Ruth Joy

Title: Orcas on the Move: Building an Operational Forecasting System for Southern Resident Killer Whales in the Salish Sea
Friday, November 10th, 2023
Time: 1:30PM (PDT)
Location: ASB 10900

Abstract: The Killer Whale, or Orcinus Orca, is the world’s largest predator and a cultural icon for much of the Pacific Northwest. In the past two decades, the Southern Resident Killer Whale population has declined by more than 25 percent, putting the population at risk of extinction. Much of the whale’s habitat in our local waters overlaps with the shipping lanes that connect the Pacific Ocean with ports in southern British Columbia and northern Washington State. The continued decline in SRKW has been linked to disturbance from commercial vessels servicing our regional ports. In recent years, citizen science networks connected through social media are providing real-time sighting information while substantial infrastructure investment has resulted in real-time underwater acoustic monitoring stations. This had opened the possibility of forecasting systems to fuse these real-time data streams with movement models to predict future trajectories of whales. This seminar will present recent progress in building the detection/classification algorithms, real-time movement models, and computing infrastructure for real-time mitigation of commercial vessel impacts within SRKW critical habitat.