Conference on the biology of marine mammals "Read entire blog"

Aloha kakou! I just returned from the 19th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals held in Tampa, Florida from Nov 27th to Dec 2; 2000 attendees, 332 oral presentations, 12 speed talks, and 600 posters. This international conference is held every two years and gathers marine mammal scientists and students from around the world. The goal of this conference is to enhance collaboration, share ideas, and improve the quality of research on marine mammals. It was a great week spent with amazing and inspiring people from around the globe. Subjects presented and discussed covered population genetics, new technology, conservation, habitat and distribution, abundance and monitoring, cumulative effects, fisheries interaction, behavior, anatomy and morphology, among others. More than 900 presentations and hard to attend all of them, so I tried to focus on presentations related to Hawaiian Islands, False Killer whales, Humpback whales, and ship strikes. Of course other topics also caught my attention such as the eastern population of North Pacific right whales, which was recently estimated at about 30 individuals! One of the World's most critically endangered mammalian populations; the great collaboration between U.S. and Mexico, they are working on the monitoring of the endangered species Vaquita, key for a successful recovery; the truth and sad story about the history of Soviet illegal whaling that lasted for 3 decades and damaged whale populations worldwide; and the interesting discovery of bowhead whales songs sung by females in Disko Bay, west Greenland. I had a great time presenting my poster on the 'Presence and Distribution of Hawaiian false killer whales in Maui County waters: an historical perspective'. I had a lot of positive feedback, especially from NOAA researchers, working on false killer whales fishery interaction and assessment of critical habitat, and also from researchers working on this population. After all the positive responses I realized how important this work is for the conservation of this endangered species, every little piece of information is very important for the future of the Insular Hawaiian false killer whale population. Much mahalo to PWF and Greg Kaufman for the support, to Dr. Daniela Maldini and Rob Rankin, and to PWF Naturalists for the effort of logging cetacean sightings in Maui County waters, the work would not be possible without the long-term data. Aloha,

Image: