2016 New Naturalist Training Program!

2016 New Naturalist Training Program!

Love whales? Want an interesting and fun volunteer opportunity?

Become a SF Bay ACS Chapter Naturalist!

Our February 4th, 2016 Naturalist class is now taking signups. Our classes fill very quickly so be sure to sign up right away!

As of November 15th we only have 5 SPOTS LEFT! So hurry to sign up!!!

To sign up for please email Lynette R. Koftinow: acs.sfbay@gmail.com  


SF Bay ACS Chapter 2016 Naturalist Training Program. Once trained, our naturalists will help other community members observe and interpret our local marine habitat. Naturalists will be able to represent SF Bay ACS in tours (both on land and water), in classroom visits, at festival exhibits, and at other events in the Bay Area.

Our naturalist program will give the community more opportunities to interact meaningfully with our local marine environment. It will help deepen our collective understanding of cetaceans. The program will strengthen our ability to include each other
in creative conversation.

The SF Bay ACS Naturalist Program will:

  • Give the typical student, working professional, retiree, or otherwise available person a chance to explore interpreting the natural world as a hobby, avocation, or vocation;
  • Increase education resources for teachers;
  • Increase education opportunities for classroom students;
  • Enrich the experiences of visitors to our local nature areas;
  • Create awareness and effect change in the community with respect to the needs of cetaceans and the effects of human actions upon them;
  • Bring the general population further into the dialog;
  • Support a learning culture with a conservation focus; and
  • Increase SF Bay ACS’s capacity to provide services to the community.


Our first class will begin Thursday February 4th! This will be a 6 week course 6:0-9:00 pm. Thursdays: February 4, 11, 18, 25, March 3, 10

Location: Sports Basement: Presidio: 610 Old Mason St., San Francisco

Link to location:


sports basement


Join SF Bay ACS Chapter at the International 21st Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals: “Bridging the Past Toward the Future”

13-18 December 2015

Hilton San Francisco Union Square, San Francisco, CA

smm 2015 conference (1)

The Society for Marine Mammalogy holds biennial international meetings with the goal of enhancing collaboration, sharing ideas, and improving the quality of research on marine mammals within the scientific community. The 21st biennial conference will return to San Francisco for the first time since its founding in 1981. The meeting will focus on marine mammal conservation in a changing world and bring together leaders in the field from every continent. The gathering of interdisciplinary experts enables discussion amongst marine mammal scientists and policy makers, enhancing collaboration and training the next generation of scientists and practitioners, and is a key opportunity to foster international partnerships and collaborations. In addition to key-note lectures and oral presentations, there will be over 1,000 poster presentations and topical workshops on hot topics in marine mammal science.

Session Themes for oral and poster presentations will include:
Acoustics  •  Anatomy  •  Behaviour  •  Climate Change  •  Conservation  •  Distribution and Abundance  •  Education and Communication  •  Ecology  •  Evolution  •  Genetics and Genomics(including systematics, “omics” & microbiomics, population genetics)  •  Human Dimensions, Policy and Management (including protected species, MPAs, international governance)  •  Medicine & Toxicology (including health, infectious disease, strandings, pathology)  •  Physiology  •  Population Biology  •  Sensory Biology

Full information: https://www.marinemammalscience.org/conference/


January 26, “Of Orcas and Men – What Killer Whales Can Teach Us”

Tuesday January 26th:

Time:  7pm

Location: Bay Model Visitor Center   2100 Bridgeway, Sausalito, CA

$5 Donation goes toward Student Research Grants

 David Neiwert

Of Orcas and Men – What Killer Whales Can Teach Us”



Accompanied by photos and sounds, David Neiwert talks about the often-fraught relationship between humans and killer whales, what we’ve learned about these creatures in the last fifty years, and why we now know they deserve not just our awe but our deep respect. In the end, he makes the case for ending their captivity, and for saving our wild populations. Continue reading

Feb 23rd: “The Porpoises & Dolphins of the San Francisco Bay Area” at the Bay Model

Tuesday February 23rd:

Time:  7pm

Location: Bay Model Visitor Center   2100 Bridgeway, Sausalito, CA

$5 Donation goes toward Student Research Grants

 Golden Gate Cetacean Research Organization:  “The Porpoises and Dolphins of the San Francisco Bay Area”

ggcr2Golden Gate Cetacean Research biologists, Jon Stern, Bill Keener and Izzy Szczepaniak, will present the results of their newest research on the porpoises and dolphins of San Francisco Bay, providing an up-to-date since their last talk for ACS in 2012.  The team has been studying two species, harbor porpoises and bottlenose dolphins, from shore and boat for the past 6 years.

The team has compiled the first photo-identification catalogs for harbor porpoises and the San Francisco Bay bottlenose dolphins, giving us a window into the lives of individual animals. They will share their observations about the unexpected return of harbor porpoises to the Bay, and the appearance of bottlenose dolphins off our coast.  GGCR1Learn about changes to the Bay ecosystem that played a role in bringing back porpoises, the warm water El Niño conditions that brought bottlenose dolphins up from Southern California, and what this may mean for our coast.

Here’s your chance to find out the difference between a porpoise and a dolphin, where to see these fascinating creatures, and what you can do to help in the study of marine mammals in the Bay.

For more information, visit: www.ggcetacean.org Continue reading

April 26th: “The Diving Physiology and Capabilities of Breath-Hold Divers”

Tuesday April 26th:

Time:  7pm

Location: Bay Model Visitor Center   2100 Bridgeway, Sausalito, CA

$5 Donation goes toward Student Research Grants

 Birgitte McDonald: “The Diving Physiology and Capabilities of Breath-Hold Divers”

The diving physiology and capabilities of breath-hold divers are crucial to their role in the ecosystem and their ability to exploit prey resources. During forced submersion, severe bradycardia (heart rate reduced to below resting) results in isolation of muscle and peripheral organs from blood flow, therby conserving blood oxygen for the heart and brain. However, withbriggitte
the development of bio-loggers, studies on trained and freely diving animals indicate that this dive response’ is variable and often moderate. I will present my research investigating the dive response and oxygen management strategies in wild California sea lions and captive harbor porpoises using bio-loggers that measured blood oxygen, heart rate, and dive behavior during natural dives. I will discuss how sea lions and porpoises are able to optimize the amount of oxygen they take on a dive,
and how the management of the oxygen differs depending on dive duration. Continue reading

2015 Travel Grant Awardees

Travel Grant Awardees:

We are happy to announce the Travel Grant Awardees to the Society of Marine Mammology Conference in San Francisco this December. All awardees will be speaking on their research.

Join us in congratulating our 2015 Travel Grant Awardees! We hope to see you at the SMM conference this year.

David Cade
Goldbogen Lab
Hopkins Marine Station
Stanford University

 “Expansion rates of ventral groove blubber in lunge-feeding blue whales” in which we analyze video and accelerometry data from custom-made tags.

Dara Orbach
Ph.D. candidate
Marine Mammal Behavioral Ecology Group
Department of Marine Biology- IDP
Texas A&M University at Galveston
Abstract 1 Main conference: Size and intensity of female mating behavioral repertoire predicted from reproductive anatomy in odontocetes
Abstract 2 Harbor porpoise pre-conference workshop: Mating Behaviors of Harbor Porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) off the Golden Gate Bridge

M. Fernanda Urrutia-Osorio
Research CICESE, Baja California, Mexico
Analysis of the artisanal fisheries’ fishing effort dynamics in San Felipe as a bycatch modeling tool for the Vaquita (Phocoena sinus)

Andrea Garcia Chavez
Bachelors degree in Biology from UNAM National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico City, Federal District, Mexico
“First systematic humpback whale studies in the vulnerable state of Guerrero, southwest Mexico”

Carina F. Marón
Instituto de Conservación de Ballenas, ICB (Buenos Aires , Argentina)
Department of Biology at the University of Utah (Salt Lake City, United States)
Southern Right Whale Health Monitoring Program, SRWHMP (Puerto Madryn, Argentina)
“Increased Kelp Gull-inflicted lesions on southern right whale (Eubalaena australis) calves at Península Valdés, Argentina”

Alicia Amerson
Masters of Advanced Studies in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation
Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, CA
Study conducted on the West Coast of Canada, Washington, Oregon, California, and Baja de California Mexico.
“Through Their Eyes – Identifying sustainable and responsible whalewatching practices for baleen whales along the Pacific coast”


SF Bay ACS Chapter Grant Awardee from the Orange County Community Foundation

OCCF logo


SF Bay ACS Logo Best1

American Cetacean Society – San Francisco Bay Area Chapter

is honored and happy to announce we have received a Grant from the Orange County Community Foundation to support Student Research, Education, and Speakers.

We look forward to developing further programs with this generous grant. Be sure to follow our development on our website.


Lynette R. Koftinow

American Cetacean Society
San Francisco Bay Area Chapter

New Cetacean Blog

Tim Salisbury

Welcome Tim Salisbury, one of our newest communication committee members. He will have an ongoing blog on our website, SFACS facebook page, and LinkedIn.  Please check out his first article below.



Tim S

Cetaceans Under Siege

By Tim Salisbury

Cetaceans — whales, dolphins, are porpoises are under siege. No longer able to swim the oceans freely; their survival, safety, and well being are being threatened. The problem is clear: whaling, fishing net by-catch, ship strikes, and climate change. In response, the American Cetacean Society, the International Whaling Committee, the World Wildlife Fund and other organizations have stepped in to save these remarkable creatures. Read on to learn more about each pressing issue.

To read the full article go to: http://acs-sfbay.org/cetacean-blog/

Join SF Bay ACS Chapter and Oceanic Society on Whales of Guerrero Research Project!

We are very excited to partner with Oceanic Society on research trips around the world. Our members will receive a 10% discount on these trips and your money goes toward the important research projects!
Our 2015 Barra de Potosi   Humpback Whale Monitoring Research Program was so successful we will be working in the field as citizen scientists again with the Whales of Guerrero Research Project. Barra de Potosi Humpback Whale Monitoring Research Program Marine Citizen Science • Playa Blanca, Mexico • 2016 Dates – Feb 1 – Feb 8, 18-25 Feb, Feb 29 – March 7 Participate in Pioneering Research in a Breathtaking Landscape
Oceanic Society invites you to beautiful Barra de Potosí, Mexico located on Bahia de Petatlan just south of Zihuatanejo. This region is an important part of the migration route for the northeastern Pacific population of humpback whales. While the presence of whales has been documented in the area for years, there have been no formal studies of them until now.
As a participant on this expedition you will have the chance to help scientists better understand this important whale population by working in the field as a citizen scientist with the Whales of Guerrero Research Project. You will work alongside American and Mexican scientists and local fishermen to spot, identify, and make scientific observations of humpback whales and any of four species of dolphins found in the area. We  also frequently observe olive ridley sea turtles, manta rays, golden cow nosed and spotted eagle rays, red-billed tropic birds, blue and brown footed boobies, roseate spoonbills, brown and white pelicans, frigate birds, and countless other noteworthy marine species. In addition to learning humpback whale fluke identification and hydro-acoustic recording techniques, you will also assist with recording other key ecosystem data. Our citizen scientists come away with a wealth of knowledge about humpback whale behavior and biology and the unique experience of being a part of a truly pioneering project. 
You can go on these trips individually or together. Research trips are a wonderful way to travel in not only seeing the area, but helping with important research programs and interacting with the local people in environmental education. We look forward to having you join us!

March 2-13, 2016:  Baja California & The Sea of Cortez  “Whales and wildlife of the Forgotten Peninsula”

juan carlosJC-Blue Whale

Join Founder Juan-Carlos Solis and Quetzal Adventures on this incredible trip!

This is one of those trips that people talk about and remember always!

Slim as a blade, the Baja California peninsula jackknifes from mainland Mexico, creating a cleft filled by the Sea of Cortez. Every year, California Gray Whales migrate here from arctic waters-the longest mammal migration known. In the protected lagoon of San Ignacio, watch the Grays during their breeding, calving, and nurturing cycle.

JCContinue sailing around the tip of Baja in search of Fin, Sperm, Blue and Humpback Whales along with pods of Common Dolphins accompanied by Magnificent Frigate birds and Red-billed Tropic birds. Along the way, visit lovely and uninhabited islands such as San Jose and Santa Catalina. Awake to an incomparable sunrise, snorkel in an isolated cove, bask in Baja California’s seductive desert warmth, stroll its glorious beaches, and-best of all–wonder at its wildlife.

Juan-Carlos is very supportive of SF Bay ACS chapter and is  giving  us a donation for each person signing up on this wonderful trip. We look forward to seeing you on the trip!

For full details go to:  http://www.quetzaladventures.com/#!baja-2016/c24f1