January 17, 2013: Dr. Wallace J. Nichols
BLUEMIND: Putting The Science of Emotion Into Ocean Conservation
Dr. Wallace J. Nichols believes that the environmental “Green Movement” misses the boat with ocean conservation. “J,” as he is known, proposes a makeover, what he calls a “Blue Movement,” and has founded BLUEMiND: The Mind + Ocean Initiative, merging the fields of cognitive science and ocean exploration. His approach to conservation does not rely on guilt, shame, and fear to effect change, but instead on neurological insights into the human mind and how the ocean promotes happiness. It is not fiscal recklessness that lead Coca-Cola to fund an in-house neuroscience lab. They use the resource to explore the intersection of “happiness” with their brand, at the neurological level. Dr. Nichols feels that the world’s oceans need a “neuro-marketing” lab, as a way to advance the dialogue about the “why’s” supporting ocean conservation.
Dr. Nichols is a Research Associate at California Academy of Sciences and founder/co-director of OceanRevolution.org, an international network of young ocean advocates, SEEtheWILD.org, a conservation travel network and LiVBLUE.org, a global campaign to reconnect us to our water planet.
He has authored and co-authored more than 50 scientific papers and reports on ocean science and conservation, advises a motivated group of international graduate students, and serves as an advisor to numerous non-profit boards and committees as part of his commitment to building a stronger, more progressive, and connected environmental community.
His work has been broadcast on NPR, BBC, PBS, National Geographic, and Animal Planet and featured in Time, Newsweek, GQ, Outside Magazine, Fast Company, Scientific American, and New Scientist, among others.
He earned his Bachelors in Biology and Spanish from DePauw University, an MEM in Environmental Policy and Economics from Duke University’s NicholasSchool, and his PhD in Wildlife Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from University of Arizona.
Nichols earned his MEM in Environmental Policy and Economics from Duke University’s NicholasSchool and his PhD in Wildlife Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from University of Arizona.
Lately he is working on BLUEMiND: The Mind + Ocean Initiative, and a forthcoming book on the subject with Little, Brown.
He blogs at wallacejnichols.org and lives on California’s SLOWCOAST.
LiVBLUE.org: Live like you love the ocean
February 26: Bryant Austin: “Beautiful Whale”
“Bryant Austin finds himself – and a way to help whales – in the eyes of the world’s biggest animals”
In his talks he offers insight into three major areas of his work. It begins with the journey to follow the inspiration given to him by two whales, and the external and personal challenges he had to overcome to document and share these creatures on their scale.
With the challenges he faced in our world, he moves to share the challenges in the world of a whale. Over the years Austin has grown to appreciate the concept of coming to know whales as individuals. He will share stories about seven of them, some that have spent up to six hours per day for five days with him. Individual whales spending time with him on their terms, from a distance less than six feet is what is at the core of his work, and what allows him to create largest photographs of whales in the world.
His talk concludes with his extensive work in Norway and Japan where he has so far carried out six exhibitions within these countries. He offers insights to the overwhelmingly positive responses both from the public and from the media in these countries and how it has provided him with a glimpse into the potential for positive change with the simple act of making a whale visible. He concludes with a message of hope for the oceans, one that can be achieved if new bonds between species can be formed
Bryant Austin is an experimental multi-media artist whose life-long passion has been exploring the depths of possibility in connecting with the greatest minds in the waters. The impetus behind his work is the thought of losing over five million years of evolving culture and communication in the largest brain ever to exist on Earth; to not only lose it, but to never understand what we’ve lost.
His journey and challenge to recreate the transcendent sensation one experiences floating an arm’s length away from the eye of an inquisitive whale, has compelled him to create breath-taking photo mosaics at “whale scale”- both in terms of size and in the level of detail witnessed in ‘real life’.
This inspiration was brought to light in 2004 when, floating motionless, he felt a gentle tap on his shoulder, one that felt too solid to originate from a dive companion. As he slowly turned to investigate the tap’s source, he became eye-to-eye with a 45 ton female humpback whale. She had reached out with her two ton, 15 foot long pectoral fin to gently touch him, letting him know that she was behind him.
Her eye was fully illuminated from the late afternoon sun scintillating over his shoulder. Looking into her eye, he saw for the first time the calm mindful expression of a whale peering into his own eyes. In that instant he saw clearly what had been missing in the four decade effort to visually communicate the reality of whales – moments like these documented on their terms, at their scale.
The epiphany was powerful and clear, leading him to sell everything he owned, including his home, and leaving a job of eight years at a sea otter research facility. By 2009, Austin composed the largest and most detailed photographs of whales that have ever existed in the world. His work has been met with international acclaim, and has been received enthusiastically during exhibits worldwide, including shows in Norway and Japan – countries that continue to hunt whales. Austin anticipated that these would be his most intractable critics. Instead, by allowing viewers to exercise freedom to explore their own responses, he has come away from these experiences with a renewed sense of optimism, knowing that with sufficient time and intention, it is possible to promote changes in attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs.
A new chapter of Austin’s work has begun — one that is teeming with ideas and inspiration to document and share whales globally in new and innovative ways. This next phase of his work will focus on the impacts of our lifestyle choices that threaten whales and their ocean habitats.
With these discoveries, Austin is expanding his creative vision and forging new paths to integrate cutting-edge science and technology with an artist’s creative vision and perspective. His vision is to create a ninety foot wide photograph of a blue whale in extraordinary detail and to compose a life-size photograph of a living whale entangled in fishing gear.
March 28: Bob Wilson: “Polar Bears in a Changing World”
Polar bears are as dependent on the oceans as cetaceans. They just like it frozen. But, all the oceans creatures are faced with a changing planet. Bob will discuss polar bear biology, the threats they face and share his appreciation of these great creatures.
Bob Wilson is a Director Emeritus for The Marine Mammal Center and is currently on the Position and Policy Committee and liason with other environmental groups. He has been a volunteer crew member and member of the rescue team for over 30 years.
He is currently the CFO of the Farallones Marine Sanctuary Association and has served as past chair and interim Executive Director. He is also a long time member of the Beach Watch program.
He has been actively involved in the Marine Life Protection Act process and served as a stakeholder for the NorthCentralCoast process establishing a series of marine reserves and special closure areas including those in the GFNMS, especially the FarallonIslands.
He was a member of the team that established the USCG procedures for use of volunteers in oil spills. He was a founder and long term board member of Polar Bears International and served as board chair and CFO. He is currently on the audit committee of the Desert Tortoise Preservation committee. He is also a member of the advisory committee of the Snow leopard Trust.
April 30, 2013: Frances C. Robertson “Bowhead whales in the age of oil: Behavioral responses of bowhead whales to seismic operations”
Frances C. Robertson, SF Bay ACS Student Travel Grant Awardee and Honorable Mention awardee of the National ACS conference Poster contest, University of British Columbia
Bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus) were heavily exploited by commercial whaling in the mid to late 19th Century. The Western Arctic population has been steadily recovering and now comprises 90 % of the world’s population. Since the 1970s this population has been contending with anthropogenic activities related to oil and gas exploration. Studies to investigate the impacts of industry on bowhead whales began in the early 1980s, and included opportunistic and dedicated behavioral response studies.
Bowhead responses ranged from subtle changes in dive-cycle behavior and localized displacement to wider avoidance of industry activities. My research has combined bowhead behavior data collected in the presence and absence of seismic operations to determine how whale status, season and whale activity influence the responses of bowhead whales to seismic sound. My results have enabled me to determine the detectability of bowhead whales during aerial surveys and assess the extent to which seismic operations affect detectability and alter their distribution in Arctic waters.
In this talk I will introduce the key issues surrounding the bowhead whale and industry in the Western Arctic. I will show how the subtle behavioral responses of bowhead whales to industry operations are often contextual and how not accounting for these subtle changes influences our understanding of bowhead distribution in areas ensonified by seismic sounds.
Frances C. Robertson is a PhD candidate in the Marine Mammal Research Unit at the University of British Columbia.
She has been involved in a variety of cetacean research projects here in the Pacific Northwest and in Scotland. Most of Frances’ work has centered on the impacts of human activities on cetaceans. Since 2006 Frances has specialized in carrying out assessments and monitoring of oil and gas industry activities on marine mammals. This work has involved vessel-based and aerial-based surveys for marine mammals, mainly associated with monitoring and mitigation of the effects of seismic surveys on marine mammals and (where they occur) sea turtles. Frances’ experiences with industry have widened her research interests and have led her to focus her efforts on investigating the impacts of seismic survey operations on bowhead behavior and distribution in the Alaskan Arctic. Frances is also a committee member for the Marine Mammal Observers Association and is the Student Representative for the NW Student Chapter of the Society of Marine Mammalogy.
May 28: Acoustic Impact and Ship Strike Issue Panel
Ship strikes of whales have been recognized as a growing concern worldwide. Documented ship strikes from NOAA NMFS data from 1988-2011, occurring just within the GFNMS/CBNMS region, total 20 whales killed by ships (i.e., death caused by vessel collision or carcass exhibited signs of trauma consistent with vessel collision) and an additional 10 injured and possibly killed (i.e., collision observed, but final status unknown). The true number of ship strikes could be at least 10 times higher than the number documented.
Anthropogenic noise in the ocean, including off the California coast, has increased exponentially over the past 60 years, largely due to the increased number, size, and tonnage of vessels in the commercial fleet. The sanctuaries, given their coincidence with the TSS adjacent to San FranciscoBay ports, are especially susceptible to increased amounts of anthropogenic noise. Commercial vessels are responsible for relatively loud, low-frequency underwater noise. This ship noise overlaps significantly with the frequency range used by many cetacean species, especially with low-frequency vocalizers such as blue, fin, humpback, and grey whales, and can cause what is known as masking. Masking occurs when increased levels of background noise reduce an animal’s ability to detect relevant sounds and can hinder prey detection and reduce the range of communication.
Protecting endangered species and sanctuary resources is a priority issue for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). To address this issue locally, Gulf of the Farallones (GF) and Cordell Bank (CB) Sanctuary Advisory Councils formed a Joint Working Group (JWG) on Vessel Strikes and Acoustic Impacts, represented by a diversity of stakeholders including the shipping industry, and the conservation and scientific communities. Staff from federal agencies (including NMFS, the Sanctuaries, and the U.S. Coast Guard), as well as members of the scientific community and environmental organizations served as technical experts to the JWG. Over one year, the JWG met and came to consensus on a set of recommendations to the sanctuary: http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/protect/shipstrike/pdfs/strikes_acoustic.pdf
This panel consists of members of that Joint Working Group. Experts in their field, they will discuss the process and how stakeholders came together to achieve consensus on a set of specific, solution-oriented recommendations.
Leslie Abramson: Resource Protection Specialist with the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, John Berge: Pacific Merchant Shipping Association, Frances Gulland: Senior Scientist at The Marine Mammal Center and one of three Commissioner positions at the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission, Lance Morgan: Marine biologist and President of the Marine Conservation Institute, Jackie Dragon: Senior Oceans Campaigner, Greenpeace, Michael Carver: Deputy Superintendent for Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary (CBNMS), Cascadia research, Michael Jasny:NRDC (focus on legal and acoustics issues), Carol Keiper: Marine ecologist and founding board member/researcher with Oikonos Ecosystem Knowledge
Leslie Abramson: Leslie is a Resource Protection Specialist with the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. She has been working to protect whales along the California coast since 2008, when she lead-authored Reducing the Threat of Ship Strikes on Large Cetaceans in the Santa Barbara Channel Region and Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary: Recommendations and Case Studies (http://channelislands.noaa.gov/sac/pdf/sscs10-2-09.pdf) for the Channel Islands Marine Sanctuary. Last year, Leslie, along with staff from the Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary, facilitated a Joint Working Group (JWG) on Vessel Strikes and Acoustic Impacts, which included representatives from conservation groups, the shipping industry, and the scientific community. Leslie received her Master of Environmental Science and Management from the Bren School at UC Santa Barbara, spent the subsequent year in Washington DC as a Knauss Marine Policy Fellow in the Senate Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard and currently lives in the Sunset District of San Francisco with her husband, Nathan, and newborn baby son, Chase.
John Berge: John Berge is Vice President of the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association (PMSA), a regional maritime industry trade association headquartered in San Francisco . Joining PMSA in 2000, John has over 32 years’ experience working in the maritime industry. PMSA is active in many aspects of maritime trade and has been involved in the development of navigational risk reduction and response programs, regulations and best practices. John is an appointee of the Governor to the State Oil Spill Technical Advisory Committee, and also sits on the Harbor Safety Committee of the San Francisco Bay Region, the Oiled Wildlife Care Network Advisory Board and as an alternate maritime representative on the Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council.
Frances M. D. Gulland, Vet MB , PhD, MRCVS
Frances Gulland is the Senior Scientist at The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito , California . She has been actively involved in the veterinary care and rehabilitation of stranded marine mammals and research into marine mammal diseases there since 1994. Her interests include determining the impacts of human activities on marine mammal health, and how marine mammals can in turn serve as indicators of ocean health. She received a veterinary degree from the University of Cambridge, UK, in 1984, and a PhD in Zoology there in 1991. Before moving to California in 1994, she worked as a veterinarian and research fellow at the Zoological Society of London. She currently serves as Commissioner on the U. S. Marine Mammal Commission.
Lance Morgan: Marine biologist and President of the Marine Conservation Institute
Dr. Morgan is a marine biologist and President of the Marine Conservation Institute. Growing up as a son of a US Navy nuclear submarine captain, Lance learned about and became deeply committed to conserving our living oceans while living in California , Hawaii and Washington . Lance received his Master’s in Marine Science from San FranciscoStateUniversity . His doctoral research explored factors influencing recruitment of marine invertebrates, for which he received his PhD in Ecology from the University of California-Davis (1997). Prior to joining the Marine Conservation Institute Lance was Science Director at the Marine Mammal Center, and a Postdoctoral Associate with the National Marine Fisheries Service. His research interests include marine ecology and conservation science and he has studied taxa as diverse as deep sea corals, rockfishes, seabirds, sea lions and orcas. He led the identification of Marine Priority Conservation Areas from Baja California to the Bering Sea for the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (2005). He has explored the ocean as a SCUBA diver, aquanaut and submersible pilot. He has authored reports on the impacts of fishing methods on marine life as well as scientific papers on marine protected areas. In 2010 he traveled to the remote Johnston Atoll in the Central Pacific to help establish the first field camp at this new marine national monument. He currently chairs the Cordell Bank Sanctuary Advisory Council and holds a research faculty appointment at Bodega Marine Laboratory. His most recent conservation project is leading development of a new global tool to help better understand the current state of global ocean protection – MPAtlas.org.
Jackie Dragon: Senior Oceans Campaigner, Greenpeace
Since 2008, Greenpeace Senior Oceans Campaigner Jackie Dragon has campaigned to protect some of the world’s most valuable and threatened marine regions. In California ’s National Marine Sanctuaries, she worked to promote conservation and reduce ocean noise pollution and ship strikes on whales from large commercial vessels. In the Bering Sea, she is fighting to conserve the largest underwater canyons in the world from destructive fishing practices and, in the Arctic , she journeyed on Greenpeace’s Esperanza to bring international attention to the irreversible destruction posed by undersea oil extraction. Jackie holds a conservation seat on the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council, and she initiated and co-chaired a Joint Working Group of the Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank Sanctuary Advisory Councils on Vessel Strikes and Acoustic Impacts. Significantly, this multi-stakeholder group, which included representatives for more than 90% of U.S. shipping companies, delivered full-consensus recommendations for dynamic management of the sanctuaries, calling for large vessels to alter their speed or course when whales are present in the shipping lanes. Jackie also successfully partnered with California Congressman (then Assembly member) Jared Huffman and local allies to pass AB1112 – a bill to protect the California coastline from the threat of oil spills and save taxpayers from bearing the burden of clean up efforts. When not campaigning for a healthy ocean from land, Jackie likes to scuba dive, free dive, and occasionally pilot submarines into the ocean depths.
Deputy Superintendent for Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary(CBNMS
Michael Carver is the Deputy Superintendent for Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary(CBNMS) who oversees resource protection and operations for CBNMS. Michael’s responsibilities include overseeing enforcement, permitting, planning, and management actions to address threats to the marine environment of the Sanctuary. Michael works with the NOAA office of law enforcement to coordinate enforcement activities between Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies to protect Sanctuary resources. Michael also provides engineering support for sanctuary field operations, and serves as the staff lead on emergency response issues. In addition, Michael also coordinates, annual budget planning and execution, interagency agreements, writes and manages contracts, and works closely with the sanctuary superintendent to ensure smooth operation of the sanctuary. Since the fall of 2009 Michael has been working with the USCG, and a team of partners, to address the issue of ship strikes in the entrance to San Francisco .
Michael has been with Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary since 2000. Michael started the sanctuary’s monthly at sea monitoring program and managed it for over 6 years. Michael graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Natural Resource Management from North Carolina State University .
Michael Jasny is Director of the Marine Mammal Protection Project and a Senior Policy Analyst at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). He is a leading expert in the law and policy of ocean noise pollution, and has worked domestically and internationally for more than ten years through high-profile litigation, lobbying, science-based policy development, and public advocacy to improve regulation of this emergent global problem. Michael is also engaged in securing protection for endangered marine mammal populations and critical habitat, opposing development projects that threaten marine mammals off the U.S. and Canada , and improving management of fisheries, whale-watching, and other sectors under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the nation’s leading instrument for the conservation of these species. Michael is the author of several NRDC reports and author or co-author of various publications in legal, policy, and scientific journals. He holds a bachelor’s degree from YaleCollege and J.D. from HarvardLawSchool .
Carol A. Keiper M.Sc.: marine ecologist with Oikonos Ecosystem Knowledge
Carol A. Keiper M.Sc., a marine ecologist with Oikonos Ecosystem Knowledge, a non-profit organization founded over a decade ago and she was one of the founding board members and directors. She received her Master’s Degree in Marine Science from Moss Landing Marine Laboratories through San Jose State University and published her thesis entitled: Keiper , C.A. , D.G. Ainley, S.G. Allen, J.T. Harvey. 2005. Marine Mammals and ocean climate off Central California , 1986-1994, 1997-1999. Marine Ecology Progress Series Vol.289:285-306. Her research interests include understanding and assessing impacts of human activities on our complex marine ecosystems. The latest project involved doing a risk assessment of vessel traffic on the endangered Blue and Humpback whales off central California and this was one of the first projects that focused on this issue in the Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries. This project was initiated in 2010 and the report was completed in 2012: Keiper , CA , J.Calambokidis, G.Ford, J.Casey, C.Miller, T.R. Kieckhefer. Risk assessment of vessel traffic on endangered Blue and Humpback whales in the Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries. (Available on website: www.oikonos.org). Carol has been participating in surveys as a marine mammal and seabird observer since 1997 off central and southern California , the Gulf of Alaska, Kauai HI, and the Caribbean . She has also been a trip leader and marine naturalist on trips off central California , Southeast Alaska , and Baja for almost 25 years. Her undergraduate degree is in teaching and she has also been contributing to ocean conservation and stewardship through education outreach.
John Calambokidis: Unable to attend, but writing the feature article for the upcoming National Spyhopper issue.
Research Biologist and one of the founders of Cascadia Research, a non-profit research organization formed in 1979 based in Olympia , Washington . He periodically (1991-2012) serves as an Adjunct Faculty at the Evergreen State College teaching a course on marine mammals. His primary interests are the biology of marine mammals and the impacts of humans. As a Senior Research Biologist at Cascadia Research he has served as Project Director of over 100 projects. He has authored two books on marine mammals (on blue whales and a guide to marine mammals) as well as more than 150 publications in scientific journals and technical reports. He has conducted studies on a variety of marine mammals in the North Pacific from Central America to Alaska . He has directed long-term research on the status, movements, and underwater behavior of blue, humpback, and gray whales. Some of his recent research has included attaching tags to whales with suction cups to examine their feeding behavior and vocalizations. His work has been covered on shows by Discovery Channel and others and is featured in National Geographic TV specials and a magazine article in 2009. In 2012 he received the American Cetacean Society’s John Heyning Award for Lifetime Achievement in Marine Mammal Science.
5-6:00 pm Presentation, 6:30pm Opening Reception (closed to the public) and Viewing of Exhibition @ San Francisco Zoo
Please join SF Bay American Cetacean Society for a special presentation by Proyecto Ballena Gris Friday June 7th. We are proud to be partnering with this important organization. The focus of this presentation will be to present a deeper view about the context, goals, and activities included in their general project (not only the exhibition), and to invite attendants to support and follow this initiative. The presentation will be lead by Alejandro Boneta and Eunice Calderon (respectively documentarist and coordinator) who are two of the three minds behind the project’s conception.
In partnership with the Consulate General of Mexico in San Francisco, this special traveling exhibit makes its only U.S. stop at the San Francisco Zoo, open to the public June 8, in the Pachyderm Building. A bi-lingual, multi-media show, Travesia explores the amazing migratory world of gray whales, from the Arctic seas to the Mexican lagoons of Baja. Interpretive works from eight contemporary Mexican artists encourage reflection on the relationship between humans and nature. Models of a gray whale’s head and tail encourage discussion of the life cycle of the gray whale. Illustrative panels explore the significance of gray whales in the bio-diverse Northeastern Pacific region. Come learn about this conservation success story, made possible by the dedication and cooperation of Canada, the United States and Mexico.
Starting in 2011 and ending in 2013, this initiative was born in Mexico and adds strength to the U.S. and Canada, contributes to the conservation of gray whales, spread the natural beauty and the importance of their habitats, promote domestic and international tourism in their sanctuaries and support communities that share their home with them. The project began with the creation of the exhibition of contemporary art and technology “Journey”, which takes one into the lives of gray whales and their sanctuaries across the languages of contemporary art and popular science. This exhibition was presented in 2012 at the State Arts Center in Ensenada, Mexico, then presented at the Science World in Vancouver between February and April 2013, and now will be in the San Francisco Zoo, California. The final phase of the roaming “Journey”, will be the Black Warrior community in Baja California Sur, where staying permanently in the Eco-museum, whose construction is driven by their project in collaboration with the local population and various government agencies. With these actions we want to share the dream that every day more aware of the richness that surrounds this wonderful species that belongs to us all.
To learn more about PROYECTO BALLENA GRIS visit their website: http://www.proyectoballenagris.com(Everything is translated to english)
www.vimeo.com/proyectoballenagris (videos of the from the app in spanish and very soon the ones in English)
June 25: Shannon Waters “Algalita Marine Research Institute’s Tsunami and Plastic Pollution Expedition”
Shannon Waters of Algalita Marine Research Institute recently returned from the Japanese Tsunami and Plastic Pollution expedition (June 2012). She will share some of their preliminary findings as well as general experiences sailing across the Pacific and, sadly, witnessing too much plastic in our seas. She will also update us of current findings since the expedition.
In June of 2012, Shannon Waters joined a crew led by Algalita Marine Research Institute and the 5 Gyres Institute to sail across the Pacific Gyre researching plastic pollution and Japanese tsunami debris. Since returning from the month-long expedition,Shannon has acted as a volunteer Ambassador for Algalita and 5 Gyres, presenting to diverse audiences about the perils of plastic pollution and solutions we-collectively- can undertake. Most recently,Shannon led a plastic pollution curriculum workshop at the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Ocean Plastic Pollution Summit, attended by local teachers. In her day job, Shannon serves as the Volunteer Programs Coordinator at the California Coastal Commission, where she manages the state-wide Adopt-A-Beach Program and co-coordinates the annual Coastal Cleanup Day Program, which together engage over 100,000 volunteers annually in beach, shoreline, and creek-side cleanups.
Prior to her work at the California Coastal Commission, Shannon served as the Education Coordinator for the non-profit I Love A Clean San Diego, providing and developing environmental education to thousands of San Diego’s youth, and developing an after-school program centered on watershed education and storm water pollution prevention. She received her BA from the University of California at Santa Barbara in Political Science and International Relations in 2006, where she served as the Publicity Chair of the campus-wide Environmental Affairs Board. In her free time,Shannon volunteers as the co-chair of the Rise Above Plastics Committee at the San Francisco Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation.
For those of you that missed this wonderful presentation, below is an iPod video of the presentation:
July 30: Jerry Loomis “Whale Watching in the Sea of Cortez, Laguna Magdelena, and Laguna San Ignacio”
Please join naturalist Jerry Loomis of “Journeys with Loomis and Jones” as he tells us of his experiences Whale Watching in the Sea of Cortez , Laguna Magdalena, and Laguna San Ignacio.
He and Dana Jones created “Journeys with Loomis and Jones” and in so doing began exploring the interior of Baja on their trips as well. He will talk about the Cultural and Natural history of the region. He has made over 20 trips to Southern Baja as a Naturalist and fisherman, of which 15 trips were to see Gray Whales in the calving lagoons of Laguna San Ignacio and Laguna Magdalena. His base of operations is now in marine life rich LoretoBay where an incredible variety of wild life is seen on their day trips by boat. He has a special connection and understanding with the people and the gray whales of San Ignacio Lagoon and a creative approach to gray whale conservation. Jerry is also the President of the Monterey Chapter of the American Cetacean Society.
As a naturalist, he has made several trips to San Ignacio Whale Lagoon in Baja , Mexico . Not only did he study and observe the gray whales there, he also became involved with some of the locals in the village of San Ignacio . He, along with Monterey ACS Chapter Board members Carol Maehr and Esta Lee Albright, initiated an outreach program which purchased educational supplies for the students at the village school. The people there already had a strong conservation ethic with regard to the gray whales that calve and breed there. Jerry felt that if they helped the children of San Ignacio they would be better able to continue whale protection in the future.
Jerry was fundamental in connecting with students in Mexican universities, encouraging them to apply for research grants from across the border. Several grants have been awarded to graduate students attending Mexican universities.
Jerry has long supported conservation through his role as a State Park Ranger for over 20 years. During that time he was the dive master at Point Lobos for nearly 2 decades, was a guiding force for the Point Lobos Docent program, participated in the sea otter translocation project at SanNicolasIsland and participated in baleen recovery projects in 1984 and 2000 during which blue and humpback whale baleen was recovered. These projects occurred during a time when there was little baleen available for educational purposes. The recovered humpback baleen is now on display at the Whaler’s CabinMuseum at Point Lobos and the blue whale baleen has been distributed far and wide for educational uses. Jerry now serves on the Point Lobos Association Board of Directors and recently co-chaired the month long celebration of Point Lobos’ 75th Anniversary as a CaliforniaState Park.
For those of you that missed this wonderful presentation, below is an iPod video of the presentation:
August 27: Teri Shore: The rare snub fin dolphins along the remote Kimberley coast of Northwest West Australia.
Teri Shore, Program Director Turtle Island Restoration Network, SeaTurtles.org, has traveled extensively to the remote region of Northwest Australia to count humpback whales, walk sea turtle beaches, and help protect the pristine marine bio-region from industrial development. Spending a week in the fall of 2012 helping to observe humpback whales migrating along the remote Kimberley coast of Northwest West Australia, Teri will be telling us of this region and the rare snub fin dolphins, turtles and other marine life. Hear about her adventures and learn about the largest population of humpback whales in the world, the rare endemic snub fin dolphin and the mysterious flatback sea turtles that inhabit the Kimberley coast.
Teri Shore is Program Director at Turtle Island Restoration Network (SeaTurtles.org) in California where she directs conservation, policy, and advocacy campaigns for sea turtles, sustainable fisheries and oceans. Widely recognized for more than 15 years of successful environmental activism, Shore has won protections for sea turtles from commercial fisheries, secured marine protected areas for sea turtle habitat and achieved legal, policy and legislative victories for the oceans in the Pacific, Gulf of Mexico and internationally.
Recently, Shore has built international support to protect sea turtles and marine habitat in the Kimberley of Northwest Australia from rampant oil and gas exploitation by Big Oil including California-based Chevron.
Shore is a respected sea turtle and oceans policy expert who is regularly quoted by major U.S. and international media including Associated Press and National Public Radio. She is also a published journalist with extensive credits in print media, environmental journals, online media and policy reports.
Shore has conducted field work studying sea turtles on nesting beaches in Australia. She has presented her winning campaign strategies at the International Sea Turtle Society Symposium and at scientific and environmental conferences in the U.S., Australia, India and Mexico.
Previously Shore directed oceans campaigns at Friends of the Earth (previously Bluewater Network) focused on greening the world’s ports and shipping fleets, where she achieved stringent new passenger ferry-emissions standards and pollution laws for cruise ships and ocean-going vessels.
For those of you that missed this wonderful presentation, below is an iPod video of the presentation:
September 24, 2013: Judith Selby Lang & Richard Lang “Finding Meaning in the Mess”
Since 1999 Judith Selby Lang and Richard Lang have collected more than two tons of plastic trash from 1000 yards of Kehoe Beach along the Point Reyes National Seashore. For Finding Meaning in the Mess, their exhibit at the Bay Model, they have transformed this debris into engaging works of art that raise awareness of the sheer variety and ubiquity of plastic pollution and its impact in delicate marine ecosystems. With their power point presentation they will educate and entertain with stories about some the common and rare items they have found and how each colorful piece says something about the thermoplastic junk of our throwaway culture. They keep a blog to track their adventures, to document what they are finding and to record how this one beach has become a pinpoint describing the whole world.
Be Sure to join us in the Lobby from 6 pm – 6:50 pm for a Reception, prior to their presentation, with Ocean Plastics artists Judith Selby and Richard Lang for their beautiful and sobering Beach Plastic artworks show Finding Meaning in the Mess.
Since 1999, Judith Selby Lang and Richard Lang, as a collaborative team, have gathered plastic pollution from Kehoe Beach, a remote stretch of the Point Reyes National Seashore, carrying the plastic away by the bagful. They combine their love of nature with their interest in science to produce an ongoing series of art works about the oceans and the environment. Their project, One Beach Plastic, has been included in some 40 exhibitions including shows at the SFMOMA Artist Windows, Thoreau Center for Sustainability in San Francisco, the Cummings Gallery at Stanford University, the Bay Model in Sausalito, and the University of San Francisco.
October 29: David McGuire: Shark movements and their impacts on conservation
Sharks have swam the oceans for over 400 million years, helping to shape and maintain the balance of ocean ecosystems. Sharks have survived the five great extinction events, including the last which caused the dinosaurs to go extinct. For all this time, sharks were the top predators in the ocean.
Today, many species are threatened with extinction within our lifetime. Overfishing and shark finning is killing tens of millions of sharks per year at an alarmingly unsustainable rate.
Fortunately, global attitudes are rapidly shifting in favor of sharks. We are at the forefront of the glocal movment to protect sharks, ban the shark fin trade, stop illegal shark finning and establish shark sanctuaries.
There is lot to do to support shark populations, and Shark Stewards is here to help. We provide the tools for activists to take action and stop shark finnning and ban the shark fin trade.
Launched as Sea Stewards in 2006 by award-winning film conservationist and marine biologist David McGuire, Shark Stewards is dedicated to conserving our oceans through the protection of sharks.
Start a Shark Stewards Chapter.
Support Shark Sanctuaries and Shark Fin Trade Bans.
Stop Shark Finning.
David McGuire is the founder of the non-profit Sea Stewards and the Shark Stewards initiative. Educated in Marine Biology, David holds a masters degree in Environmental Health and has worked in education and public health at the University of California at Berkeley for over a decade. David is the writer, producer and underwater cinematographer of several award-winning documentaries, including Sharks of San Francisco Bay. He also worked as cameraman on feature films such as 180 South with Patagonia and A Beautiful Wave. Films in production include a series on sea turtle conservation with Fish Finder, and a series on local sustainable seafood with fish guru Kenny Belov of Fish. He has also published numerous articles on the state of the ocean and sharks and writes a blog on sharks and ocean health.
As the Director of Sea Stewards and the Shark Stewards project, David helped build a coalition leading to the passage of the California Shark Conservation Act, AB 376. David is a published author and sits on several boards of non-profits including The San Francisco Green Film Festival and the Cordell Bank Marine Sanctuary Association. He has received numerous awards for his work including the Hero of Marin Environmental Stewardship Award in 2011, and an Emy for his filming on the documentary Reefs to Rainforests.
November 12: Michael Stocker: “Unusual sounds of cetaceans. What could they be saying?”
Michael Stocker, bioaccoustician and founder of Ocean Research Conservation org. New book release and signing. Ocean Conservation Research is focused on understanding the scope of, and exploring solutions to the growing problem of human generated noise pollution and its impact on marine animals. OCR engages in marine biological and technological research based on conservation priorities. They use the products of this research to inform the policies and practice of the public, industry, and lawmakers so that we may all become better stewards of the sea.
Michael will be signing his new book Hear Where We Are: Sound, Ecology, and Sense of Place after his presentation
Michael Stocker is a generalist by predilection, an acoustician and naturalist by trade, and a musician by avocation. He has written and spoken about marine bio-acoustics since 1992, presenting in national and regional hearings, national and international television, radio and news publications, and museums, schools and universities. His understanding of both physics and biology has proven invaluable in court testimony and legal briefs, defending the environment against the dangers of human generated noise in the sea.
He is the founding director of Ocean Conservation Research, a scientific research and policy development organization focused on finding solutions to the problem of ocean noise pollution. In this context he has participated on many national and international science and policy workshops and committees focused on the impacts of human generated noise on the marine environment.
Michael’s gift for conveying complex scientific and technical issues to the public in clear, understandable terms is instrumental in his role as a public spokesperson on issues of ocean conservation, physics, communication technology, and biology. In this capacity he has been the subject matter expert in many national and international radio and television interviews. He has also published many articles on science, biology, acoustics, and technology in various national and international journals. Also in this capacity he hosted the Bioneers Ocean Sessions from 2006 through 2009 and was the resident science speaker at Robert Bly’s “Great Mother Conference” in 2010.
Michael began his technical career in 1972 as an electronics systems engineer for the music and film industries. This work led to his work as an acoustical and electronics designer for media presentation and production facilities in Hollywood and San Francisco CA, Seattle WA, and Dallas TX. In 1986 he designed a cutting edge switch-mode uninterruptible power supply and formed Gamma Research, for which he served as General Partner and Chief Design Engineer designing magnetic and electronic power control systems for the computer industry.
He has advised and designed environments and technical systems for a diverse array of clients including the U.S. National Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C., George Lucas’ “Skywalker Ranch,” the Monterrey Bay Aquarium, Mexico City’s “El Museo Papalote” children’s museum, and various premier Hollywood sound and film studios.
Over the course of his work he has been occasionally asked to manage teams of technicians for electronic assembly (16 assemblers at Gamma Research), and technical facility installers (18 “wire droids” at Skywalker Ranch). Throughout the 1990’s Michael ran a technical facilities design and installation firm as a California licensed contractor (CA Licence # 544155).
He also served as the electronic and musical engineer on the benchmark film “Koyaanisqatsi,” and as a project development engineer for Pax Scientific (San Rafael CA) working in applied physics and acoustics, exploring how the principles of bio-mimicry can be used in fluid and air movement systems.
Michael also contributes his time as Executive Director for the Seven Circles Foundation (www.sevencircles.org) that promotes and supports Native American Elders and the teachings they bring to the community. Seven Circles sponsors weekly Inipi (sweat lodge) ceremonies in the SF Bay area, and hosts visiting Native Elders in other sacred ceremonies throughout the year.
His book titled “Hear Where We Are” will be published in June 2013 by Springer. The work is a popular science book that explores the effects that sound and sound perception have on our sense of self, community, and surroundings. The book reveals how humans and other animals use sound to establish their placement in their environment, and communicate that placement to others.
January 26th – Jodi Frediani, Photographer and Swimmer: “Swimming with Humpback Whales on the Silver Bank: a photographic journey!”
The Silver Bank, lying 90 miles north of the coast of the Dominican Republic, is one of the few places on earth where one can freely swim with humpback whales in their environment, on their terms. Photographer Jodi Frediani has spent sixteen weeks over the past ten years following her passion, snorkeling with and photographing the North Atlantic humpbacks, which congregate on the Silver Bank each year. From January through April, they give birth and raise their calves before making the long voyage up the east coast of North America where they feed off Massachusetts’ “Stellwagen Bank”, and as far north as the waters of Iceland and Greenland for the summer. These whales are also believed to breed along the Silver Bank, though no one has yet been privileged to see them either give birth or mate.
Established as the Silver Bank Humpback Whale Sanctuary in 1986, the Sanctuary was enlarged in 1996 and renamed the Sanctuary for the Marine Mammals of the Dominican Republic. Swimming with the whales is highly regulated with only three vessel permits issued each year.
Individuals fortunate enough to share the whale-swim experience snorkel in close proximity to mothers and calves, may swim with “singers” and sometimes float alongside a pair of “valentines” or “dancers.” Curious calves often approach swimmers for an up-close view and it is hard to discern who is watching whom.
Jodi has captured the full experience in color photographs and will share the excitement, the energy and wonder of these close in-water encounters, while offering a bit of natural history and tales of special whales. Her presentation will include an update on her recent efforts to identify whales from fluke photos and by unique pectoral fin markings and the results of her recent efforts to identify ‘friendly’ humpbacks which participate in the swim experience. You can see some of Jodi’s photography at www.jodifrediani.com
In her day job, Jodi Frediani works as an environmental forest and watershed consultant and animal trainer. Her passions include photography, animals and anything to do with water. She first picked up a camera at age 12 and has been photographing animals ever since. Jodi began swimming with humpback whales in 2002. Much of her spare time is now spent on or in the water, photographing whales. She is assisting with fluke ID in Monterey Bay as well as on the Silver Bank.
February 23rd – Pieter Folkens and Fred Sharpe, The Alaska Whale Foundation: Field Research of the Southeast Alaska Humpback Whale Population
The Alaska Whale Foundation has been conducting field research of the Humpback Whale population in Southeast Alaska since the 1980s. Pieter will give us an exciting presentation on their current research on the study area, prey abundance and distribution, social foraging, whale profiles, the community structure, showing the latest Crittercam results including the first ever video of a nursing humpback calf.
Academic, environmental, and naturalist circles worldwide recognize Pieters’ work as among the finest, most accurate renderings of marine mammals. He is an important illustrator of marine mammal field guides with work published in twenty-eight countries and nineteen languages (from Greenlandic Iñupiat to Malagasy). The accuracy of the illustrations stems from extensive field experience—including lengthy treks up the Amazon River and on Arctic Ice. The quality of the work grows from a consummate attention to detail. Folkens is an accomplished writer, conservationist, and naturalist as well. He spends summers studying humpback whales and orcas in Alaska as a co-founder of the Alaska Whale Foundation. He is a trainer and captain of their water rescue/whale disentanglement team as well as a co-founder of California W.E.T. as a Type I whale disentangler for Northern California. He’s a life member of The Marine Mammal Center. His company — A Higher Porpoise Design Group — is so named to draw attention to one of the most endangered marine mammals, the Vaquita.
He has contributed time and talents to marine research and conservation efforts in West Africa, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Canada, Taiwan. Peru, Brazil Mexico, and at home in California. He has contributed unique scientific specimens currently residing in the collections of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and the California Academy of Sciences. He is the only living artist to illustrate a new marine mammal species for its scientific debut and to have presented academic papers at conferences of the Society for Marine Mammalogy of which he is a charter member and the founder of the Excellence in Science Communication Award.
Folkens’ expertise in marine mammal morphology has appeared in twelve feature films as character designs and anatomically correct stunt doubles as well as in four documentaries. His film work includes George and Gracie for Star Trek IV-The Voyage Home, the killer whales in the Free Willy series, dolphins for seaQuest DSV, White Squall, and others.
March 29th – Lincoln Shaw of Sea Shepard Conservation Society: Gripping Photos from 81 Days at Sea
Lincoln Shaw’s first-person photographic account from Sea Shepherd’s Antarctic Whale Defense Campaign.
Year before last, Lincoln Shaw spent almost 3 months helping disrupt a Japanese whaling fleet in Antarctica as a volunteer for the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS). Working with a courageous team in the Antarctic, sailing the SSCS vessel, Bob Barker, into the path of Japanese whale killing ships and manufacturing processing ship. The Sea Shepherd’s Bob Barker mission was to shut down the illegal Japanese whaling fleet and enforce international conservation law with non-violent direct action techniques to stop the killing of whales. The techniques have garnered worldwide media attention to the illegal killing of thousands of whales through the Animal Planet television series Whale Wars.
Lincoln Shaw, crew member and one of the drivers of the 81 day Bob Barker’s 2010 encounter, will present his first-person photographic account of the Sea Shepherd’s Antarctic Whale Defense Campaign along with photos of his amazing up close encounters with sea lions, elephant seals, albatross, and other Antarctic wildlife.
As a member of the crew on the Bob Barker Lincoln dealt with violent storms in the Southern Ocean, where swells reached as high as 50 feet, sustained winds of 50 – 60mph, confrontations with the Japanese whaling boats, and watching another boat, the Andy Gil, being rammed with men aboard and sunk. Surrounded by frozen beauty, Shaw took photographs throughout this journey, and will tell his story of what happened aboard the Bob Barker.
A crew from Animal Planet Network’s reality show Whale Wars was also on board. The current season features Lincoln and others from the Bob Barker, the Steve Irwin and the Ady Gil confronting the Japanese whaling fleet in the Antarctic whaling sanctuary.
Note: No whales were killed during his watch and no brutal images will be shown during the presentation.
Lincoln will also give up to date information on the San Francisco chapter of Sea Shepard Conservation Society and what is transpiring at this time with the organization and whaling in the Antarctic.
April 26th – “Whales of Gold” movie regarding the Mayoral Family and the Gray Whales of San Ignacio Lagoon
Please join us for an interesting presentation about gray whales by someone who has a special connection and understanding with the people and the gray whales of San Ignacio Lagoon and a creative approach to gray whale conservation.
As a naturalist, he has made several trips to San Ignacio Whale Lagoon in Baja, Mexico. Not only did he study and observe the gray whales there, he also became involved with some of the locals in the village of San Ignacio. He, along with Monterey ACS Chapter Board members Carol Maehr and Esta Lee Albright, initiated an outreach program which purchased educational supplies for the students at the village school. The people there already had a strong conservation ethic with regard to the gray whales that calve and breed there. Jerry felt that if they helped the children of San Ignacio they would be better able to continue whale protection in the future.
Jerry was fundamental in connecting with students in Mexican universities, encouraging them to apply for research grants from across the border. Several grants have been awarded to graduate students attending Mexican universities.
Jerry has long supported conservation through his role as a State Park Ranger for over 20 years. During that time he was the dive master at Point Lobos for nearly 2 decades, was a guiding force for the Point Lobos Docent program, participated in the sea otter translocation project at San Nicolas Island and participated in baleen recovery projects in 1984 and 2000 during which blue and humpback whale baleen was recovered. These projects occurred during a time when there was little baleen available for educational purposes. The recovered humpback baleen is now on display at the Whaler’s Cabin Museum at Point Lobos and the blue whale baleen has been distributed far and wide for educational uses. Jerry now serves on the Point Lobos Association Board of Directors and recently co-chaired the month long celebration of Point Lobos’ 75th Anniversary as a California State Park.
May 31st – Judith Selby Lang and Richard Lang: “The Plastic in Question”
Five questions in search of an answer:
- Where is away, as in- throw away?
- Where did this come from?
- How did it get here?
- Was that once mine?
- What to do about it?
Since 1999, Judith Selby Lang and Richard Lang, as a collaborative team, have gathered plastic pollution from Kehoe Beach, a remote stretch of the Point Reyes National Seashore, carrying the plastic away by the bagful. They combine their love of nature with their interest in science to produce an ongoing series of art works about the oceans and the environment. Their project, One Beach Plastic, has been included in some 40 exhibitions including shows at the SFMOMA Artist Windows, Thoreau Center for Sustainability in San Francisco, the Cummings Gallery at Stanford University, the Bay Model in Sausalito, and the University of San Francisco. http://beachplastic.com
June 28th – Ellen Hines, PhD: “Coastal Marine Mammals along the eastern Gulf coast of Thailand”
A group of international scientists has been documenting relative abundance and distribution of coastal marine mammals in Trat province in the coastal islands along the eastern Gulf coast of Thailand since 2003. This multi-year project is truly interdisciplinary, and combines boat based line transect surveys, photo-id, towed acoustic arrays, and spatially explicit modeling of physical and biological environmental habitat criteria in a geographic information science format, community interviews that address the cultural/traditional knowledge of villagers and assess conservation values, and collaboration with villages and local schools for conservation education. We believe that this approach is needed to contribute effectively to local/regional conservation and possible protected area management schemes for coastal cetaceans, especially in a rapidly developing area with few protected areas.
Ellen Hines teaches marine and coastal GIS at San Francisco State University. Her research on marine mammals includes studies on dugongs in southern Thailand, coastal marine mammals in the eastern Gulf of Thailand, gray whales in British Columbia, and harbor seals in San Francisco Bay. Her research interests include the integrated use of GIS and remote sensing in delineation of marine mammal habitat, issues of conservation in small-scale fisheries, and the development of research protocols for marine mammals in developing countries.
July 26th – Dr. Jonathan Stern: “Climate Change and Gray Whales”
Climate change can occur naturally as well as driven by human activities. The impacts of climate change on large mobile organisms are often difficult to asses or predict. In this presentation, Dr. Jonathan Stern will discuss implications of climate change on the Eastern Pacific Gray Whales. These whales are seasonal migrants along the California Coast and can be seen very close to shore. Research on these whales and their feeding grounds suggest a few scenarios that gray whales may face in the very near future. These scenarios will be the focus of this talk.
Dr. Stern is a lecturer and adjunct professor in the Department of Biology at San Francisco State University. He has studied minke whales since 1980, and is currently a Co-Principal Investigator at Golden Gate Cetacean Research, studying harbor porpoises, bottlenose dolphins and minke whales in local waters of the San francisco Bay. He has also studied gray whales, killer whales, fin whales, humpback whales, pilot whales. Dr Stern was also the first volunteer at the Marine Mammal Center when it first opened in 1975. He worked at NASA/Ames constructing a computer model to investigate the effects of climate change on CO2/O2 exchange in terrestrial plants. He misses playing bass in the Bert Wills Band when he lived in Texas, and playing guitar in “the Jungle Studs” a legendary Marin County band.
August 30th – Chris Pincetich, Ph.D.: “Recent & Historic Impacts of the CA Drift Gillnet Fishery on Marine Mammals & Sea Turtles”
Chris Pincetich from the Turtle Island Restoration Network’s international headquarters in Marin County discusses the harmful and often deadly impacts of the California Drift Gillnet fishery on marine mammals and sea turtles and recent efforts by the Pacific Fisheries Management Council to investigate the possibility of its expansion. This fishery has undergone significant changes over the last three decades to mitigate its deadly impacts on target species such as shark and swordfish, and on non-target species such as sea turtles which are captured and killed as bycatch in this indiscriminant fishery. Drift gillnets have been banned on the high seas, and are banned in Oregon and Washington, but remain legal offshore of California, which is home to one of the most diverse and abundant marine communities in the world. Dr. Pincetich will discuss Turtle Island’s recent efforts to thwart expansion of these “walls of death” in California’s wild ocean.
Chris Pincetich, Outreach & Education Manager Turtle Island Restoration Network, works at the Sea Turtle Restoration Project as part of the Turtle Island Restoration Network campaigning to save sea turtles and protect healthy ocean habitats. Chris’ sea turtle conservation work extends from the Gulf of Mexico, where he fought for increased wildlife rescue efforts during the BP oil spill, to nesting beach patrolling on the Pacific shores of Costa Rica. His passion for promoting ocean conservation has been shared through speaking engagements ranging from international scientific conferences to elementary school classrooms. Chris has a doctorate in Environmental Toxicology from the University of California, Davis and a B.S. in Marine Biology from University of California, Santa Cruz. Studying plastic pollution on our shorelines and in marine endangered species habitat is the focus of Chris’s current work in marine environmental toxicology.
September 27th – Golden Gate Cetacean Research Organization: “They’re Back! The Harbor Porpoises of San Francisco Bay”
This is a good news story about our local cetaceans, and you will hear from members of the research team about harbor porpoises (Phocoena phocoena), which have returned to San Francisco Bay after an absence of 65 years. This presentation will bring us up-to-date with their newest research since their last presentation in January 2011. The fact that porpoises are back foraging in the Bay may say something positive about the health of the ecosystem, so the team has begun a multi-year project to document this population. Normally shy, harbor porpoises are difficult to approach and photograph. Yet, the team has compiled a catalog of over 125 individual animals, observing them from shore and from their boat. The research will assess the porpoises’ abundance, habitat use, social behavior, calving interval, and whether they interact with the other cetacean found in the Bay, the bottlenose dolphin. You will also learn how you can help this project by reporting your own porpoise sightings.
Golden Gate Cetacean Research team members:
Bill is an environmental lawyer and former Executive Director of the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito. His experience includes work as a field observer for a harbor porpoise population study in the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary conducted from 1987-1989.
Jonathan Stern, Ph.D.
Jon is a biology professor at San Francisco State University. He studies minke whales in the Northeast Pacific Ocean, and has conducted research on killer, pilot, fin, humpback and gray whales, as well as bottlenose dolphins. He served as the Conservation Chair for the National Board of Directors for the American Cetacean Society.
Izzy is a marine biologist who has been studying the harbor porpoise population off the local coast for over 30 years. He has also conducted research on humpback whales in California and Costa Rica, and on bottlenose dolphins in Belize. He has worked as a naturalist for the Oceanic Society since 1982.
For more information, visit: www.ggcetacean.org
October 25th – Jeff Pantukhoff: “Whaleman…Bringing Whales and Mankind together to preserve and protect our World”
The Whaleman Foundation is a public IRS 501 (c) (3) non-profit research, education, conservation, and wildlife film production organization dedicated to preserving and protecting our ocean world. Whaleman’s primary mission is to educate key decision makers, while raising public awareness, on the issues that affect cetaceans (dolphins, whales & porpoises) and their critical habitats through our films, research, campaigns, and media outreach.
Since its inception, Whaleman has presented films to the United Nations, Congress, and the International Whaling Commission. In addition, our film footage and photographs have been featured worldwide in over 200 news stories airing on CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, the BBC, and Reuters.
In 1995, award winning marine life photographer, filmmaker, and whale researcher, Jeff Pantukhoff, founded The Whaleman Foundation (Whaleman), a non-profit oceanic research, conservation, and production organization dedicated to preserving and protecting cetaceans (dolphins, whales, and porpoises) and our oceans. The Foundation’s primary mission is to raise public awareness while educating key decision-makers on the issues that effect cetaceans and their critical habitats. Whaleman is accomplishing this through its films, public service announcements, and outreach campaigns.
Since Whaleman’s inception, Jeff has written, directed, and produced 7 films on the critical issues facing cetaceans and their environment including “Gray Magic: The Plight of San Ignacio Lagoon”, “Orcas in Crisis: The Plight of the Southern Resident Orcas”, and “Deadly Sounds in the Silent World” which won “Best Short Film” at the 2003 Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival.
Jeff’s unique images and words have appeared in Ocean Realm, Sport Diver, Discover Diving, and Dive International magazines. His photographs have won several international awards.
Jeff has had the privilege of working with some of the most respected names in the world of underwater filmmaking including Howard and Michele Hall, Bob Talbot, Hardy Jones, and Norbert Wu. Jeff’s film credits include IMAX’s “Into the Deep”, Discovery Channel’s “The Ocean Acrobats” and “Extreme Machines: Raiders of the Deep”, PBS’s “Secrets of the Ocean Realm”, CBS’s Survivor, and Outdoor Life Network’s “Deadly Waters: Whales in Danger”. Jeff’s feature film credits include “Dallas 362”, “Shanghai Kiss”, “Class of 83”, “Whaledreamers” and the Oscar winning documentary “The Cove”. Jeff is currently working on a feature length documentary featuring Hayden Panettiere and their work together over the last 7 years with its focus on the health of our oceans.
Since 1996, Jeff has been researching humpback whales with Dr. Marsha Green of the Ocean Mammal Institute studying their social sounds and behaviors and the impacts that vessel engine noise is having on them. In 2009, Jeff partnered with Dr. Roger Payne of Ocean Alliance and Dr. John Wise of the Wise Laboratory of Environmental and Genetic Toxicology at theUniversityofSouthern Maineto investigate and research chemical contamination in cetaceans.
Jeff’s passion, commitment, and dedication keep him on the forefront of marine related issues and interests worldwide. He strongly believes that international cooperation is the key to solving the many issues that face our marine environment and he demonstrates this by donating the use of his images and film footage while working closely with other environmental organizations working on behalf of marine life including Ocean Alliance, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the Ocean Mammal Institute, and others.
January 20th – Golden Gate Cetacean Research: “They’re Back: The Harbor Porpoises of San Francisco Bay”
The members of the Golden Gate Cetacean Research team (GGCR) will discuss how harbor porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) have returned to San Francisco Bay after an absence of 65 years.
The fact that porpoises are back foraging in the Bay may say something positive about the health of the ecosystem, and (GGCR) has begun a multi-year project to document this population.
Normally shy, harbor porpoises are difficult to approach and photograph. Yet, GGCR has compiled a catalog of over 125 individual animals, observing them from shore and their boat. The research will assess the porpoises’ abundance, habitat use, social behavior, calving interval, and whether they interact with the other cetacean found in the Bay, the bottlenose dolphin.
Attendees will learn how you can help this project by reporting your own porpoise sightings.
Isidore Szczepaniak Izzy is a marine biologist who has been studying the harbor porpoise population off the local coast for over 30 years. He has also conducted research on humpback whales in California and Costa Rica, and on bottlenose dolphins in Belize. He has worked as a naturalist for the Oceanic Society since 1982.
William Keener Bill is an environmental lawyer and former Executive Director of the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito. His experience includes work as a field observer for a harbor porpoise population study in the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary conducted from 1987-1989.
Jonathan Stern, Ph.D. Jon is a biology professor at San Francisco State University. He studies minke whales in the Northeast Pacific Ocean, and has conducted research on killer, pilot, fin, humpback and gray whales, as well as bottlenose dolphins. He served as the Conservation Chair for the National Board of Directors for the American Cetacean Society.
For more information, visit: www.ggcetacean.org
February 24th – Michael Stocker: “Marine Mammal Bio-acoustics and Ocean Noise”
Marine mammals have adapted to the acoustical characteristics of their ocean environment in surprising and amazing ways – using sound to echolocate (bio-sonar) communicate, navigate, and hunt. Bio acoustician Michael Stocker will explore these bio-acoustic modalities in mysticetes (baleen whales) and odontocetes (toothed whales), comparing and contrasting these two families of cetaceans. He will also share his work in marine research and policy focused on the impacts of human generated noise on marine habitat.
March 24th – Mary Jane Schramm and Carol Keiper: “The Whale That Ate Jaws”
The great white shark and the killer whale are the most formidable predators in the sea. These animals are so dangerous that they would never challenge each other…or so we thought. One morning, off the Californian coast, a boatload of tourists witnessed the ultimate clash of the titans: an unexpected killing challenges the great white shark’s supremacy as the ultimate predator when one became prey to a killer whale.
The National Geographic movie, “The Whale That Ate Jaws” examines this extraordinary incident. Featuring amazing underwater footage of two whales feeding on the shark, this documentary reveals an astonishing new perspective on the relationship between the ocean’s two top predators. Schramm and Keiper were on the boat when it happened, and will answer questions from the audience about the fascinating incident.
Mary Jane Schramm is the Media and Public Outreach Specialist with the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. In addition to working as whale watch and natural history cruise naturalist in the waters off California and Mexico, her field experience includes extended research cruises for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Carol Keiper is a marine ecologist specializing in marine birds and mammals. She is a founding board member and researcher with Oikonos Ecosystem Knowledge, (www.oikonos.org), a non-profit organization, and has worked on seabird research and created outreach education activities on plastic pollution prevention for educators and communities.
April 28th – Dr. Jonathan Stern: “There’s No Such Thing As a ‘Minke Whale'”
There is no such thing as a “minke whale.” From behavior to genetics, variability is the name of their game. This presentation will cover topics ranging from minke whales as our neighbors in local marine ecosystems to their status as the most heavily hunted whale species.
Jon Stern is a biology professor at San Francisco State University. He studies minke whales in the Northeast Pacific Ocean, and has conducted research on killer, pilot, fin, humpback and gray whales, as well as bottlenose dolphins. He served as the Conservation Chair for the National Board of Directors for the American Cetacean Society.
May 2011 – Kathi Koontz: “Entanglements – Large and Small”
What do adrenalin and patience or whaling and rescue have in common? They are related to capturing marine mammals with entanglements and removing those entanglements. This presentation will highlight disentanglements of whales and sea lions in our local waters.
Kathi Koontz is a responder for the National Marine Fisheries Service’s Whale Entanglement Team, as well as an Assistant Supervisor on The Marine Mammal Center’s water rescue team. By day, Kathi leads innovative technology teams as a project manager at the California Academy of Sciences.
June 30th – David McGuire, MPH, Director & Founder Sea Stewards: “It’s all about the Ocean”
David McGuire is the founder of the non-profit Sea Stewards, which produces media for ocean conservation. Sea Stewards is participating in a shark research program on the San Francisco Bay and has initiated a new sharks awareness advocacy campaign in the State of California. We depend on the ocean for our food, the air we breath, our commerce, the weather and the future. Sea Stewards celebrates the wonder of the Sea and generates awareness on the threats facing ocean life, and how humans can protect ocean life. We are causing serious harm to our world ocean and ocean life. Now is the time to act to reverse the tide of degradation.
Because sharks are critical for Ocean Health, Sea Stewards promotes Shark Conservation through research, education and advocacy. Sea Stewards has taken a stand against Unsustainable Shark Fishing.
An avid cinematographer and ocean voyager, David McGuire is the founder of the non-profit Sea Stewards, which produces media for ocean conservation. Active in shark conservation, Sea Stewards is participating in a shark research program on the San Francisco Bay and has initiated a new sharks awareness advocacy campaign in the State of California. As professional Captain, Dive Master and filmmaker, David has explored the world ocean on numerous sailing voyages collecting media with an emphasis on ocean awareness.
David is also the writer, producer and underwater cinematographer of the award winning documentary Sharks: Stewards of the Reef, and was writer and cinematographer on a film on California Marine Protected Areas, and Palmyra Atoll. David has written, filmed and produced a new documentary on the Sharks of San Francisco Bay and has recently worked as cameraman on feature films such as 180 South and A Beautiful Wave. As Field Associate with the California Academy of Sciences, David conducts a shark research program that includes population studies, movements and fisheries impacts. He also sits on several boards of non-profits including The Green Film Festival and the Cordell Bank Marine Sanctuary Association.
July 28th – Christopher Pincetich, Sea Turtle Restoration Project: “Saving the Hawaiian False Killer Whales”
Dr. Chris Pincetich from the Turtle Island Restoration Network‘s international headquarters in Marin County discusses efforts to save the Hawaiian insular population of false killer whales from the brink of extinction. These beautiful and intelligent marine mammals are jeopardized by deadly industrial fishing and threats to their habitat in the waters close to the Hawaiian islands. He will also discuss Turtle Island’s international conservation efforts to save endangered sea turtles, protect Gulf of Mexico sea turtles from future oil spills, and fight against the rise of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans.
Chris Pincetich works at the Sea Turtle Restoration Project of the Turtle Island Restoration Network campaigning to save sea turtles, marine mammals, and protect marine biodiversity. He has a doctorate in Environmental Toxicology from the University of California, Davis and a B.S. in Marine Biology from University of California, Santa Cruz. His past research work includes kelp forest ecology studies, pesticide toxicology studies with salmon, and extensive monitoring of wastewater and storm water runoff throughout California. Studying plastic pollution on our shorelines and in marine endangered species habitat is the focus of Chris’s current work in marine environmental toxicology.
August 25th – Lincoln Shaw, Sea Shephard Society (Cancelled due to Illness)
September 29th – Mark J. Palmer, Associate Director of Earth Island Institute’s International Marine Mammal Project: “Save Japan Dolphins Campaign to End the Slaughter of Dolphins in Japan”
After just returning from Taiji on September 1 for the opening of the next whale hunting season, Mark will talk about Earth Island Institute’s campaign to end the slaughter of dolphin in Japan.
Mark J. Palmer is Associate Director of Earth Island Institute’s International Marine Mammal Project, focusing on protecting whales and dolphins, with emphasis on legislative advocacy, legal research, grassroots organizing, and media relations. He is also Director of Earth Island Institute’s Wildlife Alive Subproject, dedicated to protecting wildlife and wild places throughout California and the West.
Palmer graduated with a BA in Zoology from the University of California at Berkeley, and spent two years of graduate work at San Francisco State University in the Department of Biology. While at UC Berkeley, Palmer founded and led the Endangered Species Committee of California.
Palmer has since served as Regional Vice President for the Sierra Club for Northern California and Nevada; Chairman of the Sierra Club’s National Wildlife Committee; and Chairman of the Sierra Club’s Arctic Campaign Steering Committee, which successfully blocked oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge during the Reagan and George H.W. Bush Administrations. He has been Executive Director of the Whale Center (1986-1990) and the Mountain Lion Foundation (1990-1995), before coming to Earth Island Institute. His articles have appeared in several national publications, including Sierra Magazine, Pacific Discovery (now Wild California), USA Today, and Earth Island Journal.
Mark Palmer has more than 39 years of experience lobbying in the California State Capitol in Sacramento and in the U.S. Congress in Washington DC on wildlife and wilderness issues, as well as international experience with the Japanese-American Environmental Conference, the International Whaling Commission, and the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission. He is editor of the daily newsletter ECO distributed at International Whaling Commission meetings.
(See http://www.earthisland.org/immp/ for more information on this campaign.)
October 23rd – Flip Nicklin: “Among Giants, A Life with Whales”
Join Golden Gate Cetacean Research, SF Bay American Cetacean Society chapter, Whale Trust, and Fish Restaurant for an incredible slide show, lecture, and book signing with Flip Nicklin as he discusses his award winning book Among Giants, A Life with Whales.
Charles “Flip” Nicklin is widely regarded as the world’s leading cetacean photographer. He is the lead whale photographer and marine mammal specialist for the National Geographic Society, which has featured his photos and audio tracks of humpback and killer whales in numerous magazines and television specials since 1976. Flip has more than 5,500 dives under his belt. His ability to free dive to depths of up to 90 feet (27 meters) allows him to swim near enough to record whale behavior without interrupting it.
He is a cofounder of Whale Trust and the author of several books including National Geographic book, Face to Face With Dolphins. Since 1996, Nicklin has worked with Jim Darling in a study of humpback whales.
2010 Presentations and Conference
“Whales 2010: Inspiring a new Decade of Conservation”
American Cetacean Society’s 12th International Conference: November 12th in Monterey, CA
- Where We Are Large Whales – Habitat “Hotspots”: The Next Decade of Cetacean Conservation
Porpoises in Peril/Dolphins in Distress
- A vibrant cetacean photo contest
- Art displays
- Saturday night banquet where participants can meet and discuss issues with leaders in the field
- Learn the latest on the largest, the smallest, those recovering and those threatened, and the most critical conservation challenges for cetaceans today
October 28th – Lincoln Shaw: “Defending Whales in Antarctica”
Lincoln Shaw’s first-person photographic account from Sea Shepherd’s Antarctic Whale Defense Campaign
Earlier this year, Lincoln Shaw spent almost 3 months helping disrupt a Japanese whaling fleet in Antarctica as a volunteer for the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS). As a part of the crew on the Bob Barker, he dealt with violent storms in the Southern Ocean, where swells reached as high as 50 feet, sustained winds of 50 to 60 mph, confrontations with the Japanese whaling boats, and watching another boat, the Ady Gil, being rammed and sunk. Surrounded by frozen beauty, Shaw took photographs throughout this journey, and will tell his story of what happened aboard the Bob Barker.
A crew from Animal Planet Network’s reality show “Whale Wars” was also on board. The current season features Lincoln and others from the Bob Barker, the Steve Irwin and the Ady Gil confronting the Japanese whaling fleet in the Antarctic whaling sanctuary.
NOTE: No whales were killed during his watch and no brutal images will be shown during this presentation.
September 30th – Cheryl McCormick, ACS National Executive Director: “What Really Happened in Morocco?”
Please join us at our first meeting of the newly revived American Cetacean Society San Francisco Bay Area Chapter at the Pacifica Library on Thursday, September 30 at 6:30pm. The Executive Director of the American Cetacean Society will be speaking about the recent proposal to suspend the moratorium on commercial whaling at this year’s meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and gives a compelling account of all the highlights, lowlights, scandals, triumphs, and setbacks of the IWC meeting in Agadir, Morocco, held in June.