Mallory Palatucci, Project Technician/volunteer, will present this class since Aileen Jeffries, Principal Investigator, will be out of the country.
This talk will describe the natural history of harbor porpoises, their place in the Salish Sea and our research and findings. The discussion will include how our instruments work and it will give some information about the high frequencies at which the porpoise echolocates. And we will describe some of the experience of working closely with the rescued porpoises at Vancouver Aquarium.
While most of our work with the Harbor Porpoise Project focuses on acoustic recordings and land-based observation data to learn about the movement, distribution and population of harbor porpoises, I want to emphasize that we are not just dealing with numbers.
These are curious, playful creatures with personality. I am grateful to the Vancouver Aquarium for letting me spend time at their facility recording the echolocations of their two rescued harbor porpoises. During this time, I found these porpoises would tease and play with me. After such an experience one could never go back to impersonally cataloging their characteristics.
Our analysis comparing land-based observations and acoustic monitoring at Burrows Pass has continued for four years. The seasonal cycle of higher presence in the winter than the summer is robust and comparable in the two sets of data. Since these sets of data are completely independent, this is strong confirmation of the validity of our work.
In the last two years we have expanded our monitoring to Canada. There has been considerable interest in our findings and we will continue monitoring. In addition we will continue to look for habitat actively used for calving.