Marine Mammal Commission

2011 Grant Awards

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Projects Funded by the Marine Mammal Commission in Fiscal Year 2011

Topic A: Research/Projects

Ecological and socioeconomic aspects of small cetacean and artisanal fisheries interactions in Southeast Asia

Ballance, L. and T. Whitty

Scripps, University of California San Diego

The overall goals of the project were to develop a rapid means of assessing bycatch in artisanal fisheries while collecting needed data on relevant social, economic, and cultural aspects of artisanal fishing communities, and contribute to our understanding of the ecology and conservation of four populations of Irrawaddy dolphins in Southeast Asia.

Please contact the Commission for further information on this project.

Ecology, status, fisheries interactions, and conservation of coastal Indo-Pacific humpback and bottlenose dolphins on the west coast of Madagascar

Cerchio, S.

Wildlife Conservation Society

Coastal dolphins in western Madagascar are threatened by both direct hunting and by-catch in artisanal fisheries. This project investigated the current and potential extent of these interactions through basic research on dolphin behavior, ecology, and population structure of two species, Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins (Sousa chinensis) and Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus), as well as on-the-ground interviews with local fishermen throughout the region.

Final report.

Prospects for breeding poorly-known species of small cetaceans in captivity

Curry, B.

Barbara Curry

Prospects for breeding poorly-known species of small cetaceans in captivity are evaluated.

Final report.

Cooperative research between U.S. and Mexican agencies to develop an effective vaquita-safe shrimp trawl for use in the upper Gulf of California, Mexico

Gearhart, J.

National Marine Fisheries Service, Southeast Fisheries Science Center’s Mississippi Laboratory’s Harvesting Systems Unit

Cooperative research between U.S. and Mexican agencies to develop an effective vaquita-safe shrimp trawl for use in the upper Gulf of California. The technical report from testing at traditional fishing grounds in the Upper Gulf of California under typical environmental conditions of the local commercial fishing season, and comparing its performance to that of the “RS-INP” prototype is available.

Responding to oil spills in Arctic environments: A National Academy of Sciences Review

Roberts, S.

National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences

U.S. Arctic waters north of the Bering Strait and west of the Canadian border encompass a vast area that is sparsely inhabited with a wide variety of ecosystems found nowhere else, this region is vulnerable to damage from human activities. As oil and gas, shipping, and tourism activities increase, the possibilities of an oil spill also increase. How can we best prepare to respond to such an event in this challenging environment?

Final report.

Cooperative research between U.S. and Mexican agencies to develop an effective vaquita-safe shrimp trawl for use in the upper Gulf of California, Mexico

Servin de la Mora, L. E.

World Wildlife Fund – Mexico

Cooperative research between U.S. and Mexican agencies to develop an effective vaquita-safe shrimp trawl for use in the upper Gulf of California. The technical report from testing at traditional fishing grounds in the Upper Gulf of California under typical environmental conditions of the local commercial fishing season, and comparing its performance to that of the “RS-INP” prototype is available.

Using the Amazonian manatee as a “flagship species” for the conservation of the Lower Rio Negro Region, Brazilian Amazon

Tofoli, C.

Instituto de Pesquisas Ecológicas (Institute for Ecological Research), Brazil

Project objectives were to: integrate scientific information about the manatee with the traditional knowledge of the local communities; design a non-invasive population estimation method using side-scan sonar; identify and monitor habitats and landscape used by the Amazonian manatee; verify threats to the species; develop environmental awareness and outreach programs with local communities.

Final report.

Assessment of ringed seal population status and bycatch in commercial fisheries in Lake Ladoga, Northwest Russia

Trukhanova, I.

Biologists for Nature Conservation, Russia

Trukhanova, I.S., E. Gurarie, and R.A. Sagitov. 2013. “Distribution of Hauled-Out Ladoga Ringed Seals (Pusa hispida ladogensis) in Spring 2012.” ARCTIC 66 (4).

The final report is also available from the Commission upon request.

Anthropogenic and physiological data reconstructed from whale earwax plugs

Usenko, S. , Trumble, S.

Baylor University

Robinson, E. M., S. J. Trumble, B. Subedi, R. Sanders, and S. Usenko. 2013. Selective Pressurized Liquid Extraction of Pesticides, Polychlorinated Biphenyls and Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers in a Whale Earplug (earwax): A Novel Method for Analyzing Organic Contaminants in Lipid-Rich Matrices. Journal of Chromatography. A 1319 (December): 14–20.

Trumble, S. J., E.M. Robinson, M. Berman-Kowalewski, C.W. Potter, and S. Usenko. 2013. Blue Whale Earplug Reveals Lifetime Contaminant Exposure and Hormone Profiles. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, August 2013. Project summary.

Topic B: Conferences, Symposia, Workshops, Meetings, and Publications

Third International Conference on Acoustic Communication by Animals

Au, W.

Acoustical Society of America

Support for the Third International conference on acoustic communication by animals. The emphasis of this conference is the integration of information across animal taxa, and enabling exchanges between young investigators and more established investigators in the field. Also to consider acoustic communication, its mechanisms, and the detection of acoustic signals, particularly in noisy backgrounds.

Conference website.

Publication of Right Whale News

Hain, J.

Associated Scientists at Woods Hole

Right Whale News is an independent newsletter providing timely information; a forum to express viewpoints and encourage discussion; and a bulletin board of book reviews, publications, people, and events. It is published in February, May, August, and November; and may on occasion include additional special issues.

Fourth International Science Symposium on Bio-logging

Hindell, M. and K. Evans

University of Tasmania, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies

Support for student participation in the 4th International Science Symposium on Bio-logging. The symposiums aims were to: Advance the use of bio-logging technology to understand the behavior, physiology and ecology of animals and their place in the environment, including the effects of climate change. As well as Promote diversity, quality, originality and cross-disciplinary partnerships in the development of observation systems that integrate biological, ecological, physiological and physical data.

Symposium website.

Second International Conference on Marine Mammal Protected Areas (ICMMPA 2)-
Endangered spaces: Endangered species

Mattila, D.

National Marine Sanctuary Foundation

Support for the Second International Conference on Marine Mammal Protected Areas, held from November 7-11, 2011.

Conference proceedings.

Development of a booklet on marine mammal guidelines for the Bering Strait region, Alaska

Sheffield, G.

University of Alaska Fairbanks

This booklet project seeks to address the public’s most frequently asked questions and provide a common cohesive and public information source for all marine mammal users in the Bering Strait region. The booklet will compile accurate, reliable, and current information on the requirements, current status, and regulatory framework for all peoples that utilize marine mammals throughout the Bering Strait region.

A marine animal necropsy training and stranding response workshop in India

Srinivasan, M. and R. Sridhar

Madras Veterinary College, Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, India

Support for on-going efforts to develop a marine mammal stranding response network in India and support for a workshop, at Madras Veterinary College in Chennai, India in late 2011. Workshop goals included establishing stranding response networks, teaching participants to safely respond to strandings, and developing a standardized approach for collecting, archiving, and sharing data across regional areas.

The final report is available from the Commission upon request.

Third Annual Meeting of the Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences

Wallace, R.

Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences

Support for graduate students attending the 3rd AESS conference presenting work focused on conservation, health or stability of marine ecosystems, or conservation of marine mammals.

19th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals, Tampa, Florida, 2011

Wells. R.

Society for Marine Mammalogy

Support for student travel to the 19th Biennial Conference on Marine Mammals.

U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System and the Integrated Ocean Observation Committee

Young, J.

Consortium for Ocean Leadership

Workshop on attaining an operational marine biodiversity observing network.

Workshop report.

Symposium on Population Consequences of Acoustic Disturbance to Marine Mammals

Zimmermann, L.

Consortium for Ocean Leadership

Held in October 2011 the symposium reflected an interactive, synthetic process over the past three years that has engaged 30 experts from 20 institutions worldwide. Participants discussed translation of the National Research Council’s 2005 conceptual model on population-level consequences of sound into formal, species-specific, and ultimately transferable mathematical structures.

Copies of presentations are available.