Presentation Abstract

Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKWs) or orcas, Orcinus orca, are resident year round in the Salish Sea, the inland waterways of Washington State and Southern British Columbia. The Whale Museum (TWM) has been collecting opportunistic sightings reports on SRKWs since 1976 with a goal of providing managers and regulatory agencies with reliable spatial data on SRKWs. Information in this database comes from five identified killer whale sighting sources and is systematically evaluated for accuracy before integration into the data set. To date, TWM sighting database has documented a total of 83,428 SRKW sightings in the Salish Sea. Sightings are concentrated in a few key hot spots with an overall pattern of consistent presence in the Central Salish Sea during the summer months and an increasing presence in Puget Sound Proper during the fall and early winter months. A notable shift in SRKW presence in Puget Sound in the late nineties was possibly driven by increased foraging on fall chum salmon after a group of L pod whales became trapped in Dyes Inlet in 1997. The Whale Museum’s dataset highlights the importance of long-term monitoring and shows how opportunistic datasets can be valuable tools for illuminating long-term spatial and temporal patterns.

Session Title

Cumulative Effects on Southern Resident Killer Whales (Orcinus orca)

Keywords

Orcas, SRKWs, Killer Whale sightings

Conference Track

SSE9: Transboundary Management and Policy

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (Seattle, WA : 2018)

Document Type

Event

SSEC Identifier

SSE9-25

Start Date

4-4-2018 1:45 PM

End Date

4-4-2018 2:00 PM

Type of Presentation

Oral

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Geographic Coverage

Salish Sea (B.C. and Wash.)

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type

text

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

Share

COinS
 
Apr 4th, 1:45 PM Apr 4th, 2:00 PM

Sightings of Southern Resident killer whales in the Salish Sea 1976-2014

Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKWs) or orcas, Orcinus orca, are resident year round in the Salish Sea, the inland waterways of Washington State and Southern British Columbia. The Whale Museum (TWM) has been collecting opportunistic sightings reports on SRKWs since 1976 with a goal of providing managers and regulatory agencies with reliable spatial data on SRKWs. Information in this database comes from five identified killer whale sighting sources and is systematically evaluated for accuracy before integration into the data set. To date, TWM sighting database has documented a total of 83,428 SRKW sightings in the Salish Sea. Sightings are concentrated in a few key hot spots with an overall pattern of consistent presence in the Central Salish Sea during the summer months and an increasing presence in Puget Sound Proper during the fall and early winter months. A notable shift in SRKW presence in Puget Sound in the late nineties was possibly driven by increased foraging on fall chum salmon after a group of L pod whales became trapped in Dyes Inlet in 1997. The Whale Museum’s dataset highlights the importance of long-term monitoring and shows how opportunistic datasets can be valuable tools for illuminating long-term spatial and temporal patterns.