Maui News

Maui Whale Researchers to Talk at International Conference

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Photo credit: Pacific Whale Foundation.

Pacific Whale Foundation researchers are preparing to present their work at this yearʻs World Marine Mammal Conference in Barcelona.

Pacific Whale Foundation Chief Scientist Jens Currie, Chief Biologist Stephanie Stack, and Ecuador Research Director Cristina Castro were all selected to present their research from thousands of submissions.

The week-long conference will begin on Saturday, bringing together leaders in the field from every continent. About 2,500 participants from more than 60 countries are expected to attend.


“Our goal is to bring together scientists, managers, policymakers, educators and students from across the globe to discuss the world’s most exciting science and most pressing conservation issues,” event organizers said in a press release.

“The World Marine Mammal Conference offers an unparalleled opportunity to engage in interdisciplinary and intercultural dialogue in order to foster international collaborations that will impact our understanding of marine mammal science and conservation.”

Stack will be presenting Evaluating Anthropogenic Activities on Humpback Whales Using Behavioral Changes as a Measure of Impact: Two Case Studies, in which both vessel and swimmer interactions with humpback whales and their possible impacts are studied.


Currie will be presenting A Comparison of Three Analytical Techniques for Population Monitoring of Island-Associated Odontocetes, a 6-year study evaluating the relative effectiveness of three abundance estimation techniques: mark-recapture, line-transect distance sampling, and density surface modeling for monitoring odontocetes in Maui Nui, Hawai‘i.

Castro will be presenting Friendly Whales? Unusual Behavior of Humpback Whales That Are Possibly Accustomed to Tourism, examining the rapidly emerging trend of ‘friendly humpback whales’ in Ecuador that intentionally make contact with vessels and passengers, which sounds charming but can lead to an increased potential for vessel strikes.

For more information on the Pacific Whale Foundationʻs research in Hawaiʻi, Australia, Ecuador, and Chile, click here.

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