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Southern Exposure: An Antarctic Adventure

In a virtual field trip, “Southern Exposure,” viewers can join Dr. Markus Horning and his colleagues as they investigate how changing sea ice conditions may impact ice-dependent polar seals, like Antarctica's Weddell seals. The website was produced by the education department of the Alaska Sea Life Center and includes multiple videos, classroom activities, lesson plans, and associated material for school teachers.

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Mystery of 'ocean quack sound' solved

A new paper, co-authored by MMI's Ari Friedlaender, reveals that the mysterious "bio-duck" sound that has stumped researchers for decades belongs to Antarctic minke whales.

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Scientists use DNA to identify species killed during early whaling days

“From a preliminary look at the DNA sequences, it appears that there was a high level of genetic diversity in these whales, which is what we’d expect from pre-exploitation samples,” said Angela Sremba, a doctoral student in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at Oregon State University and lead author on the study.

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Taking the Measure of Seals and Those Who Study Them

In a new article in Terra magazine, Mee-ya Monnin talks about the trials and joys of working in the coldest place on earth. Mee-ya is working on her undergraduate honors thesis in Dr. Markus Horning's Pinniped Ecology Applied Research Lab.

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Spate of cetacean strandings keeps Marine Mammal Stranding Network busy along central coast

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.)

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Dried Meat 'Resurrects' Lost Species of Whale

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)

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Scientists spot rare blue whales off New Zealand coast

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.

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A whale’s tale: Fighting for survival

Mate is now a professor in the department of fisheries and wildlife and is the director of the Marine Mammal Institute at Hatfield Marine Science Center.

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New species of river dolphin born of Amazon rapids

"It's exciting evidence for a previously unrecognised species within the ancient lineage of Amazon river dolphins," says Scott Baker of Oregon State University in Newport. "Yet it's already rare, and its habitat is now fragmented by dams."

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Psst. Wanna Buy a Whale?

Second, if trade in whale meat is legalized, it could be difficult to identify black market meat. Monitoring and enforcement would be a challenge. "These problems are not easily solved," adds Scott Baker of Oregon State University, Corvallis. His molecular sleuthing of whalemeat markets has shows a large trade in illegal or unreported whale products. A return to commercial whaling, he suspects, would provide even greater incentives for illegal hunting.

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