Talk on study of orcas’ nighttime acoustics, behavior

  • Tue Sep 4th, 2018 11:29am
  • Life

Submitted by The Whale Museum

Sheila J. Thornton, a research scientist with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and Marla Holt, a research wildlife biologist with NOAA, will co-present “Using DTAGs to study nighttime acoustics and behavior of resident killer whales through transboundary research efforts.” DTAGs stands for digital acoustic recording tags.

This lecture will be held at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 5, at the museum as part of The Whale Museum’s summer lecture series.

Hear Thornton and Holt present how researchers from both the United States and Canada will investigate patterns of foraging and behavioral activity states over a 24 hour (diel) cycle in Northern and Southern resident killer whales. Digital acoustic recording tags are temporarily affixed to a whale using suction cups. These tags contain hydrophones to record sound, and movement sensors to characterize subsurface behavior. Comparisons of activity budgets between Northern and Southern residents will reveal the energetic challenges that face each population, and allow for more focused mitigation of impacts. Data on night behavior of the Southern residents will be used to inform science advice for commercial vessel traffic noise mitigation strategies. These data will also allow scientists to better understand the interplay of prey availability and vessel/sound risk factors.

The summer lecture series is dedicated to providing the local community and visiting public with knowledge and wonder of the natural world. The lectures are given by local or visiting experts in their field. Join the museum as they share their recent research projects, stories, and experiences. Each lecture is free and held at The Whale Museum. Donations are greatly appreciated. For more information, call 360-378-4710 ext. 30. The Whale Museum is located in Friday Harbor at 62 First St. N. Founded in 1976, The Whale Museum’s mission is to promote stewardship of whales through education and research. The Whale Museum can be found online at