SMM Seminar Editors’ Select Series: What tiny molecules can tell us about the giants of the sea, with Dr. Valentina Melica

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 Thursday, 15 December 2022 at 4 PM PST / 7 PM EST (Friday, 16 December at 12 am GMT)
for the next SMM Seminar Editors’ Select Series
Hormones and whales: what tiny molecules can tell us about the giants of the sea
with Dr. Valentina Melica

This event is free to attend and presented online via Zoom, but registration is required.
Register here:
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:
Hormones are tiny molecules that regulate critical functions in the bodies of mammals, including the important job of maintaining an animal’s energy levels when facing challenging situations. We researched how the hormones cortisol and corticosterone, which are associated with regulating stress response and metabolism, were impacted by different aspects of the lives of blue and gray whales, including age, sex, reproductive status, season, and geographic location. We found that pregnant blue whales and nursing gray whales experienced higher energy demands and elevated hormone levels. This information is essential for understanding how whales cope with stressors caused by human activities.

About the presenter:
Dr. Valentina Melica is a research biologist specializing in endocrine analysis. She grew up in Italy, where she worked as an aquarist and snorkel guide in northeast Italy and earned a master’s degree from the University of Trieste, with a research project on moon jellyfish. She completed her PhD at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where her research focused on reproductive and stress-related endocrinology in the eastern North Pacific populations of blue and gray whales. She now lives in North Vancouver, Canada, where she is research scientist with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, in the Marine Mammal Conservation Physiology program. In that position, she is studying biomarkers in killer whales and humpback whales.

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:

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