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


2006-2007 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.

Sept 2007 Speaker

20 June 2007 - Amanda Bradford from the University of Washington

Natural History and Conservation Status of Western Gray Whales ... Abstract

Two geographically and genetically distinct populations of gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus) occur in the North Pacific, referred to as the eastern and western populations. Subjected to intensive commercial whaling during portions of the 19th and 20th centuries, the western population was proposed to be extinct during the 1970's. This population presently numbers on the order of 100 individuals and is considered one of the world's most endangered populations of large whales. Whereas eastern gray whales are one of the better-studied baleen whale populations, western gray whales have only recently come under concerted study. Initiated in 1997, an ongoing collaborative Russia-U.S. study of western gray whales takes place on their primary summer feeding ground, located off the northeastern coast of Sakhalin Island, Russia, in the nearshore waters proximate to Piltun Lagoon. Using historical records and recent findings from the Piltun study, this talk with explore the natural history and conservation status of the critically endangered western gray whale population.

Amanda Bradford has been involved in marine mammal research since 1997, when she cruised the murky waters of Galveston Bay as a marine biology undergraduate at Texas A&M at Galveston. Her work has taken her around the world, but most often to the northeastern coast of Sakhalin Island, Russia, where she has spent the last nine years studying the critically endangered western gray whale population. Amanda's research focuses on the population dynamics of western gray whales, and she is particularly interested in understanding the causes and consequences of the dynamics resulting from the small size of the population. Related to this work, she received an M.S. degree in 2003 from the University of Washington (UW) and returned to the UW in 2004, where she is presently pursuing a Ph.D.

16 May 2007 - Captain Paul Watson, Founder and President of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, Co-Founder of Greenpeace, and former Director of the Sierra Club, will talk about Sea Shepherd's recent campaign to Antarctica and their worldwide efforts to oppose illegal whaling.

... Abstract

For 30 years, Captain Paul Watson has been at the helm of the world's most active marine protection non-profit organization - Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. Paul Watson's career as a Master Mariner began in 1968 as a seaman with the merchant marines and with the Canadian Coast Guard. Watson majored in communications and linguistics at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia. He has lectured extensively at universities and events around the world. He has authored six books including; Ocean Warrior (1994); and Seal Wars (2002).

In 1972, Watson co-founded the Greenpeace Foundation (GP) in Vancouver, BC. From 1971-77, Watson served as First Officer on all GP voyages, and on a campaign against Russian whalers he implemented his idea of putting activists in a zodiac between the harpoon and the whale. From 1976-77, he led all of the GP expeditions to protect harp seals on the ice floes of eastern Canada. In 1977, Watson left GP because he felt the original goals of the organization were being compromised, and because he saw a specific, global need to continue direct-action, conservation activities on the high seas. That same year, Watson founded Sea Shepherd Conservation Society - dedicated to research, investigation, and the enforcement of laws, treaties, resolutions, and regulations established to protect marine wildlife and their habitats worldwide.

21 March 2007 - Peter Westley

Pacific Salmon Life Histories in Brief: What you Need to Know ... Abstract

A ‘native’ of Alaska, Peter Westley grew up with a love of fishing and fish and usually had a fly rod in hand.  This passion for all things fish led him to pursue a degree in Aquatic and Fishery Sciences from the University of Washington.  After graduating with a BS he immediately began graduate studies at the same school.  Peter is currently a third year Master’s candidate working with UW faculty Ray Hilborn, Thomas Quinn, and Daniel Schindler on issues of biocomplexity, fisheries management, climate change, and salmon life history in southwest, Alaska.  He hopes to defend his thesis titled Biocomplexity and Rapid Habitat Evolution in the ChignikLake, system, Alaska, this spring.  For more information about his research or to contact Peter visit http://students.washington.edu/resolute/

Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.) have captivated the collective conscious of the Pacific Northwest from time immemorial.  Few organisms have such high value (economic, subsistence and cultural, scientific, recreational, etc…) or are the subject of such emotional debate.  Many populations of salmon, particularly Chinook salmon (O. tshawytscha), coho salmon (O. kisutch), and bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus) have declined in direct response to anthropogenic activities (e.g. habitat destruction, hatchery fish interactions, over-fishing).  These declines in Pacific salmon have consequences that reverberate throughout the Pacific Northwest ecosystem, from stream algae to Killer Whales to commercial fishermen.  While many people are familiar with the decline of Pacific salmon in our area, few have stepped back a bit to think about the organisms themselves.  In this talk I aim to introduce you to the general life history of Pacific salmon in our area.  First I discuss the three key themes in salmon biology that are fundamental for understanding why they do what they do.  Next, I walk through the life histories of Pacific salmon, with lots of colorful photographs along the way.  The goal of this talk is to instill among you the degree of variation and complexity both within and among species and highlight the interplay between life history and long term sustainability of populations.

21 February 2007 - Uko Gorter presents...

Antarctic Killer Whales - Based on research by Robert L. Pitman and Paul Ensor. ... Abstract

An interesting evolutionary parallel is taking place between the killer whale communities in the Northeastern Pacific and those of Antarctica. Most of us are probably familiar with the three ecotypes that inhabit our waters. A mammal-eating form, known as “transients”, a fish-eating form, called “residents”, and an offshore form of which we know very little.

In Antarctic too, we can now identify three different killer whale communities that are similarly substructured by dietary specialization. However, these killer whales, simply labeled A, B, and C types, appear to more divergent from one another and morphologically more distinct.

We'll take a close look at these southern ice-loving cousins of our well-known J, K, and L pods, through beautiful slides and a breathtaking video.

Uko Gorter is a natural history illustrator. With the help of Robert L. Pitman, whose research and publication is highlighted in this presentation, Uko has been able to create an accurate illustration of these forms. The illustration will accompany an upcoming article by R. L. Pitman on Antarctic killer whales in the journal “Nature”.

Uko will also give a brief overview of upcoming illustration projects dealing with other cetaceans.


Pitman, L. Robert and Paul Ensor. Three forms of killer whales (Orcinus orca) in Antarctic Waters, IWC, Journal of Cetacean Research Management, 5(2): 131-139, 2003

17 January 2007 - Michael Rylko, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Puget Sound Georgia Basin Ecosystem Indicators From Monitoring to Ecosystem Change Assessment Through Storytelling and Illustrating Connections ... Abstract

Michael is the National Estuary Program Coordinator for Puget Sound in EPA's Office of Ecosystems, Tribal and Public Affairs. He was the U.S co-chair of the 2006 PSGB Transboundary Indicators project and was EPA' s lead in the development of the first 2002 report. Michael has contributed to numerous watershed protection and restoration efforts across both large and small geographical areas and has a depth of experience with a wide range of land-use issues and the resulting effects on aquatic ecosystems. Over the last 18 years, Michael has assisted many communities in northwest coastal basins with designing and developing localized watershed protection and restoration plans. Typically, these watershed approaches includes the use of indicators in the development of integrated assessment, monitoring, and plan implementation strategies. Michael has Bachelors degrees from the University of California Santa Barbara in Aquatic Ecology and Environmental Science and a Masters degree from the University of Washington's School of Marine Affairs.

The 2006 Puget Sound Georgia Basin Ecosystem Indicators Report is composed of nine environmental indicators specific to this ecosystem: Population Health, Urbanization and Forest Change, Solid Waste and Recycling, River, Stream and Lake Quality, Shellfish, Air Quality, Marine Species at Risk, Toxics in Harbor Seals and Marine Water Quality.

This 2006 Indicators Report builds on a report produced in 2002 by EPA, Environment Canada, Canada Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Georgia Basin Action Plan, Puget Sound Action Team, Washington State Department of Ecology, Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, and many other local governments and NGOs.

The entire 2006 report is online, and each indicator is structured around essential questions like "What is Happening?" “How Does This Affect Me?” and "What Can I Do?"  The online version also contains many links and references that help navigate priority work on both sides of the border.

The Role of Ecosystem Indicators:

  • Transboundary indicators are an essential tool to protect this ecosystem
    • Necessity for focusing protection and restoration efforts, awareness of human/ecosystem connections, raise awareness of trends that need broad and determined attention, and to inspire coordinated action
  • This report is unique
    • Created in partnership with many local and international stakeholders, written in a very accessible style and Web-based format
  • The indicators tell stories about the health of the ecosystem at both the basin and localized scales
    • Rating: Worse Red (worsening conditions): Urbanization and Forest Change; Marine Water Quality; Toxics in Harbor Seals; Marine Species at Risk; and River, Stream and Lake Quality
    • Rating: insufficient Yellow (insufficient progress): Air Quality, Shellfish, Population Health
    • Rating:improving Green (improving conditions): No Conditions are improving
  • The report offers key recommendations for responding to these findings
    • Well-planned growth, stormwater pollution reduction, low impact development and green building practices, alternative transportation, reduced toxic use and supporting local watershed protection efforts.

see: http://www.epa.gov/region10/psgb/indicators/

The Puget Sound Georgia Basin Ecosystem Indicators project developed a guidance document for all environmental work undertaken by government agencies, non-profits and community groups. This document is in MS Word format : Communications Framework

15 November 2006 - Dr. James Ha

Social Behavior of Resident Inshore Killer Whales in the Pacific Northwest: Natural and Human Influences.... Abstract

The southern resident inshore population of killer whales in the waters of Washington and British Columbia has recently undergone a 20% decline in numbers, followed by a more recent return to typical population size. This fluctuation has triggered a number of efforts to learn more about the human and natural influences on the behavior and population dynamics of this population. Our studies have focused on the influence of whale-watching vessel traffic and changes in natural prey (salmon) abundance on social behavior across both a long-term and short-term time frame. We have results from an analysis of a 25 year database of killer whale affiliation patterns as well as the results from four seasons of detailed behavioral data from a project in which human observers track the animals for 6-12 hours per day.

Dr. James Ha has a 1989 Ph.D. in Zoology/Animal Behavior from Colorado State University and has been on the faculty of the University of Washington since 1992. He is actively involved in research on the social behavior of Old World monkeys, Pacific Northwest killer whales, local and Pacific island crows, and domestic dogs. He is also certified as an Applied Animal Behaviorist by the professional Animal Behavior Society and has his own private practice in dealing with companion animal behavior problems in the Puget Sound area.

18 October 2006 - Donna Sandstrom

The Orphan Orca Fund: Working Together to Save Springer ... October

In January 2002, an orphaned orca calf showed up in the urban waters of Puget Sound. In July 2002, she was successfully relocated to her pod in British Columbia. Today, four years later, she is thriving in the company of her family. The Springer project is the only successful orca rehabilitation project in history. The Orphan Orca Fund was part of this project - seven non-profits who formed a single fund-raising entity. In this talk we will recap the project and the role of the Orphan Orca Fund - lessons we learned that might help other groups and agencies as we face the next generation of issues confronting the whales and their environment.

Donna Sandstrom is the founder of Orca Alliance. For the last fifteen years, she has been an organizer, educator and advocate for orcas in the Seattle area. Working with other groups and individuals, she has organized and produced events ranging from school programs to symposiums, lectures to festivals on the waterfront. These have included OrcaFest 95 and Lolita: Closing the Circle. She attended UC Santa Cruz, is currently a manager of quality engineering for a leading software company, and lives in West Seattle.

June 2006 Speaker

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