Science

The marine ecosystem is among the most threatened environments on the planet and it is coming under increasing attack from increasing human pressures. The majority of marine organisms are understudied and many are unknown to science and the information available to derive management strategies for the oceans is greatly insufficient to understand the impacts of such increasing pressures, some of them global in nature (i.e., global climate change, overfishing, contaminant pollution, plastics, etc…).

One of the founding principles of Pacific Whale Foundation is to contribute to the understanding of marine life. This goal would not be achievable without a significant investment in our research programs with a commitment to disseminating results and recommendations to as wide an audience as possible.

Research efforts are focused primarily in Hawaii, Australia and Ecuador at this time. However, Pacific Whale Foundation also significantly contributed to studies in other parts of the world as resources were available. While the focus of our research is marine mammals, other aspects of marine life are also studied, and, in the near future, we will strive to incorporate more habitat-based studies to understand the interconnectedness of the species we seek to protect.

In order for our research program to be effective, we constantly refocus our efforts to dedicate the appropriate amount of energy to contemporary issues and to management-based research. Pacific Whale Foundation uses a two-pronged approach to science using a combination of long-term and short-term projects.

Short-term studies are based on specific questions, which address contemporary research issues and contribute to the peer-reviewed body of knowledge that is disseminated primarily via scientific journals, reports and meetings attended by the scientific community and management agencies.  The findings from these projects contribute to resource management and provide state-of-the-art educational opportunities for students.

Long-term projects generally involve collection of specific data over long periods of time (generally many years). These projects are instrumental in providing the background information that forms the back-bone of short-term efforts and are also necessary to monitor trends.  However, these types of studies produce scientific results at a much lower rate.

Virtually all projects undertaken by the Research Department at Pacific Whale Foundation have some management or conservation implications, although some aspects of traditional scientific inquiry are also pursued depending on the expertise and interest of the scientists that make up our research team from time to time.

Go to Current Studies to read a brief description of the status of research projects currently been undertaken by the Foundation research team