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MMI scientists present at Sharing the Coast conference

The Marine Mammal Institute will be well represented at this year's Sharing the Coast Conference in Waldport, OR. Leigh Torres will be providing the keynote address at 6:30 pm, Friday, March 3, 2017. Dr. Torres will discuss the latest in research into the lives of gray whales and other marine megafauna inhabiting our coastal waters and ways in which citizens can help scientists monitor whale populations. Her presentation is free and open to the public.

On Saturday, March 4, Jim Rice, coordinator of the Oregon Marine Mammal Stranding Network, will give an overview of the state’s marine mammal populations and explain how citizens can engage in tracking these populations through reporting stranded animals, alive or dead. The theme of the conference is citizen science.

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Whale lovers can support Marine Mammal Institute with new license plate

A new license plate featuring a gray whale and her calf likely will be available to Oregon drivers by summer 2017. This project is sponsored by the Oregon State University Marine Mammal Institute and enthusiasm for it is running high, said Bruce Mate, director of the institute. “Everybody I’ve shown the plate design to has loved it,” said Mate, whose institute will receive $35 from the Oregon Department of Transportation every time a vehicle owner spends $40 to buy the plate. The money will go toward whale research, graduate student education and public outreach. The institute needs to turn in an “expression of interest” from at least 3,000 vehicle owners stating they plan to buy the plate.

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New tag revolutionizes whale research -- and makes them partners in science

A sophisticated new type of tag on whales that can record data every second for hours, days, and weeks at a time provides a view of whale behavior, biology and travels never before possible, scientists from the Marine Mammal Institute at Oregon State University reported today in a new study. This “Advanced Dive Behavior,” or ADB tag, has allowed researchers to expand their knowledge of whale ecology to areas deep beneath the sea, over thousands of miles of travel, and outline their interaction with the prey they depend upon for food. It has even turned whales into scientific colleagues to help understand ocean conditions and climate change.

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New forecast tool helps ships avoid blue whale hotspots

A new paper describes how blue whale tracking data and oceanographic information can be used for near-real-time predictive locations of blue whales off the West Coast to help reduce risk of ship strikes. The WhaleWatch maps use years of data collected by Bruce Mate and the Whale Telemetry Group at the OSU Marine Mammal Institute.

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Whales on center stage in Newport

Leigh Torres, an assistant professor at the OSU Marine Mammal Institute, will discuss some of her recent work with gray whales along the Oregon Coast during the 10 a.m. Saturday [12/3/16] meeting of the Oregon Chapter of the American Cetacean Society in Newport, Oregon. The meeting will be at the Newport Public Library. Admission is free.

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MMI Hiring for Business Manager/Fiscal Coordinator

The Marine Mammal Institute at Oregon State University is currently hiring for a full-time Business Manager/Fiscal Coordinator at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, Oregon. This position reports to and assists the Director, Associate Director, and Principal Investigators with the daily coordination and management of the Institute’s business and finance operations. To apply, please visit https://jobs.oregonstate.edu/ and search for position #P00896UF, or click on the link above. Closes December 14, 2016.

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Ari Friedlaender's whale tagging research featured in Nat Geo documentary

In March 2016, MMI Associate Professor Ari Friedlaender was joined by a National Geographic film crew in Antarctica. The incredible footage will premiere on Tuesday, November 15, on the National Geographic channel. Dr. Friedlaender’s research will be featured in all six episodes of the new documentary series, Continent 7. [VIDEO]

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Study finds local fidelity key to ocean-wide recovery of humpback whales

Humpback whales can migrate thousands of miles to reach feeding grounds each year, but a new study concludes that their fidelity to certain local habitats – as passed on through the generations – and the protection of these habitats are key to understanding the ultimate recovery of this endangered species. The study documents the local recruitment of whales in Glacier Bay and Icy Strait in Alaska over a 30-year period. The researchers found that contemporary whales that utilize these rich feeding grounds overwhelmingly are descendants of whales that previously used the area. Results of the study are being published this week in the journal Endangered Species Research.

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New app features Ari Friedlaender's Antarctic research

WWF has created a unique multi-media and interactive app that engages people about the current state of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.  It is replete with sections dedicated to sharing stories and reports on Antarctic science and conservation in action. One section, "whale research above and below the ice," tells about Ari Friedlaender’s work in Antarctica to uncover some of the mysteries surrounding minke whales and how these poorly known whales survive in a changing environment.

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New technologies – and a dash of whale poop – help scientists monitor whale health

A lot of people think what Leigh Torres has done this summer and fall would qualify her for a spot on one of those “World’s Worst Jobs” lists. After all, the Oregon State University marine ecologist follows gray whales from a small inflatable boat in the rugged Pacific Ocean and waits for them to, well, poop. Then she and her colleagues have about 20-30 seconds to swoop in behind the animal with a fine mesh net and scoop up some of the prized material before it drifts to the ocean floor.

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