Seminar on Orca Monitoring

January 21, 2021 - 3:30 PM
HMSC Seminar Series

Orcas off the Oregon coast.\Photo by Greg Ligi.

On Thursday, Jan. 21, at 3:30 p.m., the Hatfield Marine Science Center heads for the deep with a talk on how scientists monitor the health of orcas off our shores. John Durban, of the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at Oregon State University and Senior Scientist with the North Gulf Oceanic Society, will give a presentation on “Survival of the fattest: integrating photogrammetry measures of health into population assessments for killer whales.”

 Dr. Durban’s description of his talk:

“Killer whales are apex predators, and their health can therefore indicate dynamics in ecosystems that support them. Their population status is typically assessed using photographic identification of naturally-marked individuals in either complete censuses or mark-recapture estimates. However, killer whales are long-lived, and their populations are slow-growing; the resultant small numbers of annual births or deaths necessitate long time series to detect significant population trends.”

Durban will describe two case studies to demonstrate how drone-derived photogrammetry measures of body condition can enhance statistical power to detect and interpret population changes. Drawing on his long-term, collaborative studies of endangered Southern Resident killer whales off Washington State and killer whales in Antarctica, he will describe how photogrammetry measures can be predictive of future mortality risk and therefore provide an early warning of impending population effects. The resultant data are being used to support enhanced recovery measures for Southern Resident killer whales and understand the ecosystem effects of rapid environmental changes around the Antarctic Peninsula. 

For the live broadcast of this seminar, go here.

Password: 972587 or call +1-971-247-1195 US Meeting ID: 945 5573 1151