June 15, 2022

Lynne Barre – NOAA Fisheries, West Coast Regional Office

Wed., June 15, 2022
Phinney Neighborhood
7:30 pm
doors open at 7

Southern Resident Killer Whales: An Update on NOAA's Species in the Spotlight ... more


2005-2006 Speaker Series

The Puget Sound Chapter of the American Cetacean Society would like to sincerely thank the following people for giving a presentation at one of our monthly Speaker Series meetings.

Click on any of the Abstract links for a summary and a brief bio about the talk Many abstracts also contain additional related resources.

Oct 2006 Speaker

21 June 2006 - Chris Huss

A celebration of cetacean encounters ... Abstract

Chris is preparing a show of some of his favorite whale and dolphin photos that he has taken during the last 20 years from his travels around the globe. Highlighted animals and locations will include humpback whales in both Alaska and Hawaii, pacific white-sided dolphins visiting North Vancouver Island in the Fall, spotted dolphins that seek out human interaction on the Bahamas Banks, gray whales that migrate to the protected waters of San Ignacio Lagoon in Baja California, several different species of dolphins in the Azores and photos taken from sunrise to sunset of our very own special resident orca whales. If you love marine life, especially cetaceans, you surely will enjoy seeing the photos and hearing some of the stories behind them.

Chris Huss has been a full-time professional photographer since graduating with a degree in photography and film-making from the University of Washington in 1981. Chris's passion for the marine world began at an early age and, before he had even learned to swim, he was exploring underwater using a dive mask. At age 14 he began taking underwater photos in Lake Washington with an instamatic camera protected by a plastic bag. He has since received over 60 national and international awards for his photography and has been published in countless magazines, books, calendars and postcards. Chris has lead underwater photography tours and taken stock photography trips all around the world, and during the last 25 years he has amassed a stock library with thousands of images of marine wildlife. His list of publication credits include: National Geographic, Time, Natural History, The New York Times, Ocean Realm, Time-Life, and Alaska Airlines.

17 May 2006 - Peter Ross

Fireproof killer whales: Icons of the Northeastern Pacific Ocean are at risk from chemical exposure ... Abstract

Long-lived and high trophic level marine mammals are vulnerable to accumulating often very high concentrations of persistent chemicals, including pesticides, industrial by-products and flame-retardants. In the case of killer whales (Orcinus orca), some of the older individuals currently frequenting the coastal waters of British Columbia and Washington State were born during the First World War, well before the advent of widespread chemical manufacture and use. These killer whales are now among the most polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB)-contaminated marine mammals in the world. While the 'legacy' PCBs have been banned from use, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) have recently emerged as a major concern. The endocrine-disrupting nature of these two persistent fire retardants in biota spells trouble at the top of the food chain, with increasing evidence of effects on reproductive health, the immune system, and development in exposed mammals. The heavy contamination of killer whales, coupled with their long lifespan and high trophic level, highlights the need for a 'weight of evidence' approach in research, conservation planning and regulatory decisions. Given the nature of contaminant dispersion, such approaches can only be effective when carried out on regional, national and international scales.

Peter S. Ross is a Research Scientist (marine mammal toxicologist) at the Institute of Ocean Sciences (Fisheries and Oceans Canada) in Sidney, British Columbia, Canada. He is carrying out research into the levels and patterns of environmental contaminants in marine mammals and the effects of these on their health. He holds Adjunct Professorships at Simon Fraser University and the University of Victoria. He obtained his PhD from the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands (1995), his MSc from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia (1990), and his BSc (Honours) from Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario (1985). He has published more than 50 international scientific articles and numerous book chapters and technical reports. His work on captive and wild harbour seals has provided a foundation for understanding the link between environmental contaminants, endocrine disruption, the immune system and increased susceptibility to disease in marine mammals. He published an article entitled "High PCB levels in free-ranging Pacific killer whales", which established the southern resident killer whales of British Columbia and Washington State as among the most contaminated marine mammals in the world, and concludes that PCBs present a tangible health risk to these symbols of the Pacific Ocean. He continues to carry out multidisciplinary research into the effects of contaminants on the health of wildlife, and uses marine mammals as sentinels that help to elucidate contaminant pathways in the environment. Dr. Ross gives numerous public lectures to audiences across Canada and the United States, and his work has been featured in local, national and international newspapers, magazines, radio and television.

19 April 2006 - Donna DW Hauser

Where the whales are: a look at summer distribution patterns of Southern Resident killer whales ... Abstract

Patterns of environmental variation range over spatial and temporal scales to influence ecological processes and stimulate organism or population responses.  Similarly, social associations of a population can drive patterns of space use through time.  In the case of the so-called Southern Resident killer whales (Orcinus orca), recent concerns over declining population numbers have led to conservation listings in the United States, Canada, and Washington State.  Habitat protection, such as “critical habitat” designation, is a condition or recommendation of each listing. While extensive, long-term demographic studies have provided background for conservation planning, little is known about the changing patterns in spatial behavior of this population.  Summer distribution patterns  were modeled using historical Southern Resident killer whale location information within the semi-enclosed marine waters of British Columbia and Washington State   In this talk, I will present and discuss our efforts to validate opportunistic killer whale sightings from commercial whale watching operators, describe distribution of Southern Resident killer whales, consider effects of temporal scale, variations in distribution among social groupings (pods), and discuss how this information can influence management.

Donna DW Hauser is currently a Master’s candidate at the University of Washington School of Aquatic & Fishery Sciences where she is working on determining summer space use patterns of Southern Resident killer whales.  Growing up in Alaska, spending time sea kayaking, and sailing around the South Pacific have all promoted Donna’s keen interest in marine ecology and the animals that make their living in the marine environment.  Donna has Bachelor’s degrees from the University of Washington in Biology and Aquatic & Fishery Science.  She has also been involved in field research spanning the west coast, studying aquatic ecology of animals from salmon to harbor seals and whales.  In her free time, Donna loves to get outside—hiking, kayaking, and running.

15 March 2006 - Michael Parfit

Luna: celebrating his life and generosity of spirit ... Abstract

important note: As you probably already know, Tsu'xiit/Luna did not survive a terrible accident on March 10th. The meeting instead honored Luna and celebrated his spirit. Thank You Mike.

The original title for this talk was to be "Saving Luna: We all want to, but how?" The following has been retained for reference -- Luna, also known as Tsu'xiit and L-98, is a Southern Resident orca who was born in September 1999, and turned up alone in Nootka Sound in July, 2001. In June, 2004, the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) attempted to move Luna south in hopes of encouraging a reunion. The Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation, which believes for spiritual reasons that Luna should not be captured, took to the waters of Nootka Sound in canoes, and stopped the move. Luna became famous worldwide.

Today Luna remains in Nootka Sound, and controversy continues. Luna has damaged a few fishing boats and sail boats. Aquariums want to add him to their shows. If Luna continues to be seen as a threat, DFO may send him to a tank, or fishermen may kill him.

Mike Parfit will show video of Luna's history, will discuss options, and will seek your input about what should happen to this magnificent solitary orca now.

Michael Parfit was the script writer for the IMAX film Ocean Oasis, which premiered at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in September, 2000, was awarded Best of Category at the 2001 Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival, and earned a "Panda" at Wildscreen 2002. He was the final author of the narration script for the IMAX film Antarctica, which played to over seven million people worldwide between 1992 and 1995. He is the author of four books: Last Stand at Rosebud Creek: Coal, Power and People, published by E.P. Dutton in 1980, The Boys Behind the Bombs, published by Little, Brown, Inc. in 1983, South Light: A Journey to the Last Continent, published by Macmillan, Inc. in 1986; and Chasing the Glory: Travels Across America, published by Macmillan, Inc. in 1988. South Light and Chasing the Glory were both published in paperback. South Light was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year in 1986. He is also the author of numerous articles for National Geographic and Smithsonian magazines, and his magazine work has been honoured by several major awards. He has co-produced and filmed documentaries for the National Geographic Channel, PBS and CNN, and has written about Antarctica for the PBS series "Nature." Also see mountainsidefilms.com/

15 February 2006 - Gina Ylitalo -

Pacific Northwest resident killer whales and chemical contaminants in their prey ... Abstract

Gina Ylitalo has worked as a research chemist for the Northwest Fisheries Science Center since 1989. Currently, she is the Team Leader of the Ecological Chemistry Team of the Environmental Assessment Program. Her research interests include assessing links between exposure to chemical contaminants and potential health effects to marine mammals and fish as well as developing methods to analyze for new contaminants of interest in marine sediments and biota.

Her current research includes determining levels and types of toxic chemical contaminants in free-ranging populations of marine mammals, including various populations of North Pacific killer whales. As a result of this work, she served as a member of two biological review teams that considered the status of Southern Resident killer whales under the Endangered Species Act. In addition to these projects, Gina and her team are working on potential impacts of emerging chemicals of concern (e.g., common-use pesticides, flame retardants) on protected salmonids and marine mammals that have garnered considerable regional and national interest.

18 January 2006 - Shannon McCluskey -

Killer Whales and Salmon: Correlations Through Space and Time in the Inland Waters of British Columbia and Washington ... Abstract

Shannon McCluskey received a BA from Hamilton College, Clinton, New York in 1998 where she majored in biology and minored in Environmental Studies. She also attended the University of Otago, Dunedin New Zealand and spent a semester researching sockeye salmon in Barkley Sound, BC. Between travels, she has worked as a kayak guide and naturalist for several summers in the San Juans, as a researcher for the Western Fisheries Research Center (USGS), the Center for Whale Research, the Whale Museum, and the National Marine Mammal Laboratory (NOAA), and as an instructor for Pacific Marine Research.

Shannon's presentation will discuss some of the challenges and insights of working with spatially explicit predator and prey data in a marine environment. Movement patterns of J, K, and L pods will be explored in relation to presence of different species of salmon across time. General correlations between population trends of salmon and whales will also be presented.

21 December 2005 - Michael Ford, Director, Conservation Biology Division NOAA - NWFSC

Conservation biology: how science is used to inform conservation decisions ... Abstract

Michael Ford leads the Conservation Biology Division at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center, the regional science branch of the National Marine Fisheries Service. He received his PhD in 1995 from Cornell University, where he studied how natural selection acts on DNA sequence variation in fruit flies. He has been at the NWFSC since then, and has worked a variety of conservation issues, mostly related to conserving Pacific salmon. Areas where Mike has been particularly active include developing models for assessing risks posed by hatchery-produced salmon, and developing biological criteria for evaluating recovery. Mike was a co-author on a paper describing Viable Salmonid Populations, which has formed the scientific backbone for NMFS's approach to salmon recovery planning. More recently, Mike participated on the Endangered Species Act status reviews for Southern Resident killer whales, and the Cherry Point herring population, and has helped develop a research plan for Puget Sound killer whales.

Conservation biology is a mixture of scientific disciplines - primarily ecology, population biology, and genetics - with the goal of improving our understanding of how to conserve biology diversity. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA-Fisheries) is a federal conservation agency charged with conserving and managing marine organisms. Under mandate from several key laws (Marine Mammal Protection Act, Endangered Species Act, Magnuson-Stevens Act), NMFS is charged with developing scientifically sound strategies for managing fisheries and recovering protected species. Drawing from salmon recovery planning and the Southern Resident killer whale ESA status reviews, I will illustrate how we have used scientific information to inform conservation decision making. Specific examples include: making taxonomic decisions about what species warrant protection, developing recovery goals, predicting the effects of proposed conservation actions, developing a research plan for Puget Sound killer whales, and starting to develop an ecosystem based approach to management of Puget Sound.

16 November 2005 - Scott Veirs, Beam Reach marine science and sustainability school

Orcas and acoustics on a Beam Reach ... October

Scott Veirs is an environmental scientist and teacher who recently initiated a marine science and sustainability school called Beam Reach (http://beamreach.org). The first undergraduate program offered by Beam Reach occurred this fall and focused on orcas and acoustics. He is excited to share some preliminary results and observations from five weeks of recent boat-based field work (Sep 26-Oct 28). Scott has a PhD in oceanography from the UW (2003) where he studied deep sea volcanoes off the WA coast. He is currently collaborating with his father, Val Veirs, on a series of papers about acoustics in the habitat of the Southern Resident orcas.

Come hear recordings, yarns, and results from acoustic research accomplished by the first 6 students of Beam Reach, a new marine science and sustainability school. Highlights from five weeks of boat-based orca observations this fall will be juxtaposed with long-term measurements of ambient noise in Haro Strait.

19 October 2005 - Uko Gorter re: paper by Keiko Sekiguchi et al.:

The Spectacled Porpoise P. dioptrica in Antarctic Waters ... Abstract

Natural History Illustrator, Uko Gorter was asked to work on illustrations as part of a research paper on the spectacled porpoise P. dioptrica in Antarctic waters. In this yet to be published paper, lead author Keiko Sekiguchi, summarizes 28 new sightings of this elusive cetacean, mainly form the IWC-IDCR/SOWER cruises. It shows the southernmost sighting of this species and highlights features of the external morphology never described before. With help of 73 photos by Keiko Sekiguchi, and Paula Olson, as well as video by Laura Morse, Uko was put to task to depict these features. You will not only see some amazing photos and unique video, but also the resulting artwork. Uko will give a brief overview of the biology of all six porpoise species, and a natural history of the spectacled porpoise.

Uko Gorter is a natural history illustrator specializing in marine mammals. He has illustrated a number of field guides on marine mammals, whale watch brochures, interpretive signs, and magazines such as Ranger Rick. Uko has an insatiable curiosity about the subjects he draws. "Researching what you are illustrating is immensely rewarding and plain fun," says Uko. Please visit Uko's web site www.ukogorter.com for more information about him and his work.

June 2005 Speaker

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