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Spring 2015 Naturalist Training Program

Love whales? Want an interesting and fun volunteer opportunity?

Become a SF Bay ACS Chapter Naturalist!

naturalist logo

The Class is now filled. Wait List sign ups available.

This will be a 6 week course 6:30-9:30 pm.  Wednesdays: 3/18, 3/25, 4/1, 4/8, 4/15, 4/22. Location: Saylor’s Restaurant, upstairs Cabo Wabo Room, 2009 Bridgeway, Sausalito, CA. For more details see our Naturalist Program page under Education.

For further information and to enroll please contact: Lynette Koftinow:  acs.sfbay@gmail.com

SEA TURTLES: Ancient, Gentle Creatures of the Sea! Are Sea Turtles the Oldest Living Vertebrates – March 31, 2015 at Bay Model

When:  March 31, 2015 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Where:  Bay Model Visitor Center    2100 Bridgeway,  Sausalito, CA 94965

Cost: $5 Donation goes toward Student Research Grants

Todd Steiner

SEA TURTLES: Ancient, Gentle Creatures of the Sea! Are Sea Turtles the Oldest Living Vertebrates?  Largest Reptile on Earth? Have the Longest Migration?  Are Found Off the Bay Area coast?

todd2Learn about the fascinating life of sea turtles and how these species have swam into some of the biggest environmental issues facing the survival of our planet in the past 25 years.  Turtle Island Restoration Network, headquartered in Marin, has been at the forefront of the fight to protect these species and our oceans.  Todd Steiner, the founder and executive director of Turtle Island will delight with you with facts about these amazing creatures and tell you how you too can become a Sea Turtle Hero! Continue reading

Learn how your smart device can make you a Savvy Citizen Science Steward & Whales off the Golden Gate – April 28th at Saylor’s Restaurant

When: April 28th @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Where:  Saylor’s Restaurant and Bar, Upstairs Cabo Wabo room

2009 Bridgeway, Sausalito, CA 94965

Cost:  $5 Donation goes toward Student Research Grants

Michael Carver:  “Come learn how your smart device can make you a Savvy Citizen Science Steward”

jamieCome learn about two new smart phone applications and how sightings that you contribute is being used to protect endangered whales. In tonight’s talk you will learn how you can help! We will show you how to download the new apps, share your sightings, see the data, and becoming part of the solution to whale ship strikes. With the new app, you have access to identification tips and the ability to contribute sightings of whales to our collaborative national database.  NOAA armed with the most current and up-to-date information is able to work with the USCG and maritime industry so that ship speed can be reduced when large aggregations of whales are in the area. Whale Alert an unprecedented collaboration of government, private sector and non-profit advocates  combines science and computer technology to provide mariners with the best possible tool for reporting sightings of whales and receiving whale management and conservation information, thereby providing whales with the best chance of survival. The app enables mariners and concerned citizens on both coaststo help agencies take more immediate, additional actions to protect whales. Whales in U.S. waters and worldwide face growing threats including deadly ship strikes. NOAA uses this citizen science data to compliment traditional rigorous seasonal surveys. The value of the app is that it extends that geography and time that observation data are collected. Whale Alert can be downloaded free to your iPad or iPhone, or other smartphone device. Working in coordination with the Coast Guard and the maritime industry, NOAA is able to request ships slow down in those locations where whales are present in significant numbers. Come learn how to use the app so you can contribute sightings to this National network of observations to reach the shared goal of furthering protection for endangered whales.

Jaime Jahncke Ph.D:  “Whales off the Golden Gate

Humpback and blue whale hotspots in Cordell Bank and Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuaries. The rich ocean environment off the San Francisco Bay region supplies abundant food for whales, porpoises, and other wildlife that migrate here from across the Pacific. These same waters are the site of major shipping lanes, with increasing traffic over recent years resulting in multiple whale strikes.

Point Blue Conservation Science is collaborating with NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuaries to identify humpback and blue whale hotspots and provide recommendations to better protect whales off California and the US West Coast. To learn more our research on the Sanctuaries visit the Applied California Current Studies (ACCESS) website.

In addition, Point Blue and partners developed and implemented  Whale Alert – West Coast to use science, innovative technology, and collaborative community effort to decrease ship strikes to whales.  A key component of this effort is the use of downloadable apps, Whale Alert 2.0 and Spotter Pro, by nature lovers, fishers, and mariners.  With these user-friendly applications, it is possible for just about anyone to report whale sightings.

Data collected through these apps by citizens and professionals helps NOAA fill in the information gap needed to request the U.S. Coast Guard’s Vessel Traffic Service to ask ship operators to slow down or change course as they approach areas where whales are present. Continue reading

Can the Vaquita be Saved? May 26, 2015 at Bay Model Visitor Center

When: May 26 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Where:  Bay Model Visitor Center  2100 Bridgeway, Sausalito, CA 94965

Cost:  $5 Donation goes toward Student Research Grants

Can the Vaquita be Saved?

Thomas R. Kieckhefer, M.Sc.

SaveTheVaquita_m The vaquita (Phocoena sinus) of Mexico’s Gulf of California is the most endangered cetacean in the world. This tiny porpoise is in immediate danger of extinction, due to gillnet mortality. In 1978 the IUCN redlisted the vaquita as Vulnerable, in 1990 as Endangered, and in 1996 as Critically Endangered. What has taken so long to save them? One of the big problems is that very few people know what a vaquita is and even fewer are aware of its plight. This beautiful and unique porpoise, often referred to as the “Panda of the Sea,” must be saved. This talk will discuss the trials and tribulations of trying to study and photograph these shy porpoise over the years, and go over past/current research and conservation efforts designed to save this species from extinction. Continue reading

Estimating Energy Sequestration and Outflow by the Harbor Porpoise, Phocoena phocoena – June 30th at Saylor’s

When: June 30th @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Where:  Saylor’s Restaurant and Bar, Upstairs Cabo Wabo room, 2009 Bridgeway, Sausalito, CA 94965

Cost:  $5 Donation goes toward Student Research Grants

Cara Gallagher:  “Estimating Energy Sequestration and Outflow by the Harbor Porpoise, Phocoena phocoena”

cara harbor porpoiseHarbor porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) were known to frequent San Francisco Bay (SF Bay) historically, but WWII activities in the 1940s caused them to retreat to coastal waters outside of the Golden Gate. Harbor porpoises remained absent from SF Bay for over 65 years, until 2008, when they began their return. They are currently visiting SF Bay on a daily basis and in increasing numbers. Golden Gate Cetacean Research has monitored the reintroduction of harbor porpoises into SF Bay and, using photo identification, the population has been estimated at around 650 individuals. Since these porpoises are still spending the majority of their lives outside of the Bay, and are more likely to defecate and expire in coastal waters, the majority of the energy obtained within SF Bay is transported to coastal waters. Cara is investigating the potential amount of energy removed by these porpoises from SF Bay waters and transferred to the coast on a daily basis. As returning predators in SF Bay, it is important to place porpoises back into the context of the SF Bay food web. This will provide information on the top-down effects on SF Bay, information that is currently missing from the complete picture of energy flow and nutrient cycling. Continue reading

Investigating the role of marine morbilliviruses in cetacean strandings near San Francisco Bay – July 28th at Saylor’s Restaurant

When: July 28th @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Where: Saylor’s Restaurant and Bar, Upstairs Cabo Wabo room, 2009 Bridgeway, Sausalito, CA 94965

Cost:  $5 Donation goes toward Student Research Grants

Dr. Claire Simeone

“Investigating the role of marine morbilliviruses in cetacean strandings near San Francisco Bay”

C. Simeone KogiaCetacean morbilliviruses have the potential to cause explosive outbreaks with high mortality, and have emerged as the cause of die-offs of striped dolphins in the Mediterranean, harbor porpoises in the UK and Netherlands, and bottlenose dolphins along the U.S. Atlantic coast. Interestingly, large-scale mortality has not been documented in the Pacific Ocean as it has in the Atlantic, even though evidence of morbilliviral infection has been detected in animals in the Pacific. Since 2000, the Marine Mammal Center has responded to nearly 500 cetaceans along the rescue range, and a small percentage of those animals have post-mortem findings that are characteristic of a viral disease such as morbillivirus. The ACS San Francisco Bay Student Research Grant has allowed us to test tissues for the presence of morbillivirus, to determine whether this virus may be playing a role in strandings along the California coast. Continue reading

Dead Whales Do Tell Tales – What We Learn from Post-mortem Examinations & Museum Specimens — September 29th at Bay Model Visitor Center

When: September 29th @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Where:  Bay Model Visitor Center  2100 Bridgeway, Sausalito, CA 94965

Cost:  $5 Suggested Donation goes toward Student Research Grants

Moe Flannery

Dead Whales Do Tell Tales – What we learn from post-mortem examinations and museum specimens

Credit: Sue Pemberton, California Academy of Sciences

As a member of the Marine Mammal Stranding Network, the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, along with the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, responds to any dead whale that washes up along the coast between the Sonoma/Mendocino county line and the San Mateo/Santa Cruz county line. Each carcass offers scientists the opportunity to learn about the health of whale populations and the threats that they face. By performing necropsies in the field, scientists collect valuable data about whale migration patterns, habitat threats, human impacts, and geographic distribution that help to inform critical conservation decisions and scientific research. Moe Flannery, Ornithology and Mammalogy Collection Manager, will share some of the stories uncovered during recent whale post-mortem exams along our local coastlines.

Continue reading

TBA – October 27th at ____

When: October 27th @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Where:  Location TBA

Saylor’s Restaurant and Bar, Upstairs Cabo Wabo room

2009 Bridgeway, Sausalito, CA 94965

Cost:  $5 Donation goes toward Student Research Grants