Cetacean Society to meet Nov. 10 in Newport

Lisa Hildebrand will be the guest speaker at the next meeting of the Oregon chapter of the American Cetacean Society, set for 10 a.m. on Saturday, Nov.10, at the Newport Public Library, 35 NW Nye St.

Hildebrand’s topic will be “A Small Piece of a Large Puzzle: Investigating the fine-scale foraging ecology of gray whales in Port Orford, OR.” The event is free and open to the public.   

Gray whales along the West Coast of the United States follow a well-documented migration every year. They breed and nurse their calves in the lagoons of Baja, Mexico, between December and April or May, before they head north to their feeding grounds in Alaska and the arctic. Once there, whales spend the summer months feeding on zooplankton to regain crucial body mass that they have lost while on the breeding grounds. Toward the end of the summer, the population will start its migration back south, restarting the annual cycle.

However, a small subset of this large population strays from the norm and does not continue all the way to Alaska. Instead, they make the waters off the coasts of northern California, Oregon, Washington and southern British Columbia their feeding grounds for the summer. Who are these individuals and why exactly do they do this? Come hear about the work that a team of Oregon State University researchers undertakes every year in Port Orford to help answer some of these fundamental questions about gray whales.

Hildebrand graduated from Newcastle University in the U.K. with degree in marine zoology. Her undergraduate dissertation investigated the abundance, group composition and behavior of a population of offshore bottlenose dolphins around Catalina Island off the coast of California. She has undertaken research on a handful of marine mammal species including bottlenose dolphins, harbor seals, humpback whales, blue whales and now gray whales. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in wildlife science at Oregon State University. In the future, she hopes to continue researching the foraging ecology of whales and potentially investigate the effect climate change may have on interspecific interactions and prey availability.

For more information, contact Joy Primrose, ACS Oregon chapter president, at [email protected] or 541-517-8754.

The American Cetacean Society protects whales, dolphins, porpoises and their habitats. The nonprofit organization was founded in 1967 and is headquartered in San Pedro, Calif. Information on the ACS can be found online at www.acsonline.org. Information is also available on Facebook at American Cetacean Society-Oregon Chapter.


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