Category Archives: Student & Professional News

SMM Seminar Editors’ Select Series: Ice seals as sentinels for algal toxin presence in the Alaskan Arctic

The SMM Seminar Editor’s Select Series highlights the latest and most exciting marine mammal science published in the Marine Mammal Science Journal. The SMM created this series to give scientists and citizens around the world a chance to engage with marine mammal scientists, learn and ask questions. All are welcome.

Thursday, 17 February 2022 at 7 PM EST (4 PM PST / 12 AM UTC)
SMM Seminar Editors’ Select Series:
Ice seals as sentinels for algal toxin presence in the Alaskan Arctic

This event is free to attend and presented online on Zoom, but registration required.
Register here:
 https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_j-IwEcQQRAGoRFv8mpZIoA
Space on Zoom is limited to the first 500 attendees. The talk will also be streamed live on the SMM Facebook page.

About this talk:
The algal-produced neurotoxins domoic acid and saxitoxin permeate food webs in the Alaskan Arctic and subarctic, potentially threatening the health of high-level consumers. As water temperatures continue to rise in the Arctic due to climate change, marine mammal exposures to these toxins may be increasing as warmer ocean temperatures are more favorable for toxic algal blooms. We analyzed domoic acid and saxitoxin presence and levels in samples from the gastrointestinal tracts of almost one thousand Alaskan ice seals harvested over fifteen years for subsistence purposes. Though no clinical signs of health impacts were reported in harvested seals, one or both toxins were found in all four species studied. Additionally, the number of ice seal stomach content samples containing DA increased over time in seals collected in the Bering Sea, suggesting an increase in toxin prevalence in the region. Increasing toxin exposure in ecologically and culturally critical Alaskan species, including ice seals, raises concerns for potential health impacts if toxins continue to increase in the future.

About the presenter:
Alicia Hendrix is a PhD student in the University of Washington’s Environmental Toxicology program. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Scripps College. Her work has taken her throughout the Americas, studying threats to marine ecosystems as diverse as the Pacific intertidal and the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef with organizations including the Cape Eleuthera Institute and the NOAA Fisheries. Her research interests include toxin and toxicant impacts on wildlife and human health, and methods for promoting ecosystem resilience in the face of new threats. She has mentored or taught students at elementary, high school, and undergraduate levels, and believes strongly in building partnerships with coastal communities to amplify regional voices and knowledge.

Open access to all Marine Mammal Science papers is available to current SMM members. Open access to this article is made temporarily available to the public in the weeks around the presentation and can be found here.

Missed a presentation or want to share this series with a friend? All previous Editors’ Select  presentations are recorded and archived on our YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLUc78IynQlubS2DVS1VZoplf_t42-yZOO

Recording of February 2, 2022 Inter-Conference Members’ Meeting

Aloha Everyone.

Thanks to all of our members that were able to join us for the live portion of the member’s meeting.  For those of you that were unable to make it you can know watch the meeting on demand at the link below.  The topics on the agenda were the following:

Welcome and 2021 Year in Review
Budget Update
Conservation Fund Awards Announcement
Update from the Editor
Update from D&I
2022 Conference Updates
Changes to Governing Documents and Dues
Announcement of the Norris Award Winner
SMM Board Plans for 2022
Open Floor for Discussion

If you have any questions or business you want to recommend for the Board you can post it in the comments below or send it to the President, appropriate officer or committee chair.

 

Final Week to Apply for the 2022 Louis M. Herman Research Scholarship

Louis M. Herman Research Scholarship 2022

This is the final week to apply for the 2022 cycle of the Louis M. Herman Research Scholarship

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. The award is for a maximum of USD 5000 (~AUD6900; ~Mexican Peso 100,000; ~Fijian Dollar 10,000; ~EUR 4500). Details can also be found on the SMM website.

The application must include the following materials and be submitted by Monday, 7 February 2022, via the upload link here. (https://forms.gle/LG21rZYPBbiEggGp6)

Materials required

  • Cover Page (form)
    • Applicant Name
    • Email
    • Proposal Title
    • School/Affiliation
    • Degree (include date received or anticipated graduation date)
    • Total Project Budget
    • Project Location/Laboratory
    • Project Start Date
    • Project End Date
    • Project Abstract (300 word limit)

 

  • Project Abstract (300 word limit).  Briefly summarize your project.  (This should be the same as the language you enter in the form).

 

  • Project Proposal. Describe proposed project following the labelled sections below. Proposal should not exceed 3 pages in length (Times font, 12-point type, single-spaced, 1-in margins).
    • Background. Include overarching problem/challenge research will address and literature review
    • Project Importance and Relevance. What contributions or advancements will the proposed research make to marine mammal science?  In addition, what is the role of the proposed work in enhancing our understanding of cetacean (or other marine mammal) cognition and sensory perception or humpback whale behavioral ecology or communication. Please include how your project reflects or builds upon the research and interests of Dr. Herman and/or how your career has been influenced by his work.
    • Goals and Objectives. Statement of overall goals and measurable objectives
    • Methods. Include project design, location, field site or laboratory procedures, equipment, and analysis plan. If you are working in a laboratory setting, provide information on the research subjects, including their research experience (e.g., # of subjects, sex, age, years of research experience, etc.).
    • Outreach Plan. Please describe how you plan to share your research progress and findings (e.g., presentations, publications, social media, etc.)
    • Project Timeline. Include a time frame for all elements of the project.

 

  • References Cited.

 

  • Project Personnel. List each key person(s) conducting the research and their role (e.g., Project PI, Field Leader, etc., and make sure to list yourself).

 

  • Project Budget. A detailed budget, including itemized justification.  Please make sure to include:
    • Budget for the full project if it exceeds the award amount
    • How the award monies will be used specifically for the proposed project
    • Information on other funding applied for or already secured

 

  • Current Curriculum Vitae.

 

  • Letters of Reference. Two (2) professional letters of reference.
    • Letters should include the referee’s email address, phone number, and relationship to the applicant. For students, one of these letters should be from the student’s supervisor.

 

  • Research Permits. Verification of necessary research permits and/or authorizations.

 

  • Degree. Verification that the student is currently enrolled in a university degree program or proof of a graduate degree.

Evaluation Categories and Scoring

  • Importance and Relevance. Is this project likely to make a minor contribution/advancement to the relevant areas or a major one? How well does the project address the criteria of the award (above)? Is the proposal focused on a topic directly related to Dr. Herman’s research and findings and does the proposal specifically describe this relevance in detail?  (15 points)
  • Scientific Quality.  This criterion is meant to address whether the specific aspects of the proposal are appropriate to achieve the stated goals and objectives of the proposal.  Examples of project aspects to consider are the overall project design (is it well thought out and logical?),  field and/or lab methods (best practice? the right ones to use?), equipment and/or facilities or study site (right ones for the job?), study subjects if working in a laboratory setting (are these experienced or naive animals?), analyses (appropriate for the research design, rigorous, state-of-the art?) (15 points)
  • Quality of Writing and Presentation. Is the proposal well-written and clear? Are all required aspects of the proposal present and easy to understand? (5 points)
  • Likelihood of Success.  Considering Scientific Quality, applicant’s CV and other key personnel on the project, methods, timeline, funding, etc., how likely is it that the project will achieve its goals and desired outcomes. (5 points)
  • Outreach Plan.  Is the outreach plan appropriate and meaningful?  What kind of reach will these findings have and is it appropriate to the goals of the research?  (5 points)
  • Budget.  Is the budget appropriate and justified?  Does the funding play a meaningful role in the overall success of the project? (5 points)
  • References. Are the references strong, average, or below average in support of the applicant and the project? (5 points)

Award Recipient Notification
The award recipient will be notified by 16 April 2022 with an expectation that the awardee will submit to present their research project at the subsequent Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals. We will award up to $500 to support travel costs contingent on an accepted submission and completed presentation.

Enquiries
Via email to the Awards and Scholarships Chair, Lindsay Porter (awardschair@marinemammalscience.org)

SMM Seminar Editors’ Select Series: Friends Through Thick and Thin: How Injuries Disrupt Bottlenose Dolphin Associations

The SMM Seminar Editor’s Select Series highlights the latest and most exciting marine mammal science published in the Marine Mammal Science Journal. The SMM created this series to give scientists and citizens around the world a chance to engage with marine mammal scientists, learn and ask questions. All are welcome.

Thursday, 16 December 2021 at 4 PM EDT (1 PM PDT / 9 PM UTC)
SMM Seminar Editors’ Select Series:
Friends Through Thick and Thin: How Injuries Disrupt Bottlenose Dolphin Associations

About this talk:
Social connectivity is important for measuring the fitness of common bottlenose dolphins because social relationships can enhance survival, reproduction and foraging success.  Human-related injuries such as boat strikes or fishing gear entanglements can potentially remove an individual from its association network and disrupt these relationships. Using data from the long-term resident dolphin community in Sarasota Bay, Florida, we investigated how these injuries affect the dolphins’ social associations by examining the differences in their social networks before and after injury. We found that while injured dolphins were found in groups of similar size to those prior to their injury, their number of preferential associations (i.e., their best friends) seemed to decline immediately after injury but were often regained within two years following injury. An individual’s strongest associations, namely those between mothers and calves and those between male alliance partners, remained stable before and after injury. Because dolphins rely on these relationships for survival, increased occurrence of injury from boating and fishing may put the animals at greater risk for long-term survival, including making them more vulnerable to predation.

About the presenter and co-authors:
Michelle Greenfield is a veterinary student at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine (2023). She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in ecology and evolutionary biology from Princeton University where she began her research with the Chicago Zoological Society’s Sarasota Dolphin Research Program. Since then, Michelle has continued her studies of marine mammals working with organizations such as Hubbs SeaWorld Research Institute and the United States Navy’s Marine Mammal Program. Her research interests focus on bottlenose dolphin social behavior and regenerative medicine in marine mammals. In addition to her research and clinical work, Michelle is the producer and host of Aquadocs Podcast, a top 50 life sciences podcast and the leading podcast on aquatic veterinary medicine (www.aquadocspodcast.com).

Open access to all Marine Mammal Science papers is available to current SMM members. Open access to this article will be made temporarily available to the public during the week prior to and of the presentation.

Missed a presentation or want to share this series with a friend? All previous Editors’ Select  presentations are recorded and archived on our YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLUc78IynQlubS2DVS1VZoplf_t42-yZOO

 

Louis M. Herman Research Scholarship 2022 now accepting applications

Louis M. Herman Research Scholarship 2022

Application OPEN NOW

Louis M. Herman, Ph.D. and Emeritus Professor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, 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.

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. The award is for a maximum of USD 5000 (~AUD6900; ~Mexican Peso 100,000; ~Fijian Dollar 10,000; ~EUR 4500). Details can also be found on the SMM website.

The application must include the following materials and be submitted by Monday, 7 February 2022, via the upload link here. (https://forms.gle/LG21rZYPBbiEggGp6)

Materials required

  • Cover Page (form)
    • Applicant Name
    • Email
    • Proposal Title
    • School/Affiliation
    • Degree (include date received or anticipated graduation date)
    • Total Project Budget
    • Project Location/Laboratory
    • Project Start Date
    • Project End Date
    • Project Abstract (300 word limit)

 

  • Project Proposal. Describe proposed project following the labelled sections below. Proposal should not exceed 3 pages in length (Times font, 12-point type, single-spaced, 1-in margins).
    • Background. Include overarching problem/challenge research will address and literature review
    • Project Importance and Relevance. What contributions or advancements will the proposed research make to marine mammal science?  In addition, what is the role of the proposed work in enhancing our understanding of cetacean (or other marine mammal) cognition and sensory perception or humpback whale behavioral ecology or communication. Please include how your project reflects or builds upon the research and interests of Dr. Herman and/or how your career has been influenced by his work.
    • Goals and Objectives. Statement of overall goals and measurable objectives
    • Methods. Include project design, location, field site or laboratory procedures, equipment, and analysis plan. If you are working in a laboratory setting, provide information on the research subjects, including their research experience (e.g., # of subjects, sex, age, years of research experience, etc.).
    • Outreach Plan. Please describe how you plan to share your research progress and findings (e.g., presentations, publications, social media, etc.)
    • Project Timeline. Include a time frame for all elements of the project.

 

  • References Cited.

 

  • Project Personnel. List each key person(s) conducting the research and their role (e.g., Project PI, Field Leader, etc., and make sure to list yourself).

 

  • Project Budget. A detailed budget, including itemized justification.  Please make sure to include:
    • Budget for the full project if it exceeds the award amount
    • How the award monies will be used specifically for the proposed project
    • Information on other funding applied for or already secured

 

  • Current Curriculum Vitae.

 

  • Letters of Reference. Two (2) professional letters of reference.
    • Letters should include the referee’s email address, phone number, and relationship to the applicant. For students, one of these letters should be from the student’s supervisor.

 

  • Research Permits. Verification of necessary research permits and/or authorizations.

 

  • Degree. Verification that the student is currently enrolled in a university degree program or proof of a graduate degree.

Evaluation Categories and Scoring

  • Importance and Relevance. Is this project likely to make a minor contribution/advancement to the relevant areas or a major one? How well does the project address the criteria of the award (above)? Is the proposal focused on a topic directly related to Dr. Herman’s research and findings and does the proposal specifically describe this relevance in detail?  (15 points)
  • Scientific Quality.  This criterion is meant to address whether the specific aspects of the proposal are appropriate to achieve the stated goals and objectives of the proposal.  Examples of project aspects to consider are the overall project design (is it well thought out and logical?),  field and/or lab methods (best practice? the right ones to use?), equipment and/or facilities or study site (right ones for the job?), study subjects if working in a laboratory setting (are these experienced or naive animals?), analyses (appropriate for the research design, rigorous, state-of-the art?) (15 points)
  • Quality of Writing and Presentation. Is the proposal well-written and clear? Are all required aspects of the proposal present and easy to understand? (5 points)
  • Likelihood of Success.  Considering Scientific Quality, applicant’s CV and other key personnel on the project, methods, timeline, funding, etc., how likely is it that the project will achieve its goals and desired outcomes. (5 points)
  • Outreach Plan.  Is the outreach plan appropriate and meaningful?  What kind of reach will these findings have and is it appropriate to the goals of the research?  (5 points)
  • Budget.  Is the budget appropriate and justified?  Does the funding play a meaningful role in the overall success of the project? (5 points)
  • References. Are the references strong, average, or below average in support of the applicant and the project? (5 points)

Award Recipient Notification
The award recipient will be notified by 16 April 2022 with an expectation that the awardee will submit to present their research project at the subsequent Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals. We will award up to $500 to support travel costs contingent on an accepted submission and completed presentation.

Enquiries
Via email to the Awards and Scholarships Chair, Lindsay Porter (awardschair@marinemammalscience.org)

Emily B. Shane Award Now Accepting Proposals


Greetings, members!

The EBS Award 2021-22 is now looking for proposals. This fund is open to all Society members for projects that focus on free-ranging odontocete and sirenian species.

Projects with clear conservation priorities for populations or habitat critical to these species will be scored highly. Research that also positively impacts local communities will also be given special consideration.

The award is for USD 10,000 (eqv. ~Colombian Pesos (COP) 38,000,000, ~Euro 8,500, ~Indian Rupees (INR) 735,500, ~ Chinese Yuan (RMB) 64,500, Australian Dollar (AUD) 13,500).

Please submit your proposal before 12 November 2021

Find out about eligibility and how to apply here. 

Thank you,
Lindsay Porter
Chair, Awards and Scholarships Committee
Society for Marine Mammalogy

DEI Webinar: Intentionally Building Inclusive Spaces for Queer Scientists

Intentionally Building Inclusive Spaces for Queer Scientists

Co-hosted by the SMM and Absolutely Smashing Event and Consulting’s Mindful Conservation
on Thursday, 18 November 2021
12 PM–2 PM Eastern Daylight Savings Time

To highlight matters of diversity, inclusion and equity (DEI) within the SMM, the ad hoc Diversity and Inclusion Committee are organising a series of DEI-related webinars. The first, focused on Internship Equity can be found here. The second, on challenges and successes of conducting research in Southeast Asia can be found here.

About the Event

The advancement of ocean science and marine conservation success ultimately relies on the well-being of the scientists involved. This well-being largely depends on our scientific community providing a safe and supportive space for scientists and conservation practitioners to work in. There are large number of LGBTQ+ scientists within our community that often face prejudice, exclusion, and discrimination. Success of the whole community depends on diversity, equity, and inclusion. In this webinar we seek to promote understanding of the issues and struggles our LGBTQ+ scientists face, and work towards solutions to problems and barriers that they face. 

The webinar opened with a presentation of the language of identity by Zeke Gonzalez that discussed definitions in the queer community and the challenges that queer people in STEM who are out face. The panel then shared stories and thoughts in a discussion on a variety of topics covering the dangers of field work and travel, problems of intersectionality and heteronormative privilege, and the emotional load and time commitment of queer people who are frequently tapped to represent the community in DEI activities. The webinar ended on notes stressing the  the importance of support for the queer community from faculty, universities, and the wider STEM field in general.

 

Speakers and Panelists

Zeke Gonzalez (he/him/his)
Zeke Gonzalez is a queer graduate student in the Carleton lab at the University of Maryland studying cichlid color vision and reproductive behavior. Besides his passion for sexual selection, Zeke is also a swim coach and gives talks at local schools with arthropod specimens from the UMD Insect Zoo. He spends his free time hosting horror movie night with his friends and colleagues, trying out new games, and training for a triathlon.
Dr. Daniel M. Palacios (he/him/his)
Dr. Daniel Palacios is an Associate Professor with the Marine Mammal Institute at Oregon State University, where he leads the Whale Habitat, Ecology & Telemetry Lab. He hails originally from Colombia, and his research addresses questions dealing with the large-scale (“seascape”) ecology of top marine predators in relation to ocean processes, including interactions with the environment, with other species, and with human activities.
Annabel Gong (they/them)
Annabel Gong is a master’s student at the University of San Diego studying the movement of the shovelnose guitarfish and California bat ray along the Southern California coast. Annabel is also the co-host of the podcast LGBTQ+ STEM Cast, a podcast where they interview LGBTQ+ identifying STEM professionals from around the world. Annabel is a huge shark enthusiast and is currently applying to PhD positions to continue their work in shark and ray movement ecology.
Panel Planners and Moderators

Dr. Heather Penney
Heather Penney is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Memorial University in Newfoundland Canada. She is an evolutionary ecologist currently working on sea cucumbers. Outside of her primary job she helps plan conferences and workshops.

Dr. Ashley Scarlett, Founder of Absolutely Smashing Events and Consulting
Ashley Scarlett is a scientist that specializes in marine mammal science and science communication. She is a consultant of social media, product or service promoting, video & podcast production (editing, hosting, etc), outreach, events planning, and her favorite mindful conservation advocacy.

Please direct any questions or comments about the webinar to Dr. Ashley Scarlett.

If you have suggestions for future webinars in this series, please direct them to the SMM ad hoc Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

SMM Seminar Editors’ Select Series: Patterns of mortality in endangered Cook Inlet beluga whales

You are invited to the next edition of the SMM Seminar Editor’s Select Series. This series highlights the latest and most exciting marine mammal science published in the Marine Mammal Science Journal. The SMM created this series to give scientists and citizens around the world a chance to engage with marine mammal scientists, learn and ask questions. All are welcome.

Join us on Tuesday, 16 November 2021 at 2 PM AKST (3 PM PDT / 10 PM UTC)
for the next SMM Seminar Editors’ Select Series:
Patterns of mortality in endangered Cook Inlet beluga whales:
Insights from pairing a long-term photo-identification study with stranding records with Dr. Tamara McGuire of the Cook Inlet Beluga Whale Photo-ID Project.

Free to attend. Registration required. Presented online on Zoom.
Register here: https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_O7140C1TR7-CREClYeWLkw
Space on Zoom is limited to the first 500 attendees. The talk will also be streamed live on the SMM Facebook page.

About this talk:
To understand why endangered beluga whales in Cook Inlet Alaska are not recovering despite over a decade of legal protections, we need to understand recent demographic patterns and sources of the population’s mortality. We used photographic records of individually identified live belugas collected over 13 years and combined them with stranding data from belugas found dead during the same period to assess mortality patterns.  Dead females and males were evenly represented. For both males and females, mortality rates were greatest in reproductive-aged adults, and there were no very-old adults. Live stranding was the most commonly assigned cause of death, but did not account for the majority of deaths. The cause(s) of most deaths and live strandings were undetermined. Our analysis advances the current understanding of mortality patterns in CIBWs, but linking a greater proportion of carcasses to photo-ID individuals and collecting more data from stranded carcasses would further improve our understanding of the causes of mortality in this population; we conclude with recommendations for achieving this.

About the presenter and co-authors:
Dr. Tamara McGuire is the Principal Investigator for the Cook Inlet Beluga Whale Photo-ID project. She has studied marine mammals for over 25 years and is interested in habitat use, life history, behavior, and the effects of human activities on endangered and threatened aquatic species and their habitats. She has studied marine mammals in Alaska since 2006, and before that on the Oregon Coast and in the Orinoco and Amazon River Basins. She has worked with Federal, Tribal, and State agencies, NGOs, and private industry. She led the Cook Inlet Beluga Recovery Team and is an advocate for collaborative research. Kim Shelden is a marine biologist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration based at the Marine Mammal Laboratory of the Alaska Fisheries Science Center. She has worked for the Cetacean Assessment and Ecology Program since 1990 studying species present seasonally and year-round in Alaska waters including Cook Inlet belugas, North Pacific right whales, bowhead whales, gray whales, Pacific white-sided dolphins, and harbor porpoise. Dr. Gina Himes Boor is Assistant Research Professor in the Ecology Department Montana State University. Her research focuses on developing models to better understand the demographic and spatial-use patterns that contribute to the decline and recovery of imperiled species. Amber Stephens has studied marine mammals since 1998, including beluga whales, Steller sea lions, harbor seals, narwhals, and Pacific walrus.  A CI on the CIBW Photo-ID Project, her responsibilities include cataloging, field work, public outreach, and website management. John McClung joined the Cook Inlet Beluga Whale Photo-ID Project in 2017 and has over ten years of photo-identification experience of cetaceans including humpback whales, melon-headed whales, and belugas. Prior to receiving his MS in wildlife science from Oregon State University, he served 26 years in the U.S. Air Force. Christopher Garner is a biologist for the Department of Defense at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.  He has studied beluga and harbor porpoise in upper Cook Inlet since 2001 with emphasis on beluga ecology within rivers emptying into a hypertidal region as well as the effects of military activity on marine mammals and their prey. Dr. Carrie Goertz is the Director of Animal Health at the Alaska SeaLife Center where she oversees veterinary care for animals in the aquarium and out in the field, working with sea birds, fish, invertebrates, sea otters, seals, sea lions, beluga, and other marine animals. Dr. Kathy Burek Huntington has been the pathologist for the Alaska stranding program and in particular for the Cook Inlet belugas for 23 years and works collaboratively with the rest of the stranding network throughout Alaska. She is particularly interested in emerging pathogens, harmful algal bloom toxins, pathology, the intersections of these topics with climate change, and mentoring young scientists in pathology. Dr. Greg O’Corry-Crowe is a behavioral ecologist and geneticist focused on marine mammals and conservation. He runs the Wildlife Evolution and Behavior (WEB) program at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute and is a research professor at Florida Atlantic University. Bruce Wright is an ecologist with the Knik Tribe whose work focuses on Alaska marine and terrestrial top predators.

Open access to all Marine Mammal Science papers is available to current SMM members. Open access to this article will be made temporarily available to the public during the week prior to and of the presentation.

Missed a presentation or want to share this series with a friend? All previous Editors’ Select  presentations are recorded and archived on our YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLUc78IynQlubS2DVS1VZoplf_t42-yZOO

Webinar on Research Challenges in Asia

Webinar on Research Challenges in Asia 

Overcoming Challenges in the Lands of Dragons and Mermaids:
Stories of Struggles and Triumphs in Marine Mammal Science and Conservation in Diverse Asia

Thursday, 7 October 2021
New York, United States,  8:00am – 9:30am (EDT); Delhi, India Mon, 5:30pm – 7:00pm (IST); Rangoon, Myanmar  6:30pm – 8:00pm (GMT+630); Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 8:00pm – 9:30pm (GMT+8)

About the Event
To highlight matters of diversity, inclusion and equity (DEI) within the SMM, the ad hoc Diversity and Inclusion Committee are organising four DEI-related webinars. The first focused on “Equity in Internships” and can be found here.

The second webinar in this series focused on research in Asia and issues around conducting marine mammal science in low-income countries.

During this webinar, four Asian researchers presented aspects of their research and how they achieved success working with limited resources but with an abundance of regional encouragement and camaraderie! The speakers were joined by several other researchers for a panel discussion, moderated by two members of the SMM Board who both live and work in Asia. The panel discussion focused on the diversity of people, cultures and disciplines of marine mammal work in Asia.

Speakers and Panelists

  • Jo Marie Acebes, National Museum of the Philippines and BALYENA.ORG, Philippines
    Balancing the Banca: Overcoming Challenges in Marine Mammal Research in the Philippines
  • Wint Hte,  Myanmar Coastal Conservation Lab (MMCL), Myanmar
    Diving into Marine Mammal Conservation in Myanmar: Opportunities, Growths and Challenges
  • Louisa Ponnampalam – The MareCet Research Organization, Malaysia
    It can be done on a shoestring budget! A Malaysian marmam research and conservation story
  • Weerapong Laovechprasit “Mac” – University of Georgia, National Thailand Strandings Programme, Thailand
    Turning strandings into a powerful resource for cetacean conservation in a resource limited environment.
  • Long Vu – Center for Biodiversity Conservation and Endangered Species (CBES), Vietnam
  • Wei-Cheng Yang – National Taiwan University, Taiwan

Moderators

  • Cindy Peter (SMM Member at Large) – Sarawak Dolphin Project, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, Malaysia
  • Lindsay Porter (SMM Awards Committee Chair) – Southeast Asia Marine Mammal association (SEAMMAM) and the Asian Marine Mammal Stranding Network (AMMSN), Hong Kong

Please direct any questions about the webinar to Eric Archer and Tara Cox at diversity@marinemammalscience.org.

Meet the Presenters

Speakers

Jo Marie Acebes “Jom”

Balancing the Banca: Overcoming Challenges in Marine Mammal Research in the Philippines

Jom is a Senior Museum Researcher at the Zoology Division of the National Museum of the Philippines. She is also the Founder and Principal Investigator of a non-profit organization called BALYENA.ORG, with a mission to support the conservation of whales and dolphins and their natural habitats in the Philippines through research, education and capacity-building.

Twitter
Website

 

 

 

Wint Hte

Diving into Marine Mammal Conservation in Myanmar: Opportunities, Growths and Challenges

Wint is a co-founder of the Myanmar Coastal Conservation Lab (MMCL), a local youth-based organisation. As a conservation practitioner, researcher and trainer, Wint is eager to promote interdisciplinary, inclusive and innovative solutions for conservation and management in Myanmar. Wint and his collaborators were the winners of the SMM J. Stephen Leatherwood Memorial Award at the 2019 World Marine Mammal Conference (Barcelona, Spain) for their excellent conservation research in Asia, achieved through collaboration and community engagement.

Facebook
LinkedIn

 

Louisa Ponnampalam

It can be done on a shoestring budget! A Malaysian marmam research and conservation story

Louisa is the co-founder and Executive Director of The MareCet Research Organization, a grassroots NGO focused on the research and conservation of marine mammals and their habitats in her native Malaysia. Louisa is a Pew Marine Fellow and also Asia Co-Coordinator for the IUCN Cetacean and Sirenia Specialist Groups. Louisa is the Diversity Chair for the SMM 2022 Conference in Florida, USA.

Instagram
Twitter

 

 

 

 

Weerapong Laovechprasit “Mac”

Turning strandings into a powerful resource for cetacean conservation in a resource limited environment.

Mac is a marine-life veterinarian who is currently conducting his Ph.D. at the University of Georgia, USA. Mac was one on the founding veterinary staff of the National Thailand Strandings Programme. After working on one of the most comprehensive strandings programmes in Asia, Mac is further his skill set and is working on advanced molecular diagnosis development in sea turtles and marine mammals.

Twitter
Facebook

 

Panel Speakers

Long Vu

Long is a trained ecologist and conservationist, who started studying marine mammals in 2012. Currently, his work focuses on narrowing information gaps in our knowledge of the marine mammals of Vietnam to better inform conservation and management. Long founded Vietnam’s only dedicated marine mammal NGO, Center for Biodiversity Conservation and Endangered Species (CBES). Long was the winner of the SMM EBS Award for conservation focused research in 2019.

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Wei-Cheng Yang “Jack”

Jack is an Associate Professor in the School of Veterinary Medicine and the Institute of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the National Taiwan University, National Taiwan University. His research projects investigate pathogens and diseases, noise-related stress evaluation, diagnostic tool development and cetacean conservation medicine. Jack is an active member of the Asian Marine Mammal Strandings Network (AMMSN) and he recently secured substantial government support that allows his institute to act as a regional hub for marine mammal sample analyses. Jack became a member of the SMM Awards Committee in 2020 and has been a judge at the SMM Conference since 2017.

Website
ResearchGate

 

 

Moderators

Cindy Peter
SMM Member-at-Large

Cindy was a founding member of the first marine mammal research programme in Sarawak, Malaysia, the Sarawak Dolphin Project. After completing her masters, Cindy took up a lectureship position at the Institute of Biodiversity and Environmental Conservation (IBEC), Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, where she leads research projects focusing on cetacean interactions with local fisheries. Cindy became the SMM Member at Large in 2020.

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Lindsay Porter
SMM Awards Committee Chair

In 1993, Lindsay moved to Hong Kong to conduct her PhD and has lived and worked in Asia ever since. Lindsay is one of the founding members of the Southeast Asia Marine Mammal association (SEAMMAM) and the Asian Marine Mammal Stranding Network (AMMSN) and collaborates with many institutes and NGO’s within Asia and is a strong advocate of regional collaboration that strives to improve the status of cetaceans and sirenians throughout Asia, As Awards Chair for the SMM, Lindsay has established a committee of globally diverse participants with representatives from eight (8) countries spanning the Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania and claims to have one of the best roles in the SMM.

ResearchGate

Webinar on Internship Equity

You are invited
to a
Webinar on Internship Equity
co-hosted by the SMM and WDC
on Thursday, August 26th
4:00 PM-6:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time (8:00 PM -10:00 PM UTC)

About the Event:
While we all rely on the ocean for half our oxygen, our climate, and our economy, not everyone has a voice in marine science and conservation, a field which has little racial diversity.

Recognizing and removing the barriers preventing access to this field is critical to the health of our planet. In this webinar, several organizations will present their experiences, outlining how they evaluated the barriers to accessing opportunities in this field and how they are working to remove them. Join our panelists to hear about the steps they have taken to increase access to the field.

This webinar is the first of four talking about diversity, equity, and inclusion in the marine mammal conservation field, and leads up to a DEI workshop just prior to the 24th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals, to be held on August 1-5, 2022 in Palm Beach, Florida, USA.

This event is free to attend and all are welcome.

Speakers:
Tara Cox, Savannah State University
Regina Asmutis-Silvia, Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC)
Chris Parsons, National Science Foundation (NSF)
Cassandra Harris, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Samantha Gallardo, Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC)

Zoom Registration:
https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_9f-Dzq-ESzyO3tr3Re3-AQ

Please help to inform and guide our discussion!
We would appreciate your participation in a DEI Webinar Participant Survey. This anonymous survey will take approximately five minutes to complete. Results will be shared at the webinar, but please note this is an informal survey and the results will not have any statistical significance and will be shared as discussion points only.

Please direct any questions about the webinar to Regina Asmutis-Silvia and Melissa Walker at jobs@whales.org

Thank you for being a part of the conversation. We look forward to seeing you there.

Eric Archer and Tara Cox
Co-Chairs, SMM Ad hoc Diversity and Inclusion Committee