Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Science Conference

The 2017 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Science Conference will be held February 6-9, 2017, at Hyatt Regency New Orleans, 601 Loyola Ave., New Orleans, LA 70113, USA,  504 561 1234.

A conference notice explains:

“The 2017 conference theme, ‘Ecosystem Approaches to Gulf Response and Restoration,’ encourages researchers to consider the application of their results to practical use.  Looking across a broad range of disciplines, what have we learned about oil spills and their impacts that can reduce uncertainty, mitigate ecological, social and health impacts of a future spill, advance response strategies, and improve how we approach restoration? Using scientific research will be critical to informing planning, preparedness, response and recovery for future events, and connecting this to decision makers in the response and restoration communities will be key.

IWC Scientific Committee Meets

The Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission met from June 7, 2016 through June 20, 2016 at Bled, Slovenia.  The Committee’s website includes the following description of this meeting:

“Proceedings will begin with two pre-meetings.  The first will discuss ship noise, including sound measurement and acoustic mapping, and techniques for understanding the impact of noise on whales.  The second will review proposals for a new whale sanctuary in the South Atlantic.

The Scientific Committee begins formally on 7 June with a plenary session.  Fifteen sub-groups will then form and run simultaneously, covering a wide variety of subjects, which range from ecosystem modelling and whalewatching to stock definition and aboriginal whaling management.  Some groups also cover specific regions, species or groups, including small cetaceans.

NMFS Responds to Comments on 2015 Revised SARs

As required by the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service has considered and responded to public comments on revisions of the 2015 marine mammal stock assessment reports for each stock of marine mammals occurring in waters under the jurisdiction of the United States. These reports contain information regarding the distribution and abundance of the stock, population growth rates and trends, the stock’s Potential Biological Removal level, estimates of annual human-caused mortality and serious injury from all sources, descriptions of the fisheries with which the stock interacts, and the status of the stock. Initial reports were completed in 1995.

Killer Whale Evolution

NOAA/NMFS have published the following article about recent studies of Killer whale evolution:

“Killer whale behavior and social structure evolved through the expansion of a small number of pioneering groups into new environments, reports a genetics-based study published this week in Nature Communications. The study seeks to unravel the population history of killer whales based on the newly sequenced genomes of 50 individuals.

Killer whales (Orcinus orca) — the largest species in the dolphin family — are highly social animals spanning a wide range of habitats, from Antarctic to Arctic regions. In several locations, killer whales have evolved into specialized groups known as ecotypes based on diet and hunting strategies adapted to exploit narrow ecological niches.

National Ocean Month

June 2016 is National Ocean Month. The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has a website that discusses several aspects of the oceans, in celebration of this month. Click here for NOAA’s National Ocean Month website.

Click here to read more.