Bio@Noon – Dr. Daniel Palacios – Here, There, and Everywhere

Dr. Daniel Palacios, January 27, 2021

Here, There, and Everywhere: Tracking Humpback Whale Movements and Habitat Use off the US West Coast

Abstract: Through the use of satellite telemetry, photo-identification, and biopsy sampling, we have been investigating the occurrence, distribution, and movements of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) off the US West Coast. The work started in 2004, but has received more dedicated effort since 2016, thanks to funding from the Navy. The data have the potential to fill important gaps in information about migratory routes and timing, as animals depart and arrive at the feeding areas. I will present our results on whale use of US West Coast waters, including Biologically Important Areas (BIAs) and National Marine Sanctuaries (NMSs). I will also present our results on population structure and assignment to various Distinct Population Segments (DPSs) based on genetic information and photo-identification. Finally, I will present the results of our analyses of ecological relationships and how they can inform current efforts to designate Critical Habitat.

Bio: Dr. Daniel Palacios is an Associate Professor with the Oregon State University Marine Mammal Institute, based at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, Oregon. He has been there since 2013 and since 2020 he leads the Whale Habitat, Ecology, and Telemetry Lab. Dr. Palacios hails originally from Colombia, and his background is in oceanography. His research addresses questions dealing with the large-scale (“seascape”) ecology of top marine predators in relation to ocean processes, including interactions with the environment, with other species, and with human activities.