We are a 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.
Much of our work is made possible through collaborations with governments, grants from private organizations, and partnerships with universities.
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.
Finwave is an online photo-identification database we have developed with Friedrich-Alexander-Universität (FAU) which streamlines the processes associated with dorsal fin identification, including data submission, population cataloguing, individual identification, registration, and data exporting. It is openly available for use by population data managers and data contributors and is currently in use for Bigg’s killer whales with support from Eagle Wing Tours, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, North Island Marine Mammal Stewardship Association and Ocean Wise.
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.
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.
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.
How does the social structure of different populations of geographically separated and culturally distinct killer whales differ and why? Using data from both hemispheres we look at adaptive behaviours among different sex and age classes of orcas to understand how they drive selection.
To keep track of killer whales off northeastern Vancouver Island we have developed a live acoustic network of hydrophones with support from so many partners, volunteers and donors. This system alerts us to the presence of killer whales and aids in the collection of field data year-round.
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.
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.
The data we collect during field studies on different killer whale population in the northern and southern hemispheres lend themselves to a variety of analyses to better understand their evolution, language and behaviours. Stay glued to our social media feeds for more details as they become available.
Your support enables conservation and understanding of cetaceans and can be directed towards projects of your choice.
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