SPLASH is an international cooperative effort involving researchers from the United States, Japan, Russia, Mexico, Canada, the Philippines, Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua and Guatemala. The aims of the three-year project are to understand the population structure of humpback whales across the North Pacific and to assess the status, trends in abundance and potential human impacts to this population.
From 2004 to 2006 (three winter breeding seasons and two summer feeding seasons), tail fluke photographs (for individual identification), skin biopsy samples (for genetic and pollutant analyses) and photographs of flanks and tail stocks (for human impact assessment) were collected from thousands of whales across the North Pacific. For more detailed information about the SPLASH project visit: http://splashcatalog.org/
The Cetacean Conservation and Genetics Laboratory is conducting the primary genetic analyses associated with the SPLASH projects, referred to as gene SPLASH. Our interests are:
This research is funded by a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and the MMI Endowment.
Initial results of the ocean-wide survey of of genetic diversity and population differentiation are included in the final contract report for geneSPLASH.
Baker, C.S., D. Steel, J. Calambokidis, J. Barlow, A.M. Burdin, P.J. Clapham, E.A. Falcone, J.K.B. Ford, C.M. Gabriele, U. Gozález-Peral, R. LeDuc, D. Mattila, T.J. Quinn, L. Rojas-Bracho, J.M. Straley, B.L. Taylor, J. Urbán-R., M. Vant, P. Wade, D. Weller, B.H. Witteveen, K. Wynne and M. Yamaguchi. 2008. geneSPLASH: An initial, ocean-wide survey of mitochondrial (mt) DNA diversity and population structure among humpback whales in the North Pacific. Final report for Contract 2006-0093-008 to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. [pdf]
Regional results for the Gulf of Alaska were included in,
Witteveen, B.H., J.M. Straley, E. Chenoweth, C.S. Baker, J. Barlow, C. Matkin, C.M. Gabriele, J. Neilson, D. Steel, O. von Ziegesar, A.G. Andrews and A. Hirons. 2011. Using movements, genetics and trophic ecology to differentiate inshore from offshore aggregations of humpback whales in the Gulf of Alaska. Endangered Species Research 14:217-225.