SMM Quarterly Newsletter: January-March 2018

Society for Marine Mammalogy Quarterly Newsletter
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Greetings from the President

We have a special treat for those of you who missed the SMM Conference in Halifax last October. Videos of the opening ceremony, the monk seal conservation highlights presentation, the plenary presentations, the Norris and Wood Award presentations, in addition to the “In Memoriam” presentation, are now available on the SMM YouTube Channel. Even if you were there, you may enjoy re-living these moments. I thank Jarrett Corke, Tonya Wimmer, and Hilary Moors-Murphy for making these presentations available.

Jay Barlow

From the Awards Committee
by Lindsay Porter

Louis M. Herman, Ph.D. and Emeritus Professor at University of Hawaii at Manoa, was a pioneer and trailblazer in research on dolphin sensory perception and cognition, and humpback whale behavioral ecology. Dr. Herman’s family, colleagues and friends have established the Louis M. Herman Research Scholarship to honor his legacy by promoting the type of research that was the focus of his groundbreaking studies. The Awards Committee has received 22 proposals for this scholarship: Australia (2), the Bahamas (1), Brazil (1), Canada (1), Colombia (1), Ecuador (1), Mexico (1), New Caledonia (1), Spain (1) and USA (10), and two proposals are for regional studies. The proposals are currently being reviewed and the successful applicant will be announced by the end of April. Good luck applicants and thank you all for supporting this award!The details for two other Society awards will also be announced in April, the Emily B. Shane (EBS) Award and the John E. Heyning Award. A call for proposals will be made shortly… look out for the announcements!

From the Conservation Committee

by Barb Taylor

Vaquita update March 2018

With the effort to place some vaquitas in human care suspended indefinitely (see CIRVA 10 Report and summary here and VaquitaCPR summary here), stronger enforcement of the gillnet ban and more efficient removal of totoaba nets together constitute the only hope for saving the species now that fewer than 30 individuals exist. The Government of Mexico has increased net removal efforts and monthly reports are on the IUCN SSC Cetacean Specialist Group website. Illegal totoaba fishing continues at high levels. Videos of operations can be seen on Sea Shepherd’s Operation Milagro IV website. The totoaba spawning season is from December through May and peaks in March, the month when multiple dead vaquitas have been found in the past two years.The Center for Biological Diversity continues its effort to force the U.S. government to ban Mexican seafood imports under the Marine Mammal Protection Act section intended to require foreign fisheries to meet marine mammal protection standards equivalent to U.S. standards as a condition of exporting seafood to the U.S. (see Center for Biological Diversity press release).

From the Scientific Advisory Committee
by Doug Wartzok

Members are reminded that now is a good time to begin work on proposals for the SMM Small Grants in Aid of Research competition. Applications will be accepted on the SMM website beginning 1 June 2018. Samples of successful proposals are available on the website. In 2016, the SMM Board of Governors authorized more funding for this program and increased the available awards to $2,000 (U.S.) each.

Applicants are reminded of the need to meet all three of the following eligibility requirements:

1. Be a member of the Society for Marine Mammalogy

2. Be a national of one of the low-income countries as identified on the website (note there have been some changes to the list based on SMM Board of Governors action in October 2017)

3. Be conducting research in one of the low-income countries as identified above

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

Marine Mammal Science 

January 2018

Table of Contents

Note: you must be signed in as a member of the SMM or at Wiley to open and read the journal for free

Issue Information (pages 1–6)
Version of Record online: 19 DEC 2017 | DOI: 10.1111/mms.12473


Stable isotope composition and parasitic infections of harbor seal young-of-the-year used as prey-based diet indicators (pages 7–26) Camille de la Vega, Benoit Lebreton, Kristina Lehnert, Ragnhild Asmus, Ursula Siebert and Harald Asmus Version of Record online: 21 AUG 2017 | DOI: 10.1111/mms.12433
Assessment of wound healing of tagged gray (Eschrichtius robustus) and blue (Balaenoptera musculus) whales in the eastern North Pacific using long-term series of photographs (pages 27–53) Stephanie A. Norman, Kiirsten R. Flynn, Alexandre N. Zerbini, Frances M. D. Gulland, Michael J. Moore, Stephen Raverty, David S. Rotstein, Bruce R. Mate, Craig Hayslip, Diane Gendron, Richard Sears, Annie B. Douglas and John Calambokidis Version of Record online: 3 SEP 2017 | DOI: 10.1111/mms.12443
Demography of the Pacific walrus (Odobenus rosmarus divergens) in a changing Arctic (pages 54–86) Rebecca L. Taylor, Mark S. Udevitz, Chadwick V. Jay, John J. Citta, Lori T. Quakenbush, Patrick R. Lemons and Jonathan A. Snyder Version of Record online: 2 SEP 2017 | DOI: 10.1111/mms.12434
Shark bite injuries on three inshore dolphin species in tropical northwestern Australia (pages 87–99) Felix Smith, Simon J. Allen, Lars Bejder and Alexander M. Brown Version of Record online: 21 AUG 2017 | DOI: 10.1111/mms.12435
Photo-identification matches of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) from feeding areas in Russian Far East seas and breeding grounds in the North Pacific (pages 100–112) Olga V. Titova, Olga A. Filatova, Ivan D. Fedutin, Ekaterina N. Ovsyanikova, Haruna Okabe, Nozomi Kobayashi, Jo Marie V. Acebes, Alexandr M. Burdin and Erich Hoyt Version of Record online: 30 SEP 2017 | DOI: 10.1111/mms.12444
The reliability of pigment pattern-based identification of wild bottlenose dolphins (pages 113–124) Lena Marie Vetters Bichell, Ewa Krzyszczyk, Eric M Patterson and Janet Mann Version of Record online: 20 SEP 2017 | DOI: 10.1111/mms.12440
Field anesthesia of juvenile Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) using inhalation anesthesia(pages 125–135) Marianne Lian, Shawn Johnson, Thomas Gelatt, Todd M. O’Hara, Kimberlee B. Beckmen and Lorrie D. Rea Version of Record online: 10 NOV 2017 | DOI: 10.1111/mms.12445
Feeding ecology of Mediterranean common dolphins: The importance of mesopelagic fish in the diet of an endangered subpopulation (pages 136–154) Joan Giménez, Ana Marçalo, Manuel García-Polo, Isabel García-Barón, Juan José Castillo, Carolina Fernández-Maldonado, Camilo Saavedra, M. Begoña Santos and Renaud de Stephanis Version of Record online: 2 SEP 2017 | DOI: 10.1111/mms.12442
Two-component calls in short-finned pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus) (pages 155–168) Nicola Quick, Holly Callahan and Andrew J. Read Version of Record online: 23 OCT 2017 | DOI: 10.1111/mms.12452
Singing through winter nights: Seasonal and diel occurrence of humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) calls in and around the Gully MPA, offshore eastern Canada (pages 169–189) Katie Kowarski, Clair Evers, Hilary Moors-Murphy, Bruce Martin and Samuel L. Denes Version of Record online: 2 OCT 2017 | DOI: 10.1111/mms.12447


Assessment of sexual maturity in captive Amazonian manatees (Trichechus inunguis) (pages 190–199) Rodrigo S. Amaral, Vera M. F. Da Silva, Stella Maris Lazzarini, José Anselmo D’Affonsêca Neto, Daniella Ribeiro and Fernando C. W. Rosas Version of Record online: 18 AUG 2017 | DOI: 10.1111/mms.12439
Infanticide and cannibalism in Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) (pages 200–207) Sergey D. Ryazanov, Anna D. Kirillova, Natalia B. Laskina and Vladimir N. Burkanov Version of Record online: 14 AUG 2017 | DOI: 10.1111/mms.12437
Indian Ocean humpback dolphin (Sousa plumbea) estuary-use patterns in Kochi harbor, India (pages 208–219) Divya Panicker, Asad Haris and Dipani Sutaria Version of Record online: 20 SEP 2017 | DOI: 10.1111/mms.12438
Occasional acoustic presence of Antarctic blue whales on a feeding ground in southern Chile(pages 220–228) Susannah J. Buchan, Rodrigo Hucke-Gaete, Kathleen M. Stafford and Christopher W. Clark Version of Record online: 23 NOV 2017 | DOI: 10.1111/mms.12441
Flipper tag loss in Steller sea lions (pages 229–237) Kelly K. Hastings, Devin S. Johnson and Thomas S. Gelatt Version of Record online: 2 OCT 2017 | DOI: 10.1111/mms.12448
Movements and dive behavior of juvenile California sea lions from Año Nuevo Island (pages 238–249) Elizabeth A. McHuron, Barbara A. Block and Daniel P. Costa Version of Record online: 13 OCT 2017 | DOI: 10.1111/mms.12449
Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) sightings in the New York-New Jersey Harbor Estuary(pages 250–257) Danielle M. Brown, Jooke Robbins, Paul L. Sieswerda, Robert Schoelkopf and E. C. M. Parsons Version of Record online: 29 NOV 2017 | DOI: 10.1111/mms.12450


Resilience of harbor porpoises to anthropogenic disturbance: Must they really feed continuously?(pages 258–264) Jeroen P. A. Hoekendijk, Jerome Spitz, Andrew J. Read, Mardik F. Leopold and Michael C. Fontaine Version of Record online: 19 DEC 2017 | DOI: 10.1111/mms.12446
Response to “Resilience of harbor porpoises to anthropogenic disturbance: Must they really feed continuously?” (pages 265–270) Danuta Maria Wisniewska, Mark Johnson, Jonas Teilmann, Laia Rojano-Doñate, Jeanne Shearer, Signe Sveegaard, Lee A. Miller, Ursula Siebert and Peter Teglberg Madsen Version of Record online: 19 DEC 2017 | DOI: 10.1111/mms.12463
Upcoming Events

by Chris Parsons Chair, Membership Committee

Conservation conferences everywhere!

This summer there will be a plethora of conservation biology conferences all around the world. In particular the IMCC meeting in Kuching, Malaysia typically has a lot of marine mammal conservation content The IMCC meeting is also followed by Oceans Online – a one day conference on using the internet for marine science and conservation.

Below are announcements that we have received regarding upcoming conferences, events and symposiums. Are you hosting an event, conference or workshop that would be of interest to the marine mammal science community?

Write to to request inclusion in the next SMM newsletter!

32nd Annual Conference of the European Cetacean Society (ECS 2018)
La Spezia, Italy
April 6-10, 2018
Visit the meeting site:

5th European Congress of Conservation Biology (ECCB 2018)
​Planetary Well-being
Jyväskylä, Finland
June 12-15, 2018
Visit the meeting website:\eccb2018
Follow ECCB on Facebook and Twitter

International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC5)
Make Marine Science Matter!
Kuching, Sarawak
June 24-29, 2018
Visit the meeting website:
Follow IMCC on Facebook and Twitter

American Society of Mammalogists 98th Annual Meeting 
Kansas State University
June 25th – 29th, 2018

This year’s meeting will offer a program with five workshops, two symposia, two plenary sessions, in addition to papers and posters. Workshops will provide training in using UAVs in biological research, mammalian parasites, alternatives to academic careers, interviewing strategies, and how to use the species distribution software, Wallace. Symposia will include current topics in Bat Conservation and Mammalian Paleoecology. The two plenary sessions will feature student Honoraria and Fellowship recipients and the 2017 recipients of the ASM Grinnell, Leopold, and Merriam Awards—Drs. Bob Timm, Geraldo Ceballos, and Mark Boyce. And we are honored to have Dr. Blaire Van Valkenburgh, as our capstone speaker.

Registration is now open, but early registration fees end on March 31st.

For more details go to:

Oceania Congress for Conservation Biology (OCCB 2018)
Conservation in a Changing World
Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington, New Zealand
July 2-6, 2018

Visit the meeting website:
Follow OCCB on Facebook and Twitter

North America Congress for Conservation Biology (NACCB 2018)
Conservation Science, Policy, and Practice: Connecting the Urban to the Wild
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
July 21-26, 2018

Visit the meeting website:
Follow NACCB on Facebook and Twitter

Latin America and Caribbean Congress for Conservation Biology (LACCCB 2018)
Rainforest to Reef: Strengthening Conservation Connections Between the Caribbean and the Americas
St. Augustine campus of the University of the West Indies, Trinidad & Tobago
July 25-27, 2018
Visit the meeting website:
Follow LACCB on Facebook

Ecological Society of America Meeting 
New Orleans, Louisiana
August 5-10, 2018

The Ecological Society of America (ESA) is a professional society whose aims are to:
  • promote ecological science by improving communication among ecologists;
  • raise the public’s level of awareness of the importance of ecological science;
  • increase the resources available for the conduct of ecological science; and
  • ensure the appropriate use of ecological science in environmental decision making by enhancing communication between the ecological community and policy-makers.
Ecology is the scientific discipline that is concerned with the relationships between organisms and their past, present, and future environments. These relationships include physiological responses of individuals, structure and dynamics of populations, interactions among species, organization of biological communities, and processing of energy and matter in ecosystems. The ESA holds a regular conference and this coming meeting will be held in New Orleans (5-10 August). The 2018 meeting’s theme is: Extreme events, ecosystem resilience and human well-being Although the call for abstracts for spoken presentations and workshops is closed, the meeting will accept late breaking poster submissions until May 3rd . Early registration for the meeting closes on June 14th. For more details go to the website at:

Asia Congress for Biodiversity Conservation (ACBC 2018)
American University of Central Asia, Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic
August 7-10, 2018

Visit the meeting website:

International Congress of Conservation Marketing & Engagement (ConsMark 2018)
George Mason University Arlington Campus, Arlington, Virginia, USA
October 25-27, 2018
Follow ConsMark on Facebook and Twitter

This conference is aimed towards conservation practitioners and conservation scientists who want to discuss better ways to get their conservation message to the public, and to get the public to act on this message. This conference will give scientists practitioners the opportunity to discuss effective ways to “market” and publicize conservation problems and needs, and to better engage the public in conservation efforts.

International Committee on Marine Mammal Protected Areas (ICMMPA) Conference 
Costa Navarino, Messinia, Greece
Date: April 8–12, 2019

The International Committee on Marine Mammal Protected Areas (ICMMPA), is a group of international experts dedicated to the protection of marine mammals and their habitats. Since 2009, the ICMMPA has been organizing ICMMPA conferences every other year with special focus on the Americas, held in chronological order in Hawaii, Martinique, Australia, and Mexico, that serve as an important forum for marine mammal protected area practitioners.

In 2019, ICMMPA is reaching a key milestone; its 10th anniversary since its foundation and first conference. The 5th conference will take place for the first time in Europe and specifically in the Mediterranean region. Hosting the ICMMPA5 in Greece will provide a unique opportunity to promote the protection of marine mammals at the national, Mediterranean, and European level and advance practical solutions to common problems in marine conservation.

To receive a sponsorship package, or for more information, contact: Naomi McIntosh, Chair, ICMMPA ( or Amalia Alberini, Conference Co-Host, WWF Greece (

Visit the SMM website for jobs, internships, partner symposiums and more

Do you have information, upcoming events or items you’d like to share in our quarterly newsletter? If so, please send them to

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The mission of the international Society for Marine Mammalogy (SMM) is to promote the global advancement of marine mammal science and contribute to its relevance and impact in education, conservation and management.

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