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 understanding how they interact with their environment and human activities.
Using satellite-monitored radio tags to determine the distribution and critical habitats of endangered whales.
Exploring the genome of whales and dolphins to understand the past, assess the present and conserve the future.
Ecology, behavioral physiology, and conservation biology of pinnipeds.
Documenting occurrences and investigating the causes of marine mammal strandings in Oregon.
MMI’s Jim Rice, coordinator of the Oregon Marine Mammal Stranding Network, and collaborator Debbie Duffield from Portland State University, have been busy performing necropsies on dolphins that stranded along the Oregon coast in late February. Tissue samples have been sent to OSU’s School of Veterinary Medicine, and others, for analysis. The causes of death are still undetermined. (The full article can be read in the Newport News-Times.)
A new paper in Marine Mammal Science, co-authored by MMI’s Scott Baker and Debbie Steel, describes how genetic identification of dried whale meat from a remote Pacific island helped to rediscover a new species of the rare Mesoplodon beaked whale. With the addition of Mesoplodon hotaula, there are now 22 species of the beaked whales, yet this family remains one of the most poorly described of all vertebrates.
(See also: http://dna-barcoding.blogspot.com/2014/02/an-old-new-whale-species.html)
Rare blue whales have been spotted by NIWA scientists on a research expedition in the South Taranaki Bight. NIWA marine ecologist Dr Leigh Torres is leading a team of blue whale researchers in the Bight on a journey that aims to collect critical data to enhance understanding of the blue whale population in the region. In the past week, the team has observed nearly 50 blue whales.
The Oregon State University Marine Mammal Institute is a collaborating sponsor of this research. Dr. Torres will be joining the MMI faculty in spring 2014.