From October 22-27, the Whales Online team will be covering the 22nd Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals organized in Halifax by the Society for Marine Mammalogy. Conferences, poster and video presentations, debates and workshops will help raise questions and open the door to new avenues for research. A total of 1,600 participants from 100 different countries will be in attendance. A remarkable biodiversity!

This year’s theme is “2017: A Marine Mammal Odyssey, Eh!” and the program pays particular tribute to conservation work for the long-term survival of species.

Whales Online will take you to Halifax, Nova Scotia, for a long journey around the globe and fascinating research in marine biology. Every day, you’ll be able to check out the team’s highlights and experience the conference as if you were actually there.

In the meantime, here is a selection of must-see presentations according to members of the GREMM team.

Exploring the underexplored, by Asha de Vos, Monday at 9:10 a.m.

Asha de Vos is a marine biologist from Sri Lanka who has a particular interest in blue whales. In this presentation, she will discuss the relatively recent observation of blue whales in South Asia and the challenges of co-existence between shipping traffic and this giant.

Fin whales on the decrease in the Gulf of St. Lawrence: A mark-recapture study from 1990 to 2016, by Anna Schleimer, Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.

Researchers have tested a new statistical model to better understand the tangent of a regional population, that of the fin whales of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. And the results suggest a downward trend in their rates of survival and abundance.

Conservation Highlight Series – Life on the edge: Status and conservation concerns for the North Atlantic right whale, by Mark Baumgartner, Scott Kraus, Amy Knowlton, Peter Corkeron and Tonya Wimmer, Wednesday at 12:40 p.m.

This four-part conversation comes at an opportune time subsequent to the unprecedented mortality of North Atlantic right whales this summer. What are the next conservation actions to be undertaken and, most importantly, what avenues of collaboration should be explored?

Mapping global threats to marine mammals, by Isabel Cristina Avila, Wednesday at 4:45 p.m.

Ambitious project: creating a map of all the threats faced by 121 species of marine mammals from 1,700 references to threats made between 1991 and 2016. With such cross-referenced data, certain threats take on a new dimension.

Fins & Faces: Using photo-identification data to engage girls in science, by Amy Whitt, Thursday at 3:30 p.m.

In the US, encouraging 12-to-18 year-old girls to pursue careers in science is a challenge. During a summer camp, researchers introduced young girls to photo-identification techniques used for right whales and bottlenose dolphins.

Multiple natural replicates provide evidence of signature contact calls in wild belugas (Delphinapterus leucas) in an Arctic estuary, by Valeria Vergara, Thursday at 3:30 p.m.

After studying contact calls in captive belugas, researcher Valeria Vergara identified contact calls in the belugas of Cunningham Inlet Bay in northern Canada.

Freshwater cetaceans in the 21st century: Will they survive and if so, how? By Randall Reeves, Friday at 3:30 p.m.

Winner of the Norris Award, Randall Reeves will discuss the highly threatened future of those cetaceans that live exclusively in freshwater environments. The threats are of human origin and solutions will most certainly require the involvement of local communities.


Follow the conference on Twitter and Facebook with the hashtag: #SMM2017

News - 19/10/2017

Marie-Ève Muller

Marie-Ève Muller is responsible for GREMM's communications and spokeperson for the Quebec Marine Mammal Emergencies Response Network (QMMERN). As Editor-in-Chief for Whales Online, she devours research and has an insatiable thirst for the stories of scientists and observers. Drawing from her background in literature and journalism, Marie-Ève strives to put the fragile reality of cetaceans into words and images.

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