Top researcher gives free lecture on orca genetics

  • Wed Sep 6th, 2017 7:00am
  • Life

Submitted by The Whale Museum

Learn about South resident killer whale genetics at a free lecture at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 14 at The Whale Museum.

Dr. Lance Barrett-Lennard, head of the Cetacean Research Program at the Vancouver Aquarium, will discuss genetic comparisons of orca populations in the North East Pacific. This presentation is part of the museum’s Summer Lecture Series.

Barrett-Lennard’s research shows that at least nine genetically discrete overlapping populations of killer whales inhabit the northeastern Pacific Ocean. It also shows that resident killer whales avoid inbreeding through an elaborate clan-based mating system. His findings are the reason the Southern resident killer whales are listed as an endangered population through the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. More recently, he co-chaired a panel that produced a comprehensive recovery strategy for resident killer whales.

Barrett-Lennard has performed studies on behavioral and population biology of killer whales in British Columbia, Washington, Alaska since 1984, as well as species in Norway, Spain and the sub-Antarctic. He uses DNA analysis to better understand population divisions, dispersal patterns and mating systems. In addition to killer whales, Lance is involved in research on baleen whales, dolphins, sea otters, and belugas.

The Summer Lecture Series are given by local or visiting experts in their field, who share their recent research projects, stories and experiences. Each lecture is free and held at The Whale Museum. Donations are appreciated.

For more information, call 360-378-4710 ext.30 or visit