Videos and photos from

Ways of Whales Workshop

January 28th, 2012

Ways of Whales, presented a lineup of fascinating speakers on a variety of topics important to whale education and conservation. Thanks to Dick Snowberger for taping the talks, and to Jill Hein for takng photos of Ways of Whale 2012.

Vern Olsen leads the audience of 240 in the chorus of "Come Home Lolita!"

Orca Network's annual Ways of Whales Workshop was held on January 28th, 2012 at Camp Casey, a quarter mile west of the Keystone ferry terminal in Coupeville, with a lineup of fascinating speakers on a variety of topics important to whale education and conservation.

This year's workshop includes presentations by (click on links for videos of each presentation):

Candice Emmons, NOAA Fisheries NWFSC - Suction cup tag research on Southern Resident orcas
(Note: This presentation wasn't taped, so this is a video of the powerpoint presentation)
Candice Emmons Q&A

Several risk factors were identified as part of the ESA listing process for Southern Resident killer whales (SRKWs), and were included in the recovery plan. In particular, a need to accurately measure sound levels received by the whales was first identified at the SRKW research planning workshop in 2004. Specifically, it was noted that a recently developed instrument called the DTAG could provide this type of data and that there is no other approach to accurately characterize received sound levels. The DTAG was developed by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution specifically to monitor the behavior of marine mammals, and their response to sound, continuously throughout the dive cycle. In the last two summers scientists from NOAA s Northwest Fisheries Science Center, Cascadia Research Collective and UC Davis have deployed these DTAGs on SRKW, and the preliminary results of these deployments will be presented.
Marine Mammal & Seabird Ecology
Killer Whales (Orca)

Jessica Lundin, Center for Conservation Biology, Univ. of Washington - Orca scat project, detecting stress hormones in Southern Resident orcas
Jessica Lundin Q&A

Southern resident killer whales, and other cetacean populations, are highly vulnerable to anthropogenic impacts. As with other marine mammal populations, they spend the majority of their time under water making them difficult to study. Fecal sampling is a powerful non-invasive method for gathering critical population data. From a single fecal sample, researchers can analyze host and prey DNA, hormones, pathogens, and toxicants. Specially trained scat detection dogs (Conservation Canines) are helping researchers find fecal samples, while minimizing disturbance to the whales. To date, the analysis of fecal samples has helped to distinguish between inadequate prey and vessel impacts; current work is characterizing the contamination level in this population and assessing associated disruption of the en docrine system.
Causes of Decline among Southern Resident Killer Whales
Conservation Canines
Dog Trained As Ultimate Whale Pooper Snooper

Matt Krogh and Lindsay Taylor, North Sound Baykeeper Team - Impacts and implications of the planned Gateway Pacific coal shipping Terminal at Cherry Point

Learn about the proposal to build North America’s largest coal export facility, the Gateway Pacific Terminal, in the North Puget Sound. If built, this terminal would mean more than 1,000 transits of gigantic Cape and Panamax bulk carrier ships through our Straits and the Salish Sea every year. These waters are home to a wide variety of unique and endangered marine wildlife species, including orcas, salmon, and the Cherry Point herring that spawn in the Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve - all of which will be put at risk.
ReSources for Sustainable Communities
Power Past Coal

William Wilcock, School of Oceanography, University of Washington - Fin Whale Seismology
William Wilcock Q&A

This talk will describe ongoing efforts to deploy long-term seafloor seismic networks off the coast of the Pacific Northwest and the realization that these networks provide an excellent tool to study the larger baleen whales.
Seismologists Record Whale Songs While Listening for Underwater Earthquakes
Earthquake Sensors Track Rare Whales
UW School of Oceanography

Howard Garrett, Orca Network - Shifting trends in orca captivity
Once feared and often shot on sight, orcas suddenly became hot property 45 years ago when entrepreneurs discovered the public would pay big bucks to see the massive, graceful whales do tricks in stadiums. A specific set of circumstances at the time, and huge revenues at the gate, propelled the trendy fun to a multi-billion dollar international industry with an invincible PR juggernaut and plenty of friends in government. But from the very beginning the performing whales tended to die at tragic rates, and a small segment of the public learned long ago that captivity kills orcas. But only when captive orcas killed humans did the backstory of severe stresses in captivity begin to be told to the general public, with the result that revenues at display facilities are dropping fast.
Orca Network Captivity Section
Video: Death at SeaWorld
The Orca Project
Voice of the Orcas

Environmental education displays and materials were available throughout the day as well.

For more info, go to, or contact Orca Network at or 360-678-3451.