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.
Scott Baker, associate director of the Marine Mammal Institute at Oregon State University, said genetic identification showed that, in many cases, the mothers of calves were missing entirely from groups of whales that died in the stranding. This separation of mothers and calves suggests that strong kinship bonds are being disrupted prior to the actual stranding – potentially playing a role in causing the event.
Scott Baker, Associate Director of Oregon State University's Marine Mammal Institute and a co-author said: "These genetic estimates greatly improve our understanding of the genetic diversity of humpback whales, something we need to understand the impact of past hunting and to manage whales in the uncertain future."
One of the highlights of the two training sessions they attended in Newport was the presentations by Dr. Bruce Mate, director of the Oregon State University Marine Mammal Institute, Flugum said.“That’s one of the big perks of being a volunteer is being in on one of his sessions,” she said. “Bruce Mate is a world-renowned gray whale researcher, and he’s an individual that gets so excited about what he’s talking about, and at times, he’s in tears.”