- Mission & Vision
- Our Core Values
- PWF in The Media
- Board of Directors
- Social Media Outreach
- Join our Mailing List
- Contact Us
- Research History
- Our Research Team
- Research Internships
- Current Studies
- Australia Research
- Abundance, Survival, Recruitment, and Realized Growth Rates of East Australia Humpback Whales
- Calving Rates and Intervals of East Australian Female Humpback Whales
- Connectivity and Interchange Between Humpback Whale Aggregation Areas along East Australia
- Match My Whale - a Humpback Whale Fluke Identification Project
- PWF’s Southern Hemisphere Humpback Whale Catalog
- Rate of Interchange Between East Australia and West Australia Humpback Whales
- Ecuador Research
- Hawaii Research
- Distribution and Accumulation of Marine Debris: Implications for Cetaceans
- Great Whale Count
- Hawaiian Humpback Whale Catalog
- Odontocete Distribution, Abundance, and Life Histories.
- Social Structure of False Killer Whales in Maui Four-Island Region
- Surprise Encounters with Humpback Whales
- Whale and Dolphin Tracker
- Other Projects
- Australia Research
- Donate to Help Fund our Research
- Donate Your Whale or Dolphin Photos
- Migaloo the White Humpback Whale
- You Can Help
- Become a Member / Renew Membership
- Donate Now
- Donation Specials
- Other Ways You Can Donate
- Adopt a Whale, Dolphin, Turtle or False Killer Whale
- Whale Regatta
- Maui Whale Festival Events
- Sponsor Run & Walk for the Whales
- Sponsor World Whale Day
- Made on Maui Fair Vendor Application
- Book an Eco-Cruise
- Choose PWF
- Ocean Store
Social Structure of False Killer Whales in Maui Four-Island Region
Social Structure of False Killer Whales (Pseudorca crassidens) in Maui Four-Island Region
False killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens) – Endangered (insular population)
Motivation and Goals:
There are two populations of false killer whales in Hawaiian waters: an offshore population and an insular (island-associated) population. Both populations have experienced a decline due to multiple threats including fisheries interactions, ingestion of marine debris, and exposure to anthropogenic noise pollution. Due in large part to these threats, the insular population has recently been listed under the Endangered Species Act.
The social ecology and behavior of false killer whales is poorly understood. This research project is focused on using photo-identification to increase our knowledge, allowing us to better manage and conserve this species.
The survey methodology for this project closely follows that for the research project titled “Odontocete distribution, abundance, and life-histories”.
Using line transect surveys, we search for pods of false killer whales. Once a pod has been sighted, we leave the transect line to gather detailed behavioral observations of the pod for a length of time up to 60 minutes. During this time we also take identification photos of the dorsal fins and sides of the animals.
These photos allow us to build a photo-identification catalog for false killer whales to estimate the number of individuals and examine how those animals move at large and small scales within their habitat.
Results to Date:
Our photo-identification catalog currently contains over 80 individuals dating back to 1996.
The catalog is also used to maintain a history of sightings for all of our false killer whales available for adoption.
The research department will continue this study through 2018 and continue to build upon the existing photo-identification catalog.
Most Recent Publication:
2013: Silva, I.F., Kaufman, G.D., Rankin, R.W., and Maldini, D. Presence and Distribution of Hawaiian False Killer Whales (Pseudorca crassidens) in Maui County Waters: an Historical Perspective. Aquatic Mammals, 39(4): 409-414.