Marine Mammal Commission

2013 Grant Awards

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Projects Funded by the Marine Mammal Commission in Fiscal Year 2013

Topic A: Research/Projects

“Whale Alert” App on Android Platform and Shipping Industry Stewardship

Brown, M.

New England Aquarium

Launch Whale Alert on the Android platform, in addition to the one now available on the Apple platform, to benefit right whale conservation by providing the shipping industry and other mariners with greater access to the management initiatives and regulations designed and implemented to reduce the risk of vessel strikes on right whales along the east coast of Canada and the United States. Broader and efficient access to the information should improve vessel operator awareness and compliance with vessel strike mitigation measures and reduce the risk of shipping companies being fined for non compliant transits in regulated management areas.

The final report is available from the Commission upon request.

Monitoring monk seals at the island of Evia: discovery of a new important seal colony in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea

Karamanlidis, A.

Hellenic Society for the Study and Protection of the Monk Seal

Promote the conservation of the critically endangered Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus) in Greece through the intensive monitoring of a newly discovered seal colony at the island of Evia. Collect information on habitat availability and suitability, general biology of the species, and demographic parameters of the local monk seal population. Data will be used to propose concrete conservation and management actions to the Hellenic government for the protection of the species in the area.

Establishment of the “Hellenic Monk Seal Register”

Karamanlidis, A.

Hellenic Society for the Study and Protection of the Monk Seal

Advance the understanding of the biology of the critically endangered Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus) and promote its effective conservation in Greece through the study of its genome. Assess of the current genetic status of the largest monk seal population in the eastern Mediterranean Sea and create a genetic Register of individual monk seals in Greece.

African Manatee Genetics Research

Keith-Diagne, L.

Sea to Shore Alliance

Conduct African manatee population genetics analyses and define the geographic structure of those populations, both within specific waterways and countries, as well as in the larger range-wide context. Establish the evolutionary relationship of the African manatee to the other extant trichechid species through phylogenetic analyses.

Hoike A Maka: Hawaiian monk seal crittercam project

Read, A.

Duke University

Support efforts to shift the negative perceptions of people about Hawaiian monk seals in the Main Hawaiian Islands and improve positive perception of coexistence with monk seals in the region. See link to publication.

Coordinating Population Monitoring of the Vaquita

Rojas-Bracho, L.

Oceanides Conservacion y Desarrollo Marino, A.C.

Review of a vaquita passive acoustic monitoring scheme sampling array and plan any adjustments needed to ensure that the array is providing the best possible information on the status of the population. Field work to test new mooring alternatives for acoustic detectors designed to sample year-round, and implement the array for the third sampling year.

Developing a market strategy for vaquita-safe seafood

Sanjurjo, E.

World Wildlife Fund Inc.

Create a stable supply of seafood captured with vaquita-safe fishing gear, maintain the momentum built to-date with participating fishermen and chefs in Northern Baja California, and expand the project to Southern California. Increase awareness of and support for vaquita-safe seafood in the Upper Gulf of California.

A rapid assessment of cetacean diversity and occupancy along the southeast coast of India – Informing an Environmental Impact Assessment of a Coal Power Plant and its captive port

Sutaria, D.

Sutaria, D.

Rapid vessel-based surveys to estimate cetacean occurrence and diversity relative to environmental factors off the northern Tamil Nadu coast, on the southeast coast of India. Build the capacity of local researchers for a long-term monitoring study in the region, in conjunction with a fisheries bycatch study.

The final report is available from the Commission upon request.

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

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.

20th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals, Dunedin, New Zealand, 2013

Harvey, J.

Society for Marine Mammalogy

Support for student travel – specifically international student travel – to the Society for Marine Mammalogy’s 20th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals, to be convened in Dunedin, New Zealand from December 9 through December 13, 2013.

Dr. Daniel Goodman Memorial Symposium. “Decision Making Under Uncertainty: Risk Assessment and the Best Available Science”

Himes-Boor, G

Montana State University

Support for the Dr. Daniel Goodman Memorial Symposium, an educational and networking opportunities for scientists, managers, and students. The symposium will produce a digital recording of the meeting for online dissemination and teaching purposes, as well as a published volume with contributions from each of the main speakers.

Symposium website.

To promote the conservation of large whales of the Northern Indian Ocean focusing on the Arabian Sea population of humpback whales as a priority and flagship species

Nawaz, R.

Worldwide Fund for Nature – Pakistan

Support for workshop to improve knowledge of humpback whales in the Arabian Sea and promote the conservation of this endangered population.

Workshop report.

44th Annual Conference of the International Association for Aquatic Animal Medicine, “Aquatic Animal Health in a Changing World”

Romano, T.

International Association for Aquatic Animal Medicine

Support for international aquatic animal health experts and managers to attend the 44th IAAAM conference focusing on emerging global issues and trends in marine animal health, especially anthropogenic impacts. Support provided for international participants to attend post-conference training at The Marine Mammal Center, as well as the development and production of training materials for all attendees.