We are a small team of marine biologists and research technicians based out of Alert Bay ("Home of the Killer Whale" and unceded traditional territory of the 'Namgis First Nation), British Columbia, Canada.
We enable conservation and understanding of cetacean populations that are data deficient or threatened by climate change and human development by using various methodologies to conduct field studies, analyze data, and communicate findings.
Much of our work is made possible through collaborations with governments, grants from private organizations, and partnerships with universities.
Join us on Crowdcast for a bi-weekly online seminar series where we will discuss impactful recently published scientific research on cetaceans with those conducting it around the world.
Cetacean Sessions is informal, educational, interactive and geared towards those working with or interested in cetaceans.
To support field efforts and meet other demands for up to date demographic information about the northern resident killer whale (NRKW) population, we have developed an NRKW ID App in collaboration with Fisheries and Oceans Canada. It is now freely available to download from the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.
Friedrich Alexander University (FAU) in collaboration with Bay Cetology is developing algorithms for automating image recognition and digital classification of individual killer whales. We are excited to see how this technology can streamline our workflow and with support from Ocean Wise and DFO, aim to utilize it for an open access database.
How will cetacean populations adapt to a quickly changing environment? We explored this issue on a global level with colleagues at Leiden University College in a recent publication. It is also a topic we will continue to address on a local level where cetacean populations are forced to adapt as their environments change.
Through widespread collection and sharing of photo-ID data our team builds and maintains population datasets and databases. We currently manage WCT Bigg’s killer whale photo-ID data in collaboration with Fisheries and Oceans Canada as well as Chilean Type A, Type D and South Georgian Type B killer whale photo-ID data in collaboration with Deakin University and other partners.
On a recent research expedition off Chile, killer whale specialists from several organizations including Bay Cetology obtained genetic evidence that will help us understand how Type D orcas evolved. Will Type D be classified as its own species? Further details forthcoming...
In order to understand an animal whose main sense is hearing, we must listen. Orca Research and Conservation Australia and other organizations including Bay Cetology are investigating the vocal repertoires of Antarctic killer whale ecotypes recorded on our various research expeditions to the frozen continent.
As field researchers, we are all too aware of the impacts we have on the cetaceans we study. They are typically minor but can become acute and chronic with invasive technologies and increased efforts. This is a topic that is not widely addressed, but one we intend to keep at the forefronts of our work.
Our team documented and published details on the first known case of infanticide in killer whales. Since then, further insights on adaptive social behaviours have come to light by documenting evidence of interactions between different sex and age classes. Stay tuned for how they drive selection in this species!
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