Archived projects

The following projects are no longer active, and have not been updated for for several years. Many of these links will take you pages on the old version of our website, where some links and navigation are likely to be broken.

Marine Mammal Studies at SCORE

Collaborative studies of marine mammals in and around the US Navy’s Southern California Offshore Range, with an emphasis on beaked and fin whale photo-ID and satellite tagging. New paper on Cuvier’s beaked whale diving (26 March 2014)

Marine mammal surveys and CalCOFI

Since July 2004, Cascadia Research has conducted visual surveys for marine mammals in quarterly marine mammal surveys with Scripps Institution of Oceanography on the California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigation cruises. The CalCOFI cruises were begun in 1949 to monitor the ecological aspects of the sardine population collapse, and since then have continued to study the marine environment off of California. In addition to the valuable oceanography data, the cruises provide an excellent platform for collecting visual and acoustic marine mammal observations in relation to the chemical and physical properties of the California Current System. In the spring of 2004 Melissa Soldevilla, a graduate student of Scripps, began using the CalCOFI vessels as a platform to monitor and record acoustic data of marine mammals encountered along the cruise track using a towed hydrophone. Cascadia observers joined the effort to provide species identification and group size estimates that could be paired with the acoustic data. See map and additional information. See new publication on cetacean distribution and seasonal abundance off S California (26 June 2014).

SPLASH – Structure of Populations, Levels of Abundance, and Status of Humpbacks

This international collaborative research effort to study humpback whales in the North Pacific began in 2004. Objectives include determining: 1) abundance of humpback whales for each feeding and wintering area in North Pacific, 2)  trends in population size, 3) the identity and boundaries of feeding areas, especially in previously unstudied areas, 4) population structure and migratory movements, 5) human impacts including entanglement.

Studies of bat behavior in the Pacific Northwest

Using traditional mist-netting and newer  acoustic sampling methods bat life history strategies, roosting and foraging behavior are being examined. A paper on winter feeding activity in western Washington has been published and surveys across Washington statewide are being performed during the summer of 2007 for the US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. See also publication of habitat use of bats.

Trends in contaminants in Puget Sound harbor seals

Collaborative project with Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and Canada’s Institute of Ocean Science to examine trends in contaminants in harbor seals from Puget Sound. Cascadia personnel have monitored trends in contaminants in harbor seals since the mid-1970s. Funded previously by Puget Sound Action Team and U.S. EPA and currently under a NOAA Prescott Marine Mammal Stranding Grant. See New publication on contaminant trends in Puget Sound harbor seals.

Diving behavior, foraging ecology, and movements of killer whales

This is a collaborative effort with the Northwest Fisheries Science Center, using suction-cup attached time-depth recorders, sampling of prey remains, and genetic analyses of fecal samples, to examine the foraging ecology of killer whales, as well as satellite tagging to examine movements and habitat use of mammal-eating killer whales.

Distribution and abundance of marine mammals in the Olympic Coast Sanctuary

Participate in ship surveys and conduct marine mammal photo-identification surveys off the northern Washington and southern British Columbia coast. Conducted for Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, NOAA. PDF of publications in Fisheries Bulletin on past surveys.

Diving behavior of sperm whales in Alaska

Examine the movements and diving behavior of sperm whales in SE Alaska using suction-cup attached acoustic recording tags and satellite tags as part of the Southeast Alaska Sperm Whale Avoidance Project (SEASWAP) in collaboration with Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of Alaska Southeast, Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association, Alaska SeaLife Center, NMFS Auke Bay Laboratory, and Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Funded by North Pacific Research Board and National Geographic Society. Information on the SEASWAP project

Humpback whale research in Central America

Cascadia has been conducting on-going studies of humpback whales off Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and other areas of Central America as a wintering area for both Northern and Southern Hemisphere populations using photographic identification and acoustical monitoring. The work off Costa Rica has been conducted in collaboration with Oceanic Society and using Elderhostel (now Road’s Scholar) volunteers.

Large whale surveys off Washington and Oregon

This three-year study began in late 2010 and is being conducted in collaboration with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) and is supported by a NOAA program to allow states to gather information on threatened and endangered species. The research will include line-transect surveys three times a year, photographic identification, and satellite tagging of different listed large whales including humpback, blue, fin, and sperm whales off Washington and Oregon. It will also examine human threats including ship strikes, entanglement, and other fishery interactions. See report on recent sightings of blue whales off Washington during these surveys.

Surveys for whales off British Columbia

In collaboration with Department of Fisheries and Oceans conduct surveys with a large vessel for marine mammals off central British Columbia. Includes photo-ID of blue, fin, humpback, gray, sperm, and killer whales conducted with Cascadia RHIB. Supported by private sources and Canada Department of Fisheries and Oceans. See findings on recent sightings of blue whales from 2007 trip. Publication in Marine Mammal Science on blue whale sightings and shifts in distribution.

Underwater behavior of whales with suction-cup attached tags

Deploy several types of suction-cup attached acoustic tags to monitor the dive and vocal behavior of blue and humpback whales. Supported by National Geographic, Office of Naval Research, N45 and Scripps Institution of Oceanography. See PDF of recent article on Crittercam deployments

Visual and acoustic detection of marine mammals off central Washington

Conduct monthly small boat surveys off the Washington Coast to detect and acoustically record marine mammals year-round in the waters around two autonomous bottom-mounted acoustic recording packages deployed by Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Funded by US Navy initially through the National Marine Mammal Laboratory and then Scripps. Link to PDF of Progress Report on this work. Report on visual and acoustic surveys off Washington released, March 2009

Population structure and habitat use of fin whales along the west coast

The goals of this study are to better define the stock structure and habitat use of fin whales along the US West Coast and adjacent regions through photo-identification, genetics, and satellite telemetry. Not a stand-alone project, this study incorporates data collection and compilation from a variety of new and historical projects supported by the US Navy, the NMFS/NOAA Southwest region and Southwest Fisheries Science Center, and NMFS/NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Center.

Humpback whale use of Central America as a wintering ground

On-going study of humpback whale use of Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and other areas of Central America as a wintering area for both Northern and Southern Hemisphere populations using photographic identification and acoustical monitoring. Supported by Oceanic Society, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and Marsila Foundation . See report from 2008 season.