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Kathi Koontz George, Oceanic Society: Whale Watching & Citizen Science

Tuesday,  July 25, 2017
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Bay Model Visitor Center
$5 Donation Requested for Student Research Grants

20160420Mn-Talbot-3 (1).jpgCalifornia has incredible biodiversity including nature’s largest and magnificent animals—whales. Learn how Oceanic Society (and YOU through citizen science) contribute to whale research (population monitoring), whale conservation and rescue (through entanglement responses), and whale education (international trips). Additionally, Kathi will share information about whale entanglement—2016 statistics, responses, and prevention efforts.
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A Sea of Noise: A Conversation With Local Non-profit Ocean Conservation Research

“A deaf whale is a dead whale”

– Lindy Weilgart, Los Angeles Times, March 22nd 1994

I had the pleasure of sitting down with the founder and director of Ocean Conservation Research (OCR), Michael Stocker recently. OCR is a non-profit based in San Rafael addressing noise in the oceans by changing policy and communicating noise pollution issues to the public. Noisy oceans have major implications for cetaceans that communicate, forage and navigate using sound. OCR has been working for ten years to tackle this issue and I was intrigued to discover how complex and dynamic ocean noise is and the major implications of ocean sound.

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ACS – SF Bay Chapter is taking Application Proposals for its 2017 Research Grants and SMM Student Travel Grants

The American Cetacean Society – San Francisco Bay Chapter is taking Application Proposals for its 2017 Research Grants

Dear colleagues,

The American Cetacean Society-San Francisco Bay Chapter ( ACS-SF Bay ) would like to encourage students to apply for our upcoming 2017 Student Research Grants.

ACS SF Bay chapter funds are intended to strengthen conservation efforts through applied field-based research and opportunities outside of the laboratory.  Funds may not be used for salaries, stipends, honoraria, or other compensatory expenses.

The American Cetacean Society – San Francisco Bay Chapter is taking 

Application Proposals for its 2017 SMM Conference Travel Grants

Dear colleagues,

The American Cetacean Society-San Francisco Bay Chapter (ACS-SF Bay) would like to encourage students to apply for our upcoming 2017 Society of Marine Mammology Conference Student Travel Grants.

This award ($500 each) helps to offset travel expenses enabling the student to attend the 2017 Society of Marine Mammology Conference. Attending this conference is very important for the future as a scientist. Not only are students able to present their accepted research project (poster), but will meet and connect with the attending marine biologists and scientists that may become future teachers/mentors, and/or for prospective job opportunities.

Students are our future and ACS-SF Bay chapter feels very strongly in supporting them.

Applications should be sent by email to Lynette R. Koftinow, acs.sfbay@gmail.com

FOR FULL DETAILS ON APPLYING  go to our webpage: https://acssfbay.wordpress.com/research/grants/2017-proposal-calls-for-research-grants-and-smm-student-travel-grants/

Questions regarding the program may also be directed to her.


Lynette R. Koftinow
Research  ACS-SF Bay chapter
(415) 937-0641 (office)



The Complexity of Species Extinction: Can Conservation Learn From The Past?

Blog 7- Fig 1.jpgLast month the vaquita received a lot of attention. NOAA announced plans to corral the last 30 or so of this severely endangered species and place them in sea pens. They will use specially trained navy dolphins to assist in capturing the most endangered porpoise in the world and transport its members to San Filipe where the species will hopefully recover to the point they can be released back into their natural habitat. This multi-million dollar plan to save a species from human-caused extinction illustrates how complex extinction can be. Not just because we have the ability to engineer recovery of species on the brink but because when it comes to studying illusive cetaceans, a lot of time and money is needed simply to assess numbers in populations and perform genetic analysis, all research essential in order to determine stock size and vulnerability. The vaquita is not the first cetacean to reach this level of human-caused vulnerability. The Baiji river dolphin’s story was remarkably similar, a spices that is now extinct.

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2017 Annual Farallon Islands Whale Watching Trip

Join us for our Annual Farallon Islands Whale Watching Trip!  

Hurry to sign up because we always sell out!

Saturday August 26th!

Oceanic Society is being gracious in giving our SF Bay ACS members a DISCOUNT!   We willWhale Watching 2016 2 be given 20 spaces at great discount on the boat due to this being High Season so get your tickets early!!!

Tickets are $95.00 per person for our first 20 SF Bay ACS Members and $108. for remaining SF Bay ACS Members.

Oceanic Society is always wonderful in giving SF Bay ACS Chapter a fundraiser donation which goes toward our 2017 Student Research Grant Fund! 

You MUST CALL or EMAIL the office to receive this discount and tell them you are a SF Bay ACS member.  You CANNOT get the discount online

whale watching 2016If you are not a member it’s easy to join. Just go to: www.acsonline.org click on membership, and sign up online as a SF Bay ACS chapter member! Send your confirmation email to: acs.sfbay@gmail.com so Chris can be given your membership confirmation information.

Please call or email: Chris Biertuempfel of Oceanic Society(415) 256-9604 or chrisb@oceanicsociety.org She will have a list of our SF Bay ACS members to verify if you may receive the discount.


whale watching 2016 3The Farallon Islands, just 27 miles off San Francisco, lie amid the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, a food-rich marine ecosystem that attracts whales, dolphins, seals and seabirds each summer and fall, to feed and to breed. Researchers have catalogued hundreds of individual humpbacks and blue whales as seasonal feeding residents. Twenty three species of marine mammals, including eighteen  species of whales and dolphins, can be found here.

The Farallon Islands National Wildlife Refuge is the largest seabird rookery in the contiguous United States with nesting Tufted Puffins, Pigeon Guillemots, Rhinoceros Auklets, Common Murres and other species. Migratory seabirds such as Shearwaters, Jaegers, and Phalaropes are also attracted by these nutrient-rich waters.  Island beaches are covered with sea lions, including massive Steller’s sea lions, now on the Endangered Species List.

Each trip is led by an expert naturalist who assists with locating whales, identifying seabirds and other marine life, and who provide informative presentations throughout the trip on the islands and marine ecology of the area.

TRIP INFORMATION:   http://www.oceanicsociety.org/whale-watching/farallons

Full-day whale watching cruises depart from San Francisco at 8:00am, and from Sausalito at 6:30 a.m. aboard the 56-foot Salty Lady, a Coast Guard certified vessel on Saturdays and Sundays, and select Fridays,  from mid-May through November.

Farallon Islands whale watching participants will receive a free DVD, Farallon Islands: Past, Present and Future. Produced by the Oceanic Society in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the film provides a virtual walking tour of the islands, introducing the viewer to the islands’ researchers, refuge staff and former residents as they provide first-hand insights about the wildlife, history , and current conservation efforts. The DVD will be distributed aboard the vessel.


San Francisco Yacht Harbor, Marina Blvd. & Scott St. Reminder: Check-in time is 7:30 a.m., and the boat leaves at 8:00 a.m.

Sausalito Clipper Yacht Harbor on Harbor Drive. Reminder: check-in time is at 6:30 a.m., and the boat leaves at 6:45 a.m.

Duration: Approximately 8 hours.  In order to visit the whale “hot spots,” including the Continental shelf, and have enough time to observe the wildlife at the islands, an 8-hour trip is required.  Itinerary: Under the Golden Gate Bridge and west to the Farallon Islands. Weather permitting; we visit the Continental Shelf to search for deep water whales.

Vessel: Certified 56-foot Salty Lady. Our whale watching vessel offers an observation deck, indoor seating salon (limited indoor seating) and bathroom. Our captains are experienced in nature cruises.  Passenger maximum: 48.  Clothing:  Warm, layers with water-proof outerwear for sea spray recommended. Age Restrictions:  Age minimum 10; an adult must accompany youths under 15.

Parking: Parking is free in San Francisco and Sausalito 

Food & Refreshments: Bring lunch and beverages.


We look forward to seeing you on board and sharing this Special Trip with you!


Claire Simeone: Understanding the Role of Sinus Parasites in Cetaceans Stranded Along the California Coast

Claire Simeone SF Bay Area ACS Grantee:
“Understanding the Role of Sinus Parasites in Cetaceans Stranded Along the California Coast”
Tuesday, August 22, 2017
7:00 – 9:00 P.M.
Bay Model Visitor Center, Sausalito, CA

ivancic-et-al-2014Cetaceans strand for a variety of reasons, including infectious disease, trauma, intoxication and parasitism. Small cetaceans commonly have parasites that inhabit the respiratory and gastrointestinal tract. Worms can inhabit the sinuses, as well as the ear canal and middle ear. These parasites have occasionally been found damaging the nerves and brain of animals, causing disruption of equilibrium or acoustic abilities. However, it is unknown whether these parasites are commonly encountered without causing neurologic issues. Computed tomography (CT) scans assist researchers by providing important baseline data on the effects of these parasites on the animal’s health. The Marine Mammal Center and California Academy of Sciences are working together to better understand the role parasites play in strandings, in order to help us better manage live cetacean strandings in the future. Research Objective: determine the role sinus parasites play in stranded cetaceans in central California, by combining data from gross necropsy, histopathology, and advanced imaging. Continue reading

Kip Evans: Mission Blue Sylvia Earle Alliance

Kip Evans: Mission Blue Sylvia Earle Alliance
Tuesday, September 26, 2017
7:00 – 9:00 P.M.
Bay Model Visitor Center, Sausalito, CA

whale-shark-verticle-feeding-kip-evans_mg_1393Mission Blue is an initiative of the Sylvia Earle Alliance (SEA) to ignite public support for the protection of Hope Spots—special places that are vital to the health of the ocean, the blue heart of our planet. From the seamounts of the high seas to the shallow sunlit reefs, Mission Blue seeks to bring about a significant increase in ocean protection from less than four percent today to 20% by the year 2020.weddell-seal-ckipevans




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Maren Anderson: View Into Vocalizations

Maren Anderson: 2017 Research Grantee
“View Into Vocalizations”
Tuesday, October 24, 2017
7:00 – 9:00 P.M.
Bay Model Visitor Center, Sausalito, CA

image001Wintering humpback whales can be found in the coastal waters off of the Hawaiian Island Chain where they remain from January through April for their breeding season. This population expends a great deal of energy in activities which includes competing for mates, mating, calving, and feeding / raising their offspring prior to the first migration back north. During our next field season, we plan to focus on studying mother and calf humpback groups (which may include escorts). We will expand upon our past research and will investigate social interactions between
mothers and calves/escorts, profile underwater behaviors (including the spatial behavior known as laterality), and investigate age and sex class activity budgets. We will also examine calls known as social sounds and their biological significance, and identify any behavioral and acoustic vulnerabilities based on the breeding season behaviors, and assess how this affects ship strike potential. We plan to continue the R&D we began in 2015 with the new tagging technology that furthered our research goals. We propose to use non-invasive suction-cup tags to tag mother and calf pairs in order to gain better understanding of their underwater behaviors and vocalizations. Very few first year Hawaiian humpback whale calves have been tagged and no mother calf pair tag results are have been published. We successfully obtained these data in 2015 using both conventional tags and a new tag we self-designed. In conjunction with our underwater videography research techniques and our past datasets, the data from additional field work and tagging will allow us to work to develop the first underwater behavioral ethogram for Hawaiian humpback whales. Continue reading