Workshop: Marine mammal sensory systems: An integrated perspective (29 Oct 2017)

Marine mammal sensory systems: An integrated perspective

Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017. 8:00 – 17:00

Sensory systems evolve in response to environmental pressures, providing advantages for specialized or generalized habitat use, foraging, communication, locomotion, and navigation strategies. Thus, understanding marine mammal sensory systems requires knowledge of the species’ life history, properties of the aquatic signals, and neurobiology of sensory reception. This workshop explores the recent discoveries and challenges confronting research in marine mammal visual, chemical, olfactory, somatosensory and auditory modalities. We invite participants interested in marine mammal sensory adaptations, and potential multimodal cognitive processes that may trigger behaviors indicative of perception. Our objective is to formulate a whole-organism understanding of how disparate sensory signals may integrate to help marine mammals survive. This full-day workshop begins with short presentations and panel discussions on each sensory system. Afternoon activities include breakout sessions organized around marine mammal taxonomic groups, and focused on the benefits of sensory integration specific to the taxon’s habitat, behaviors, and life history. We anticipate the workshop will foster collaborations among experts and students with diverse specializations, identify important knowledge gaps, develop hypotheses on multimodal integration, and produce applications for marine mammal conservation.