Presentation Abstract

Harbor porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) are one of the most common cetaceans in the Salish Sea. However little is known about this species’ regional and fine-scale habitat use patterns. Photo-identification (photo-ID) is a key tool that has long been used with other cetacean species in the Salish Sea (e.g. Orcinus orca) to understand ecological parameters including site fidelity, habitat use, ranging patterns, and group dynamics. This technique had not previously been applied to Salish Sea harbor porpoise research until 2014 when Pacific Mammal Research (PacMam) initiated a long-term photo-ID study of harbor porpoises off Fidalgo Island, WA. This demonstrated the viability of photo-ID for harbor porpoises within a geographically limited scale. However, to fully understand the larger-scale ranging patterns of the harbor porpoise in the larger Salish Sea region, collaborations between researchers are required. PacMam has partnered with the Porpoise Conservation Society (PCS) to integrate photo-ID into an existing PCS habitat use research program in British Columbia, Canada. The objectives of the collaborative research program are to: 1) expand PacMam’s photo-ID protocol to a second study site in the Salish Sea; 2) test the protocol for applicability between sites; 3) develop a regional protocol for use throughout the global distribution of harbor porpoise; and 4) integrate sightings and photographic data into a regional platform for use throughout the Salish Sea. The results will provide greater insight into the daily lives of individuals and their regional movements thereby providing ecological insight for this complex and difficult to study species at varying spatiotemporal scales. This is vital for harbor porpoise conservation, particularly in the Salish Sea where anthropogenic effects are concentrated. Our partnership will provide valuable information on Salish Sea harbor porpoises, a regional protocol for use by others around the world, and a database open to contributions from around the Salish Sea.

Session Title

Posters: Transboundary Management & Policy

Keywords

Phocoena phocoena, Harbor porpoise, Transboundary

Conference Track

SSE18: Posters

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (Seattle, WA : 2018)

Document Type

Event

SSEC Identifier

SSE18-122

Start Date

5-4-2018 11:30 AM

End Date

5-4-2018 1:30 PM

Type of Presentation

Poster

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

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Apr 5th, 11:30 AM Apr 5th, 1:30 PM

Developing a regional protocol for photo-ID of harbor porpoise, Phocoena phocoena, in the Salish Sea through transboundary collaboration

Harbor porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) are one of the most common cetaceans in the Salish Sea. However little is known about this species’ regional and fine-scale habitat use patterns. Photo-identification (photo-ID) is a key tool that has long been used with other cetacean species in the Salish Sea (e.g. Orcinus orca) to understand ecological parameters including site fidelity, habitat use, ranging patterns, and group dynamics. This technique had not previously been applied to Salish Sea harbor porpoise research until 2014 when Pacific Mammal Research (PacMam) initiated a long-term photo-ID study of harbor porpoises off Fidalgo Island, WA. This demonstrated the viability of photo-ID for harbor porpoises within a geographically limited scale. However, to fully understand the larger-scale ranging patterns of the harbor porpoise in the larger Salish Sea region, collaborations between researchers are required. PacMam has partnered with the Porpoise Conservation Society (PCS) to integrate photo-ID into an existing PCS habitat use research program in British Columbia, Canada. The objectives of the collaborative research program are to: 1) expand PacMam’s photo-ID protocol to a second study site in the Salish Sea; 2) test the protocol for applicability between sites; 3) develop a regional protocol for use throughout the global distribution of harbor porpoise; and 4) integrate sightings and photographic data into a regional platform for use throughout the Salish Sea. The results will provide greater insight into the daily lives of individuals and their regional movements thereby providing ecological insight for this complex and difficult to study species at varying spatiotemporal scales. This is vital for harbor porpoise conservation, particularly in the Salish Sea where anthropogenic effects are concentrated. Our partnership will provide valuable information on Salish Sea harbor porpoises, a regional protocol for use by others around the world, and a database open to contributions from around the Salish Sea.