer and Tara Cox
Co-Chairs of the Ad hoc Committee on Diversity and Inclusion

 

On behalf of and with support from the SMM Board

Small Grants in Aid of Research Application Window Open June 1-30, 2020

The Society for Marine Mammalogy would like to inform eligible members (see below) that this year’s Small Grants in Aid of Research application window opens on 1 June 2020. Applications will be accepted during the entire month of June. The Committee of Scientific Advisors will review applications and make recommendations on funding with decisions announced in early September 2020. The awards are up to US $2,000. All three of the following eligibility requirements must be met:

1. Be a member of the Society for Marine Mammalogy.

2. Be a national of any country not on this Excluded Country List: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom, and United States.

Preference is given to early career researchers such as students and researchers with less than 5 years post-doctoral experience.

3. Be conducting research in a country not on the above Excluded Country List.

The Small Grant web page provides full information, links to past successful applications, a list of recipients from prior years and their completed project reports, and a link to the application itself. Please be mindful of the word limits in the various sections of the application.

Last year 15 of 32 applicants from 13 counties received funding ranging from $830 to $2,000.

For technical questions regarding the online application, please email the Society webmaster at admin@marinemammalscience.org

For all other questions about the grants, please contact:

Douglas Wartzok
Chair
Committee of Scientific Advisors
Society for Marine Mammalogy
wartzok@fiu.edu

Time to Vote for the Next Board of Governors, our 2023 Conference Location and More!

Dear Members,

 Your 2020 ballot includes a variety of topics that need your vote including electing new officers for our Board of Governors, reviewing proposed modifications of our constitution and voting for the 2023 Biennial Conference location. 

 The details of each vote are included in the Ballot, but here is a brief synopsis. 

 We are presenting nominees for the Board of Governors positions: President-Elect, Treasurer, Secretary, Member-at-Large and Student Member-at-Large. 

 Modifications to the SMM Constitution: We are putting forward two measures that require a modification to our constitution.

 The first is to formalize our intent to make our Society more representative of the global community of marine mammal professionals in our governing documents by adding language codifying our focus on diversity and inclusion. 

 The second is to propose that SMaL term limits change from a two-year term to a two-and-one-half year term, enabling an experienced SMaL to facilitate conference organizing and execution in the following biennial.

 Finally, teams from Sanya, China; Perth, Australia; and Singapore have stepped up to host our 25th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals slated to occur in 2023. We have put together a table on the following web page that compares some of the important things that factor into our decisions, such as the costs for travel and hotels. We ask that when you place your vote that you please consider which location best suits the greatest number of our SMM community members.

 Your votes help to shape our continued evolution as a professional society and to celebrate the accomplishments of our colleagues. So when you receive the ballot please take a few minutes to review and vote!

Here is the link to the ballot: https://www.marinemammalscience.org/for-members/2020-members-ballot/

 The ballot will close at 3:00 PM EST on 11th May 2020.

 Best wishes,
Emer

Shout Out to Our Wikipedia Editors and Updated Species Listings on Wikipedia

We are pleased to share with you a recent list of Wiki species pages updated and curated by students across the world. Big thanks and kudos to all the Wiki curators involved in creating these pages. The development of marine mammal species Wikipedia pages is part of the Society of Marine Mammalogy’s education initiative to attract and engage our diverse student community. The curation of Wiki pages allows students and early-career researchers to meaningfully contribute to marine mammal education. Species pages follow a shared template and are reviewed by at least two experts. The multiyear project also allows students to refine their literature reviewing and technical writing skills, build species-specific knowledge, and cultivate new professional contacts in the marine mammal scientific community. New species pages will be added as they are completed. If you are interested in becoming a Wiki Curator, please email mridula.srinivasan@noaa.gov.

Andrews’ beaked whale, Mesoplodon bowdoini DD

Mackenzie Griffin

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrews%27_beaked_whale

Antarctic fur seal, Arctocephalus gazella LC

Giulia Roncon

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antarctic_fur_seal

Blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus EN (ssp. musculus – northern blue whale NE, ssp. brevicauda – pygmy blue whale DD, ssp. intermedia – southern blue whale CR, ssp. indica – great Indian blue whale NE, unnamed subspecies – Chilean blue whale NE)

Angela Szesciorka

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_whale

Dall’s porpoise, Phocoenoides dalli LC (ssp. dalli – Dalli-type Dall’s porpoise NE, ssp. truei – Truei-type Dall’s porpoiseNE)

Kimberly Nielsen

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dall%27s_porpoise

Galápagos fur seal, Arctocephalus galapagoensis EN

Sakile Johnson

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gal%C3%A1pagos_fur_seal

Hourglass dolphin, Lagenorhynchus cruciger LC

Simeon Abidari

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hourglass_dolphin

Hubbs’ beaked whale, Mesoplodon carlhubbsi DD

Mackenzie Griffin

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hubbs%27_beaked_whale

Melon-headed whale, Peponocephala electra LC

Vicki Hamilton

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melon-headed_whale

Narwhal, Monodon monoceros NT

Liza Tsitrin

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narwhal

Northern right whale dolphin, Lissodelphis borealis LC

Jenny Bachmann

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_right_whale_dolphin

Perrin’s beaked whale, Mesoplodon perrini DD

Tiffany Stoeckig

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perrin%27s_beaked_whale

Short-finned pilot whale, Globicephala macrorhynchus DD

Liza Tsitrin

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Short-finned_pilot_whale

Southern bottlenose whale, Hyperoodon planifrons LC

Savannah Geiger

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_bottlenose_whale

Killer whale, Orcinus orca

Melanie Smith

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_right_whale_dolphin

Vaquita, Phocoena sinus CR

Kimberly Nielsen

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaquita

Weddell seal, Leptonychotes weddellii LC

Giulia Roncon

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weddell_seal

Announcing the 2020 Louis M. Herman Research Scholarship Winner

In 2020, the Louis M. Herman Research Scholarship received over 20 proposals from Australia, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, Hong Kong SAR, Madagascar, New Zealand, Scotland and the United States. The quality of submissions was extremely high and the Awards Committee is delighted to announce that the successful proposal was submitted by April Ettington of the University of Auckland, New Zealand.

April Ettington, 2020 Louis M. Herman Research Scholarship Winner
Marine Mammal Ecology Group
University of Auckland, New Zealand

Do Bryde’s Whales Smell?

Abstract
It is currently unknown whether baleen whales can smell and it is unclear how they locate their prey. The ability to detect the compound dimethyl sulfide (DMS) released by plankton would likely provide baleen whales a great advantage in finding their underwater prey, as it does for many marine animals such as seabirds, penguins, and sea lions. Anatomical and histological evidence suggests that whales have the potential to smell, but molecular and behavioral studies are lacking. I will investigate whether the Bryde’s whales residing year-round in the Hauraki Gulf of New Zealand possess the ability to smell using several approaches. I will use a gene mining pipeline I developed to identify the set of olfactory receptors encoded in the Bryde’s whale genome. Using a fluorescence-based cell culture assay I will assess whether any of the olfactory receptors respond to DMS. In the Hauraki Gulf, I will place Brydes’ whale foraging behavior in the context of the olfactory landscape. Determining whether Bryde’s whales can smell will help clarify how baleen whales will adapt their foraging behaviour in a world altered by climate change.

https://unidirectory.auckland.ac.nz/profile/r-constantine
https://mmeg.wordpress.fos.auckland.ac.nz/
@MMEG_UoA
@AprilEttington
www.facebook.com/TheDolphinInstitute/
www.instagram.com/thedolphininstitute/
www.thedolphininstitute.org