Marine Mammal Institute

The OSU Marine Mammal Institute is a multi-disciplinary facility incorporating the work of academics from engineering, genetics, agriculture, aquatics, ecology, veterinary medicine, biology, and communications. As the only institute of its kind, the Marine Mammal Institute combines the efforts of top researchers from around the world to continue the legacy of discovery and preservation of critical habitats of target species and to understand how those species interact with their environment and human activities.

Whale Telemetry Group

Whale Telemetry Group (WTG)

Using satellite-monitored radio tags to determine the distribution and critical habitats of endangered whales.

Cetacean Conservation Genetics Lab

Cetacean Conservation and Genomics Laboratory (CCGL)

Exploring the genomes of whales and dolphins to understand the past, assess the present, and conserve the future.

Pinniped Ecology Applied Research Lab

Pinniped Ecology Applied Research Laboratory (PEARL)

Ecology, behavioral physiology, and conservation biology of pinnipeds.

Oregon Marine Mammal Stranding Network

Oregon Marine Mammal Stranding Network (OMMSN)

Documenting occurrences and investigating the causes of marine mammal strandings in Oregon.

News and Events

Longest mammal migration raises questions about distinct species

A team of scientists from the United States and Russia has documented the longest migration of a mammal ever recorded – a round-trip trek of nearly 14,000 miles by a whale identified as a critically endangered species that raises questions about its status. The researchers used satellite-monitored tags to track three western North Pacific gray whales from their primary feeding ground off Russia’s Sakhalin Island across the Pacific Ocean and down the West Coast of the United States to Baja, Mexico. One of the tagged whales, dubbed Varvara, visited the three major breeding areas for eastern gray whales, which are found off North America and are not endangered. Results of their study are being published this week by the Royal Society in the journal Biology Letters.

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Using drones to hunt for the oceans' plastic pollution

While it’s too early to have detailed results and analyses from the samples taken or the drone surveys so far, Ari Friedlaender of the Marine Mammal Institute of Oregon State University was able to explain how the drones will help. Friedlaender and his colleague, David Johnston, from the Practice of Marine Conservation and Ecology at Duke University, are two of the American scientists involved in the project. They and their teams are responsible for programming, transmitting and analysing the data collected by the aerial drones.

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Do whales have graveyards where they prefer to die?

"If you look at the geomorphology of that area, it's highly productive and there are a lot of animals," says Ari Friedlaender of Oregon State University in Newport. So the whales might have been lured by the promise of food. Once in, they may have struggled to find the way out of the treacherous waters.

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