Select Page

In Conversation with Joe Gaydos

Saturday, October 29, 2016, at 2 p.m.
Orcas Island Community Church.

Southern Resident Killer Whales spends most of the summer months in the waters of the San Juan and Gulf Islands, foraging for Chinook salmon returning to the Fraser River in British Columbia. But until recently little was known about their travels during most of the year — from fall through spring — as these whales had been spotted only infrequently during this time. Hanson’s group at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center is using GPS tracking systems embedded in selected whales’ dorsal fins to fill this gap in the scientific understanding of their behavior. Early results indicate that the whales travel great distances, migrating south along the Pacific Coast in winter and spending substantial time feeding near the mouth of the Columbia River. This kind of information should prove important in revising the geographical extent of the critical habitat for this endangered species.

After earning his Ph.D. from the University of Washington, Hanson worked at the National Marine Mammal Laboratory in Seattle. Now serving as Wildlife Biologist at NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center, he leads the Marine Mammal & Seabird Ecology team studying the foraging and habitat use of Southern Resident Killer Whales as well as assessing the health of Dall’s and Harbor Porpoises.

This Orcas Currents lecture was cosponsored by the SeaDoc Society.