issues and experts

SFU research on Southern Resident Killer Whales aims to prevent ship collisions

July 24, 2019

Ruth Joy, School of Environmental Science, 604.215.4415, 
Braden McMillan, SFU Communications and Marketing, 778.782.3210,

Ruth Joy, an SFU statistician and specialist in quantitative marine mammal science, is available to speak about the development of a new tool to alert mariners when the direction of travel of Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW) may overlap with their ship’s path. To monitor the whales’ presence, Joy’s team will be using underwater hydrophone nodes located adjacent to shipping lanes in the Salish Sea, and will also deploy movable acoustic buoys. The team hopes to complete the federally funded, $1-million project by 2022 with the goal of improving SRKW safety in B.C.’s Salish Sea. 

Joy is also available to speak about a recently released study that demonstrates the potential benefits a marine vessel slowdown can have on SRKW. The study, published by Joy and a team of researchers, documented a trial 61-day vessel slowdown in the Salish Sea. It found that underwater noise reductions in and adjacent to shipping lanes led to direct benefits to SRKW in foraging hotspots. 

Ruth Joy can be contacted at 604.215.4415,

About Simon Fraser University:

As Canada's engaged university, SFU is defined by its dynamic integration of innovative education, cutting-edge research and far-reaching community engagement. SFU was founded more than 50 years ago with a mission to be a different kind of university—to bring an interdisciplinary approach to learning, embrace bold initiatives, and engage with communities near and far. Today, SFU is Canada’s leading comprehensive research university and is ranked one of the top universities in the world. With campuses in British Columbia’s three largest cities – Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey – SFU has eight faculties, delivers almost 150 programs to over 35,000 students, and boasts more than 155,000 alumni in 143 countries around the world.