PRE-CONFERENCE WORKSHOPS

Workshop sign-up will be available via conference registration menu on Monday, June 17!

Conference-affiliated workshops are half day, full day, and two day events that are proposed and organised by individual researchers. SMM2024 workshops will be held on Saturday, November 9th and Sunday, November 10th, 2024, during the weekend just prior to the conference.

Workshops are open to all conference registrants and offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

WANT TO SIGN UP FOR A WORKSHOP?

Registration is mandatory for workshop attendance. Even if you plan solely to attend a workshop without the conference, registration and payment for the one or two days of workshop participation are still necessary. Please choose the appropriate registration option, such as "Workshop ONLY," on the registration form. To secure your place, you must register and pay for your chosen workshop. Workshop fees are as follows: $50 for half-day, $100 for full-day, and $200 for two-day workshops.

The registration form options for workshops are exclusively for in-person participation. Virtual participation (if offered) in workshops varies and is coordinated by individual workshop organizers. Hence, if you intend to participate virtually, kindly reach out to the workshop contacts listed under each workshop.

DETAILED WORKSHOP DESCRIPTIONS

SATURDAY & SUNDAY
(2 DAY WORKSHOPS)

8:30-17:30

Workshop Leader (1):
Isabella Reeves
Flinders University
isabella.reeves@flinders.edu.au
Workshop Leader (2):
Sebastian Alvarez-Costes
University of Otago
sebas.alco@gmail.com

Workshop Summary:

Spanning two days, the Fourth Marine Mammal Genomics Workshop (G4) aims to spark innovation, enhance global collaboration, and steer the future of marine mammal genomics.

G4’s comprehensive exploration will delve into diverse research themes, including evolution, conservation, diseases, novel methods, genomics on a shoestring, and integrating genomics with traditional knowledge. The workshop will feature traditional presentations and panels alongside unique training and networking opportunities. Innovative sessions like “Bioinformatics Problems Speed Dating” and a project-specific problem-solving panel will expedite collaboration and knowledge sharing, bridging the gap between seasoned experts and emerging researchers.

G4 is committed to addressing field challenges, fostering global engagement with renowned researchers, facilitating meaningful networking opportunities, and offering practical solutions. Inclusivity is a cornerstone of G4, reflected in efforts such as diverse global speaker representation, student scholarships favouring applicants from the global South, and prioritizing First Nations participation.

We are pleased to announce secured funding from the American Genetics Association and are actively sourcing additional funds to support invited speakers and students. If you are interested in receiving student funding for the workshop, please fill out the ‘Student Grant’ google form here which will close August 15th. Please note that priority will be given to students from the global South. 

Do you think your research is pushing our field forward? If you are interested in presenting at the workshop, please register your interest in presenting using ‘Speakers form’ here.

Virtual Attendance: NOT AVAILABLE

SATURDAY
(FULL DAY WORKSHOPS)

8:30-17:30

Workshop Leader (1):
Amy M Van Cise
University of Washington
avancise@gmail.com
Workshop Leader (2):
Kim Parsons
NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center
kim.parsons@noaa.gov

Workshop Description: 

The 3rd Marine Mammal eDNA workshop will bring together early-career and established researchers interested in applying emerging techniques in environmental DNA (eDNA) to marine mammal species. Environmental DNA approaches to characterize organismal DNA from marine and freshwater have shown promise for accelerating marine conservation, especially for cryptic, rare, and logistically challenging species. Following the success of the first two eDNA workshops held at SMM, significant research effort has resulted in novel insight and growth of the field over the last two years. Researchers will share methods developments and lessons learned from recent eDNA work and explore priority areas for further development in the next two years. Participants will then engage in small-group discussion via breakout groups on relevant topics such as experimental design and best practices for eDNA sampling in the field, important considerations for eDNA sample processing, developing methods to move toward quantitative metabarcoding and data analysis, and developing methods for the use of eDNA beyond species detection – e.g. abundance estimation or stock identification, and others based on a pre-survey of participant interests. Throughout the workshop, we aim to broadly address both the challenges and opportunities that eDNA affords for marine mammal science.

Virtual Attendance: YES

For more information on virtual attendance, please contact Amy M Van Cise (avancise@gmail.com).

Workshop Leader (1):
Sarah Mesnick
Southwest Fisheries Science Center, NOAA Fisheries, La Jolla, CA, USA
Workshop Leader (2):
Mauricio Cantor
Marine Mammal Institute, Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Sciences, Oregon State University. 2030 SE Marine Science Drive, Newport OR, 97365, USA
mauricio.cantor@oregonstate.edu
 

Workshop Description:

The Cachalote Consortium was created in 2005 to bring together researchers from multiple disciplines to promote understanding of global patterns of sperm whale biology, ecology, culture and conservation. These Consortium gatherings provide a forum for presenting research progress, exchanging ideas and standardizing methodologies, identifying knowledge gaps, inspiring new collaborations, and fostering next generation scientists dedicated to studying sperm whales. In parallel with the goals of SMM 2024, we seek contributions that will stimulate dialogue at the intersection of culture and conservation of sperm whales and their societies, including discussion of research techniques (traditional and novel) that promote understanding at multiple scales: social, regional and global. The workshop will provide a special opportunity to explore our current understanding of sperm whales, a socially and culturally complex nomadic species, and the evolving dimensions of human interactions affecting them. We invite scientists, conservationists, students and policy makers alike. The program will involve a series of short presentations, with ample opportunity for discussion.

Virtual Attendance: YES

For more information on virtual attendance, please contact Sarah Mesnick (sarah.mesnick@noaa.gov).

Workshop Leader (1):
Adrian Gleiss
Murdoch University
a.gleiss@murdoch.edu.au
Workshop Leader (2):
Cortney Watt
Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Winnipeg, MB R3T 2N6, Canada
cortney.watt@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Workshop Summary:

First Nations and Indigenous peoples are the first custodians of the lands and waters. They are also the first knowledge holders, accumulating vast amount of information about the natural world through generations of lived experience. First Nations and Indigenous Cultural Ecological Knowledge often includes a deep understanding of patterns and processes of the natural world, observed and passed between generations since time immemorial. Marine mammals play an integral part in the lives of many First Nations and Indigenous peoples, ranging from mythological/totemic importance to food security. Therefore, First Nations and Indigenous people often have a keen interest in the custodianship of marine mammal populations. However, First Nations and Indigenous peoples should not only be considered stakeholders of marine mammal research; the immense knowledge held by many cultures provides extraordinary opportunity to advance marine mammal science through genuine partnership and collaboration.

This workshop invites experienced researchers/managers/rangers/community members that work in cross-cultural collaborations to share their experience on forming genuine partnerships between western scientists/First Nations and Indigenous peoples. We also invite participants that wish to learn how to better engage with culturally diverse partners to create better outcomes. We wish to hear from both indigenous and non-indigenous participants in a culturally safe and welcoming environment to learn from one another on how we can progress marine mammal science working side-by-side.

Virtual Attendance: NOT AVAILABLE

Workshop Leader (1):
Outi Tervo
Senior research scientist, Greenland Institute of Natural Resources
outi@ghsdk.dk
Workshop Leader (2):
Rikke Guldborg Hansen
Senior adviser, Greenland Institute of Natural Resources
rgh@ghsdk.dk

Workshop Description:

Estimating the abundance of small populations of marine mammals poses unique challenges. Traditional survey methods often struggle to detect individuals, leading to biased estimates and uncertainty in population assessments. Quantification of abundance of small marine mammal populations is, however, crucial for effective conservation and management.

In addition, small populations are inherently vulnerable to stochastic events, such as disease outbreaks or changes in their environment, which can have a major impact on their viability and resilience. They are also vulnerable to anthropogenic disturbance and a conservative management approach would be to deny all human access to areas occupied by small, endangered marine mammal populations. Nonetheless, nature tourism and citizen science projects can have a major positive effect on conservation efforts by raising awareness among the public on conservation needs, and by providing economical possibilities to local communities. These economic opportunities can be used to fund conservation efforts directly, and an improved local economy can also shape the perception of marine mammals by local communities.

This workshop aims to provide a comprehensive overview of various methodologies that can be used to collect data for estimating population sizes and trends of small, endangered marine mammal populations that can aid management and conservation. We aim to cover advantages and disadvantages associated with methods such as passive acoustic monitoring, ship-based and aerial surveys, genetic and close-kin mark-recapture, photo-identification, and eDNA-based monitoring as well as the latest statistical developments. In addition, we will explore innovative approaches and best practices in marine mammal conservation involving sustainable nature tourism and citizen science projects. This workshop aims to foster interdisciplinary collaboration and knowledge exchange among researchers, practitioners, and stakeholders involved in marine mammal conservation and management efforts.

Virtual Attendance: NOT AVAILABLE

Workshop Leader:
Dr Krista Nicholson
Murdoch University
k.nicholson@murdoch.edu.au

Workshop Description:

Entanglement and ingestion of recreational fishing gear pose a threat to coastal and estuarine dolphins as they often occupy areas that are also heavily used by fishers. Dolphins that are affected may suffer amputation of body parts, systemic infection, restricted movement and an inability to forage, feed or engage in other normal behaviour. Beyond compromised welfare, dolphin population viability may also be affected when fishing gear related mortality is high, and demographic changes in an affected population are driven by birth and death processes. Although dolphin entanglements share characteristics globally, the response to incidents vary greatly. This workshop brings together marine mammal biologists, veterinarians, wildlife managers and organizations responsible for dolphin incident response to establish balanced response decision making criteria for dolphin entanglements. A set of presentations will be used to characterize common entanglement scenarios and lessons learnt from them. Guided discussion sessions are then held to define what state of preparedness to dolphin entanglements looks like and costs, develop a decision-making tree for typical scenarios for when to intervene and when not to, and to discuss best approaches and practices for intervention. Each decision-making step will be discussed with consideration given to animal welfare and health, population viability, resource availability and responders’ safety. Time will also be allocated to discuss legislative and policy frameworks that establish response processes and responsibilities. This workshop will produce a written report, aimed to be published in a peer reviewed journal, that captures knowledge and experience that is currently unpublished and therefore largely unavailable for decision makers and those responding to dolphin entanglements. Workshop participants will leave the workshop better equipped to make response decisions to dolphin entanglements and to develop response protocols at their place of work following current best practices.

Virtual Attendance: NOT AVAILABLE

Workshop Leader (1):
Leanne Rosser
Mie University, Mutsu Bay Dolphin Research
leannerachaelrosser@gmail.com
Workshop Leader (2):
Erin Ashe
Oceans Initiative
erin@oceansinitiative.org

Workshop Description:

The genus Lagenorhynchus has been under taxonomic re-evaluation for decades. Resolving the uncertain phylogenetic relationships among Lagenorhynchus and related Cephalorhynchus, and Lissodelphis genera has been challenging as many species belonging to these genera are understudied. Other than the well-studied dusky dolphin, few of the Lagenorhynchus species are studied as living individuals, which results in data gaps at the level of populations. A highly productive workshop (“Rethinking Lagenorhynchus”) was held at the 21st Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals (San Francisco, California, December 2015) to bring together researchers working on Lagenorhynchus around the world. The workshop resulted in a publication that proposed a formal reclassification of the genus, and integrated genetic, morphometric, and acoustic lines of evidence to recommend placing four Lagenorhynchus species back into the forgotten genus, Sagmatias (Vollmer et al., 2019). To date, taxonomic revision has not been accepted, pending more genetic samples from hourglass dolphins and broadband acoustic recordings from hourglass dolphins and southern right whale dolphins. Despite the success of the 2015 workshop, its success was hindered by underrepresentation from southern hemisphere researchers working on Peale’s, dusky, southern right whale dolphins and hourglass dolphins. In addition, Covid-19 hindered implementation of many of the workshop recommendations. The focus of our 2024 workshop on the topic is to promote collaborative networks and data-sharing from Lagenorhynchus, Cephalorhynchus, and Lissodelphis researchers and cetacean taxonomic experts around the world. The aim of the workshop is to follow up on 2015 recommendations by inviting participants to share new information on the genetic, morphological, behavioural and acoustic data to further clarify the phylogenetic relationships among the three putative genera and advance knowledge on the conservation status of all six species. The outcome of the workshop would include a final workshop report and submission of a manuscript for peer review.

Virtual Attendance: NOT AVAILABLE

Workshop Leader (1):
Verena Gill
NOAA Fisheries
verena.gill@noaa.gov
Workshop Leader (2):
Alex Zerbini
NOAA Fisheries
alex.zerbini@noaa.gov

Workshop Description:

Right whales worldwide face threats related to fisheries and aquaculture interactions, renewable and nonrenewable energy development, climate-related shifts in prey distribution and availability, vessel strikes, and other anthropogenic factors. The eastern North Pacific right whale (NPRW) is the most highly endangered right whale population in the world with fewer than 50 individuals off the west coast of the USA, and Canada.  NPRWs have never recovered from the impacts of commercial and illegal whaling. However, recovery is possible for right whales, as observed for Southern right whales (SRW), particularly in NZ and the southwest Australian populations. Despite decades of studies on all right whale species, questions remain about their basic ecology. With this workshop, we aim to share the different tactics used for right whale recovery worldwide, discuss how to approach existing and emerging challenges, such as expansions in aquaculture and fisheries activities; changes in prey distribution; and how to successfully incorporate Indigenous Knowledge (IK) into conservation efforts. Sharing successes, failures, and future directions will be beneficial to scientists, managers, policymakers, and right whales themselves as threats to the species continue to evolve. This full day workshop will feature presentations on successful recovery and outreach efforts and integration of IK followed by discussions on challenges faced by all right whales (e.g., emerging aquaculture and renewable energy interactions) and proposed actions for addressing these challenges. The United States Government is analyzing potential revisions to eastern NPRW critical habitat and the Australian Government continues to refine their draft National Recovery Plan for SRW.  By exploring tools such as habitat modeling, there is much that can be gained on both sides as we strive to keep right whales as ecologically valuable parts of their ecosystems.The workshop will share successes, lessons learned, and future approaches to recovery of right whales, focusing on existing and emerging threats.

Virtual Attendance: YES

For more information on virtual attendance, please contact Verena Gill (verena.gill@noaa.gov).

Workshop Leader:
Richard Zack Klyver
Gotham Whale
zack@gothamwhale.org

Workshop Description:

Marine mammal bycatch in trawl fisheries is a significant conservation concern. This workshop will provide presentations from around the world that characterize the global trawl fisheries bycatch on marine mammals. A great diversity of shrimp, fish, and squid species are harvested by trawl vessel types including stern, bottom, otter, mid-water, pair, factory, and freezer. Global data estimates suggest there are approximately 24,000 fishing vessels classified as trawlers. Bycatch rates observed during more than 1400 industrial trawl sets off Mauritania, Northwest Africa, by European trawlers (Zeeberg, et al. 2006), observed bycatch of 100’s of dolphins and dozens of pilot whales. In the Río de la Plata Estuary off Uruguay (2019), coastal bottom trawl fisheries were observed to have annual mortality rates of up to 100 franciscana dolphin Pontoporia blainvillei, and large numbers of South American sea lion Otaria flavescens, and the South American fur seal Arctocephalus australis. The response to the excessive bycatch of mammals, fish, and marine life in numerous countries including Canada, Indonesia, Iran, Spain, Belize and Palau, has been to ban some forms of trawling: In Brazil, coastal fisheries have seen a great recovery of fish stocks after a ban was put in place for midwater trawling. Australia have established no midwater and pair trawl fishing zones along the southern coast and prohibitions on nighttime fishing to avoid marine mammal bycatch. In 2012 the 9,500-ton super-trawler Abel Tasman, arrived in Australia from Europe. The vessel had the capacity to catch 250 tons of pelagic fish daily in nets 600 meters long and 200 meters wide. After much protest, debate and legal wrangling, it was eventually decided that the ship (which failed to win over the public) would leave Australia’s waters without catching a single fish.

Virtual Attendance: NOT AVAILABLE

Workshop Leader (1):
Tara Stevens
CSA Ocean Sciences
tarastevens@conshelf.com
Workshop Leader (2):
Mary Jo Barkaszi
CSA Ocean Sciences
mbarkaszi@conshelf.com

Workshop Description:

CSA Ocean Sciences (CSA) and the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) developed a publicly available and easy to use risk assessment tool to model the potential strike risk associated with offshore wind vessel operations on large whale species in U.S. outer continental shelf waters. The latest generation of this model is in final development and is being presented publicly for the first time at this conference. The general purpose of this workshop will be to introduce the model to users who require assessment of vessel strike risk. Participants will have input on its usability and application related to vessel strike risk reduction methodologies and technologies for marine mammals. The targeted audience includes both biologists and regulators that need a practical and straight foreword approach to understanding and quantifying vessel strike risk. The following topics will be covered: 1) discuss data inputs and limitations; 2) discuss applicability outside the U.S. and alternative data set usage from managers and researchers; 3) identify strike risk reduction or mitigation recommendations that could influence the model and transfer that information to end users (i.e. vessel operators); 4) brainstorm how model may be integrated into a broader suite of vessel strike avoidance technologies; and 5) obtain feedback on the user experience and utility of the model. These topics will be covered through a series of brief presentations, round-table discussions, and hands-on use of the model itself. The final activity will involve participants running the model based on a hypothetical scenario. The information generated through this workshop will be used to refine how the model is used and presented in the U.S. offshore wind industry while also providing the foundation for users who want to build similar models for other global regions or activities.

Virtual Attendance: NOT AVAILABLE

Workshop Leader (1):
Kim Raum-Suryan
NOAA Fisheries, Alaska Region
kim.raum-suryan@noaa.gov
Workshop Leader (2):
Dr. Rebecca McIntosh
Phillip Island Nature Park
rmcintosh@penguins.org.au

Workshop Description:

Entanglement in marine debris and fishing gear is increasingly recognized as a serious source of human-caused mortality for pinniped populations world-wide. Pinniped rescue specialists and researchers around the world are working to address this issue, but these efforts are often made in isolation from one another. To provide increased global collaboration and communication among scientists, non-government organizations, non-profits, and others, the Pinniped Entanglement Group (PEG) was created in 2009, with a growing membership. Enacting the conference theme of “Culture and Conservation: Fishing for Change”, the PEG collaborates to reduce pinniped entanglements in marine debris and fishing gear through education, outreach, and rescue. This workshop is intended to bring together researchers, managers, and responders interested in working toward the common goal of reducing global pinniped entanglements and interactions with fishing gear. This is an opportunity to unite those already working on pinniped entanglement prevention and response or those interested in learning more about this topic to share ideas and exchange techniques and methods. The workshop will begin with introductions, followed by entanglement response case studies and short presentations focused on 1) pinniped entanglement and fishery interaction prevention, 2) examples of working successfully with the fishing community, 3) equipment used for different entanglement responses, 4) deterrents, and 5) standardized data collection. The workshop will continue with expert panels followed by group discussions. The discussion periods will provide an opportunity to share techniques, establish new connections, identify data gaps, and plan for next steps. The day will conclude with hands-on in classroom training techniques. This conference provides a valuable opportunity for our third international workshop to bring together this global community to improve pinniped entanglement responses, advance mitigation to reduce entanglements, and to enhance the global PEG and their efforts to reduce pinniped entanglements worldwide.

Virtual Attendance: YES

For more information on virtual attendance, please contact Kim Raum-Suryan (kim.raum-suryan@noaa.gov).

Workshop Leader:
Karen Stockin
Massey University
k.a.stockin@massey.ac.nz

Workshop Description:

Organizers: Karen Stockin, Conor Ryan, Michael Moore, Rebecca Boys, Vassili Papastavrou

Ethics are adaptive because they must evolve to meet legislative as well as societal changes across time. As a Society, it is important the SMM board, ethics committee and wider membership acknowledge this by reviewing both Terms of Reference and policies accordingly. Do our current Terms of Reference capture the breadth of ethical issues faced by the Society today? Do our research initiatives conform to a set of ethical principles that have been agreed by its membership? Do we provide clear guidance to authors, reviewers and editors alike, regarding submissions to journal, conference and workshops hosted by or endorsed by the Society? And is the Society fostering appropriate awareness of ethical issues such as indigenous research, data sovereignty, research techniques, parachute science and offshoring? In a contemporary world that has experienced marked societal and legislative change affecting marine mammal science in recent decades, it is time to explore ethical considerations within and across adjacent fields to ensure the SMM remains forward facing.

This workshop aims to engage membership input to propose improvements to our current ethical procedures. Specifically, we seek to establish a set of overarching ethical principles for the society and to propose a framework for our ethical procedures. The benefits of such a framework would include harmonization of ethical review processes between the society and its journal, the initiation of processes that oblige authors to make ethical declarations as a matter of course, including for conference abstracts, the provision of clear guidance on the interpretation of complex international legislation concerning marine mammals and clarifying what ethics means to our Society moving forward.

Virtual Attendance: YES

For more information on virtual attendance, please contact Karen Stockin (k.a.stockin@massey.ac.nz).

Workshop Leader (1):
Brijonnay Madrigal
Marine Mammal Research Program, Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
bcm2@hawaii.edu
Workshop Leader (2):
Kirby Parnell
Marine Mammal Research Program, Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
keparnel@hawaii.edu

Workshop Description:

Science education is an excellent way to communicate science efforts, inspire the next generation of scientists and/or engage with the local community. In an effort to bridge the gap between laboratory-based science efforts and the local community, the Marine Mammal Research Program developed the Summer Marine Mammal Intensive Learning Experience (SMMILE). SMMILE is a 10-day immersive program which provides high school students from Hawaiʻi and American Samoa a unique opportunity to learn about marine mammal research, conservation, and marine protected areas within the framework of traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) in Hawaiʻi. SMMILE was developed to increase representation of Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in the field of marine mammal science. The purpose of this marine mammal education workshop will be to provide a “SMMILE toolbox” for scientists, professionals, and graduate students to implement programs in their community. During this workshop, we plan to discuss the following topics: curriculum development, incorporating TEK and place-based learning, funding, and advertising. Education program coordinators from around the world will be invited to present about their respective outreach and teaching opportunities to provide diverse examples of successful programs. Workshop coordinators and invited speakers will lead demonstrations of the hands-on activities included in their education programs. Ultimately, this workshop aims to provide attendees with opportunities to better integrate marine mammal outreach and educational opportunities within their communities.

Virtual Attendance: NOT AVAILABLE

Workshop Leader (1):
Andrew Brownlow
University of Glasgow/ IWC Strandings Expert Panel (Chair)
andrew.brownlow@glasgow.ac.uk
Workshop Leader (2):
Lauri Leach
US Marine Mammal Commission
lleach@mmc.gov

Workshop Description:

The wealth of information collected during stranding events offers critical information about marine mammal distribution, health, threats, ecology and feeding history, in addition to insights into population and ecosystem health. Recognizing this, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) Strandings Initiative was established to bring together the skills and experiences of experts from different countries around the world to develop practical strandings guidance. In response to the “2019 WMMC Barcelona Declaration.” the Global Stranding Network (GSN), was established and now has over 200 members from 64 countries that are spread across 6 continents. These initiatives serve as a platform to share resources, improve response capabilities, and foster international collaboration. IWC and GSN will both benefit from an improved understanding of strandings responders’ needs. This workshop aims to identify and develop guidance to support several aspects of stranding response. These include:

  • Enhanced Collaboration and Network building: Establish strong communication channels and collaborative frameworks that are practical to implement and maintain among stranding responders.
  • Capacity Building: Develop training programs tailored to the network’s needs, with clear ‘beach accessible’ guidance for responders for both live and dead animal stranding response scenarios.
  • Diagnostics: Collate and share best practices for tools and diagnostics needed to investigate emerging and existing threats (e.g. disease, biotoxins, fisheries interaction).
  • Standardized Protocols: Refine response protocols for live and dead strandings, ensuring consistency in data collection and animal welfare during stranding responses.
  • Data Analysis and Sharing: Develop platforms to support data collection, and reporting, and analysis across GSN/IWC members. 

Among our goals, a key priority is to identify and produce resources that effectively support developing strandings networks or those with limited resources. The aim is to maintain a collaborative approach, leveraging a global network, to significantly advance marine mammal stranding response, welfare and conservation.

Virtual Attendance: NOT AVAILABLE

Workshop Leader (1):
Sofie Van Parijs
NOAA Fisheries
sofie.vanparijs@noaa.gov
Workshop Leader (2):
Genevieve Davis
NOAA Fisheries
genevieve.davis@noaa.gov

Workshop Description:

Offshore wind energy development is continuing to develop across Europe, and is ramping up in North America, Australasian, and Eurasian waters in order to meet renewable energy goals. With a diverse suite of endangered whale species and a multitude of other protected marine species frequenting these waters, understanding the potential consequences of construction and operation activities is essential to advancing responsible offshore wind development. Passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) represents a newer technology that has become one of several methods of choice for monitoring trends in the presence of marine mammal species, the soundscape, mitigating risk, and evaluating potential behavioral and distributional changes resulting from offshore wind activities. Federal and State regulators, the offshore wind industry, and environmental advocates require detailed information on PAM capabilities and techniques needed to promote efficient, consistent, and meaningful data collection efforts on local and regional scales.

Virtual Attendance: YES

For more information on virtual attendance, please contact Sofie Van Parijs (sofie.vanparijs@noaa.gov).

SATURDAY MORNING
(HALF DAY WORKSHOPS)

8:30-12:30

Workshop Leader (1):
Debra Ellisor
National Institute of Standards and Technology
debra.ellisor@nist.gov
Workshop Leader (2):
Barbara Mahoney
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
barbara.mahoney@noaa.gov

Workshop Description: 

The success of any research project begins with the need for samples of exceptional quality, a requirement to accurately explore and assess any research question without creating bias. This workshop will discuss important considerations for building a useful collection of biological samples valuable for current and future research interests. Using the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Biorepository as a case example, participants will learn the importance behind: effective communication with stakeholders, collaborators and field collectors to obtain high quality specimens, standardization of sample collection and preparation protocols, and accurate data keeping. Challenges in each of these areas will be discussed and attendees will have the opportunity to share their own experiences and questions related to these topics.

NIST will speak about the biorepository at the Hollings Marine Laboratory in Charleston, South Carolina, US, including active marine mammal collections, with a focus on protocol development considerations, sample processing, and data management. Additionally, projects focused on biospecimen quality assessment and data obtained from archived samples will also be discussed.

Speakers will present on the importance of collaboration between research personnel and field collectors, particularly those belonging to Native communities/tribes. These topics will be discussed in the context of a long-standing successful collaboration between NIST and the Alaskan Native tribal communities and hunters, where the interests of indigenous peoples are immediate, such that the health of the animal directly impacts the health of individuals in the community who rely on the animal as a source of food, while scientific research is more comprehensive.

Virtual Attendance: NOT AVAILABLE

Workshop Leader (1):
Mervi Kunnasranta
University of Eastern Finland
mervi.kunnasranta@uef.fi
Workshop Leader (2):
Marja Niemi
University of Eastern Finland
marja.niemi@uef.fi

Workshop Description: 

Monitoring the health of individuals is one of the priorities for population status and risk assessments of marine mammals. As top predators, marine mammals are indicators of overall ecosystem health. Moreover, in a changing climate there is an increased need for efficient tools to collect data on marine mammal health parameters. In this proposed workshop, we focus on novel and best practices in pinniped health surveillance, based mainly on by-caught, stranded and/or hunted individuals. The objective of the workshop is to share ongoing and planned activities in pinniped health monitoring, and to provide an opportunity to strengthen collaboration between research veterinarians and pinniped researchers. We intend to invite key experts to share their knowledge on health monitoring of pinnipeds worldwide, with a specific focus on improving accuracy of post-mortem investigations. Through this, we hope to introduce different monitoring approaches, and necropsy and sampling protocols (e.g., Marine Mammal Commission, HELCOM) from varied species and locations. In addition, the workshop will facilitate discussion on the challenges that the participants may face in health monitoring, as well as provide opportunities to share good practices and novel tools used in this field. The workshop activities would include presentations from invited speakers and free discussions. We hope that this workshop will result in improved capacity and updated health monitoring guidelines for pinnipeds. It also fits to the conference theme “Culture and conservation: fishing for change” by improving the assessment of pinniped mortality attributable to bycatch.

Virtual Attendance: NOT AVAILABLE

SATURDAY AFTERNOON
(HALF DAY WORKSHOPS)

13:30-17:30

Workshop Leader (1):
Craig McPherson
JASCO Applied Sciences
craig.mcpherson@jasco.com
Workshop Leader (2):
Capri Beck
Department of Water and Environmental Regulation
Capri.Beck@dwer.wa.gov.au

Workshop Description: 

New Australian guidance for marine fauna within the National Anthropogenic Underwater Noise Guidelines and the Western Australia Technical Guidance for the Protection of Marine Fauna establish government expectations and key considerations necessary for preparing environmental impact assessments, conservation planning, and informing regulatory decision-making for marine activities. They are based on international best-practice and present novel approaches and expectations for modelling and monitoring of anthropogenic impacts.

The aim of the workshop is to summarise approaches taken to develop the guidance documents and the science and rationale supporting key aspects, allowing others to benefit from the expertise invested and experience obtained in developing the Australian approach. The links between determining effects on individuals and the integration into a novel cumulative impact framework (CIF) for assessing relative risk of anthropogenic disturbances will be a focus. The CIF is based on spatial management approaches, instead of population-based approaches, and could be applied in other countries where marine mammal population statistics like absolute abundances or densities are unknown.

To share the Australian approach and assist other countries currently developing regulations, we will present the novel approaches, including acoustic effect thresholds for behaviour and injury. The information will be paired with case studies which contrast the approaches against other international regulations and explain the rationale within the Australian regulatory context. The workshop will provide opportunity for discussion around these approaches, and scenarios in which they could be applicable elsewhere.

Similarly, the approach taken regarding cumulative impacts will be shared, and case study examples provided for key species. The Australian approach could be expanded within the region for species with overlapping migratory pathways. The possibilities around this expansion will form part of an interactive group breakout session, with different groups applying the framework to species such as blue and humpback whales and localised dolphin populations. 

Virtual Attendance: NOT AVAILABLE

SUNDAY
(FULL DAY WORKSHOPS)

8:30-17:30

Workshop Leader (1):
KC Bierlich
Center of Drone Excellence, Marine Mammal Institute, Oregon State University
kevin.bierlich@oregonstate.edu
Workshop Leader (2):
Leigh Torres
Geospatial Ecology of Marine Megafauna Lab, Marine Mammal Institute, Oregon State University
leigh.torres@oregonstate.edu

Workshop Description: 

Over the past decade, the advancement of drones has revolutionized researchers’ ability to obtain morphological data on marine mammals. For example, studies on various cetacean species have used drones to distinguish morphological differences between populations and identify shrinking body sizes over generations due to habitat changes. While using drones has clearly enabled major insights about cetacean ecology, several different drone systems and protocols have been used, and we lack a centralized framework established for quantifying and incorporating measurement uncertainty across different drone systems. This lack of standardization and assessment of uncertainty creates confusion over using one analytical method over another and difficulty in comparing results across studies, ultimately hindering collaboration and interoperability and limiting ecological insight. In our proposed workshop, we will present a step-by-step best practices framework for collecting and processing drone-based imagery to produce morphological measurements with associated uncertainty. We will first provide an overview of drone-based photogrammetry, then describe our framework for 1) Data collection (before takeoff and during flight), 2) Post-processing of imagery (image selection, measuring, linking metadata with measurements, and incorporating uncertainty), and 3) Morphometric analysis (incorporating measurement uncertainty from different drones into analyses). In this workshop, participants will learn how to use several published open-source hardware and software tools, including automated tools, to enhance the quality, speed, and accuracy of obtaining important morphological measurements to manage vulnerable populations. Participants will learn how to use this framework, including a new R package, to produce morphometric measurements with associated uncertainty so that measurements are comparable across drones. As such, this framework is accommodating to research projects on various budgets, facilitating multi-lab comparisons, and adaptable to long-term datasets where different drones are inevitably used over time. We welcome researchers around the world who are interested in conducting drone-based photogrammetry in a cost-effective and accurate manner.

Virtual Attendance: NOT AVAILABLE

Workshop Leader (1):
Christine Erbe
Centre for Marine Science and Technology, Curtin University, Perth, WA, Australia
c.erbe@curtin.edu.au
Workshop Leader (2):
Shyam Madhusudhana
Centre of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, Curtin Mauritius, Moka, Mauritius
shyam.m@curtin.edu.au

Workshop Summary:

In recent years, the adoption of ML techniques has revolutionized marine mammal studies, enabling researchers to analyze vast datasets and extract valuable insights. The proposed workshop aims to bring together leading experts, early-career researchers, and practitioners from a diversity of backgrounds and countries, to exchange knowledge, discuss advancements, and explore collaborative opportunities in utilizing ML techniques for marine mammal research.

Topics & Activities:

  1. Computer Vision-Based Techniques: This track will focus on ML applications in marine mammal identification and population studies. Participants will explore computer vision algorithms for individual identification based on tail fluke patterns, fin shape, and body markings in photos and videos. Additionally, we will discuss the challenges and opportunities in automation.
  2. Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM) Techniques: PAM has emerged as a powerful tool for studying marine mammal behavior and distribution. In this track, participants will delve into ML-driven solutions for automatic species detection, classification, and vocalization analysis using underwater acoustic data. Discussions will encompass current advancements, the integration of deep-learning models, and potential applications in real-time monitoring.
  3. Novel ML Approaches in Marine Mammal Studies: This track welcomes presentations on other innovative ML techniques. From bioacoustic analysis to behavior prediction, we encourage researchers to share their work using ML algorithms for diverse marine mammal-related studies.

ML-driven methods can significantly improve data analysis efficiency, leading to more effective conservation strategies and management of marine mammal populations. Attendees will gain valuable insights into state-of-the-art ML techniques, empowering them to apply innovative approaches to their marine mammal studies.

Virtual Attendance: NOT AVAILABLE

Workshop Leader (1):
Guy W. Oliver
Institute of Marine Sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz
oliver@ucsc.edu
Workshop Leader (2):
Aiden Lundberg
Los Altos High School
lundbergaiden@gmail.com
 

Workshop Description:

This will be a hybrid workshop combining individuals in Perth with individuals hooked up virtually from all over the world. The morning session will feature invited speakers involving marine mammal biologists, computer scientists, and AI experts. They will address areas of behavior, bioacoustics, communication, ecology and the effective processing of biological data. There will also be round table discussion of the ethics of using AI in behavioral experiments and playbacks.  Following each presentation, a Q&A session will be held.

The afternoon sessions will involve smaller group discussions, focusing on topics chosen based on the interests of the workshop participants. These topics might include machine learning tools for pattern recognition in ecology and conservation, current solutions for individual, species, and age/sex identification, and necessary data preparation and annotation for AI analysis.  If you have specific topics or questions you would like to be discussed in the afternoon session, please send an email to Guy Oliver at oliver@ucsc.edu.

The workshop will be as much as possible of a hybrid format with speakers and other participants present in-person as well virtually.  The morning session will be feature both in-person and virtual attendance, while the small group discussions in the afternoon will only be available on site. We will regroup once again in a hybrid manner to share the summaries of the small group discussions toward the end of the workshop.

If virtual participants express a strong desire to participate in the afternoon workshop discussions and to hold their own discussions via zoom, we will strive to accommodate those requests. Early prior discussions with the workshop organizers will be essential to ensure the successful implementation of this option. 

Virtual Attendance: YES

For more information on virtual attendance, please contact Guy W. Oliver (oliver@ucsc.edu).

Workshop Leader (1):
Dr Capri Jolliffe
Geographe Marine Research
capri@marineresearch.org.au
Workshop Leader (2):
Prof Karen Edyvane
Charles Darwin University
karen.edyvane@cdu.edu.au

Workshop Description:

The blue whale has been a focus of considerable research worldwide with a number of key research groups undertaking long term research programs into the species, however key research gaps remain. In recent years, there has been a growing focus on the species, particularly in the Australian context.

This workshop is intended to bring together scientists in the blue whale community to faciltiate an understanding of the current state of knowledge, identify key research gaps and develop strategies for addressing these gaps through collaboration and focused research efforts. The workshop is focused on scientific understanding of the population including all areas of ecology, biology and behaviour with a particular focus on body condition, variability in spatial and temporal habitat use, oceanographic and climatic drivers and linkages with population health and resilience.

The key outcomes of the workshop are as follows:

Outcome 1 – Summary of work carried out to date, future work planned and how research can be optimised amongst research  groups.

 Outcome 2 – Identification of: 1) how and if climate change may be influencing blue whales in general and Eastern Indian Ocean blue whales specifically; and 2) what we need to be studying to verify and quantify potential climate change effects.

Outcome 3 – Specific questions related to: 1) mating, breeding and calving areas & behaviours; and 2) monitoring population status – which thus includes photo-ID and genetic techniques. Note these two questions are related.

Virtual Attendance: NOT AVAILABLE

Workshop Leaders:
Victoria Brims and Francisco Rebolledo Villa
Mexico Marine Wildlife Rescue Center
info@mmwrc.org
Workshop Leader (2):
Ellie MacLennan
Scottish Entanglement Alliance (SEA)
e.maclennan.1@research.gla.ac.uk

Workshop Description:

This collaborative workshop will be delivered by the Scottish Entanglement Alliance, the Scottish Creel Fisherman’s Federation and the Mexico Marine Wildlife Rescue Center.  We will highlight and discuss challenges and potential solutions to entanglements involving large whales and other marine species globally, considering not only the animals affected, but also fishers and rescue teams involved in entanglement research and mitigation.

A recent international knowledge exchange between Scotland, Mexico and the USA consistently highlighted a lack of (1) inclusion of fishers as citizen scientists, (2) consultation with industry and transparency in policy and management decision-making processes, and (3) understanding of the practicalities of fishing and therefore the suitability of proposed and enforced mitigations in entanglement research. This is pushing some fishing sectors to breaking point, without adding to the understanding of this cryptic threat or scale at which mitigations have or have not reduced entanglement risk. What also became clear during this exchange is that successful mitigation lies in bottom-up, fisher-led approaches, and including fisher knowledge and culture in future entanglement policy and research will be essential. 

We will highlight issues and promote discussion around the burdens and risks placed on fishers and disentanglement teams at the forefront of entanglement, fisheries mismanagement, challenges in finding suitable solutions where resources are limited, and the potential for poor policy decisions to lead to increased entanglement risk. We will have a selection of international speakers from across industry, research and rescue, and workshop participants will be invited to take part in a number of interactive sessions. These will include assessment of real-life case studies of entanglement mitigation successes and failures, and a hands-on gear trial to highlight the challenges fishers are facing. 

Virtual Attendance: NOT AVAILABLE

Workshop Leader (1):
Dennis Heinemann, PhD
Marine Mammal Commission
dheinemann@mmc.gov
Workshop Leader (2):
Julia E. O’Hern, PhD
The Marine Mammal Center
ohernj@tmmc.org

Workshop Description:

Trap/pot fisheries around the world represent a threat to large whales. Whales that come in contact with buoy lines, or those connecting multiple traps/pots, can become entangled, leading to injury and death.  For some populations the mortality and sub-lethal impacts on fecundity resulting from entanglements may be unsustainable (e.g., humpback whales entangled in Californian crab pots, or minke whales entangled in South African crustacean “creels”), and may contribute to a decline toward extinction (e.g., North Atlantic right whales entangled in lobster and crab pots).  Many countries have identified whale entanglement in trap/pot gear as a potentially serious conservation issue that is likely to occur anywhere whale distributions spatially overlap with trap/pot-gear fisheries.  These interactions involve a variety of whale species and numerous trap/pot fisheries with a variety of gear configurations and practices that target a wide range of crustacean and fish species.  While this threat has been the focus of research and mitigation by some countries for decades, others are just beginning to recognize its prevalence.

This workshop is expected to bring together researchers, managers, policy makers, fishermen, disentanglement responders and conservationists to share their knowledge and experience with 1) assessing the magnitude of the entanglement threat (e.g., through the use of stranding surveys, scaring analyses, and mark-recapture models), 2) efforts to mitigate entanglement risk (e.g., using time-area closures to reduce whale-gear co-occurrence, and modifying gear to reduce the likelihood of entanglement or increase the whales’ ability to break free from entangling gear), 3) attempts to develop innovative, “whale-safe” gear (e.g., so called “ropeless” gear), and 4) save entangled whales through disentanglement interventions. We expect the workshop to catalyze the growth of a network of individuals who will continue to share their knowledge and experiences, leading to an improved understanding and mitigation of entanglement of large whales in trap/pot gear.

Virtual Attendance: NOT AVAILABLE

Workshop Leader (1):
Paul Thompson
University of Aberdeen
paul.thompson@abdn.ac.uk
Workshop Leader (2):
Douglas Nowacek
Duke University
doug.nowacek@duke.edu

Workshop Description:

We are experiencing a global increase in proposals for offshore wind farm developments, many of them in areas overlapping with protected marine mammal populations. With recent announcements for new offshore windfarm leases in Australian waters, its timely to use the SMM Conference to explore approaches to balancing the protection of marine mammals with the offshore developments required to meet climate change targets.

The objective of this workshop is therefore to share experience of researching and managing this issue across regions, marine mammal communities, regulatory frameworks, and the maturity of the industry.

We will develop a programme of invited and contributed talks to provide examples of previous research and monitoring at offshore wind farms.  This will include studies made at different stages of wind farm developments, from pre-consent baseline through construction mitigation and monitoring, to ecosystem studies within operational wind farms.

Alongside these presentations, we will bring together a panel of representatives from the renewables industry, regulatory bodies, consultancies, NGOs and the research community. Structured Q&A and group discussions/activities will be used to 1) identify how research findings are being incorporated into risk assessments and regulation in different regions; 2) explore opportunities for wider sharing of existing data and/or best practice to support developments; and 3) identify key evidence gaps and opportunities to address these through future research and monitoring.

Although the programme will build upon our own experiences in UK and US waters, we welcome contributions from other regions. Please do get in touch with the organisers if you would like to contribute to the programme.

Our intention is to confirm attendance by invited speakers by mid-July and provide a draft programme with all presentations and discussion sessions at the end of August.

Virtual Attendance: NOT AVAILABLE

Workshop Leader (1):
Jason Baker
Protected Species Division, NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center
jason.baker@noaa.gov
Workshop Leader (2):
Rachael Gray
University of Sydney
rachael.gray@sydney.edu.au

Workshop Description:

The Rare Pinniped Conservation Network (RAPCON) fosters organization and sustained collaboration among individuals working to conserve rare pinniped populations globally. Teams dedicated to the conservation of the most imperiled pinnipeds face similar issues and challenges, and often implement innovative, successful conservation interventions. Establishing RAPCON was motivated by the realization that these groups often worked somewhat in isolation and typically were not aware of each other’s accomplishments. The inaugural RAPCON workshop was held in Barcelona in 2019, with a second meeting in Finland in 2023. This proposed workshop will particularly showcase efforts to conserve Australian and New Zealand sea lions, as few experts in these species were able to travel to previous RAPCON events. Experts in other rare pinnipeds will also share their research findings and management efforts. Topics to be discussed may include the threats, and mitigation, of fishery bycatch, entanglement, infectious disease, and human disturbance. Challenges of implementing conservation measures, small population genetics, foraging ecology, habitat management, and population assessment topics may also be featured in presentations and discussions.

Virtual Attendance: NOT AVAILABLE

Workshop Leader (1):
Andrew Wright
Conservation Marketing and Engagement Working Group, Society for Conservation Biology
marinebrit@gmail.com
Workshop Leader (2):
Carla Litchfield
University of South Australia
carla.litchfield@unisa.edu.au

Workshop Description: 

Success in achieving conservation goals typically relies upon adoption of more sustainable behaviour(s) by a specific group of people. Scientists and conservationists typically struggle to induce such changes as they may focus on ‘awareness raising’ alone. Provision of information is not enough to change human behaviour and may set back the wider cause due to preconceptions and biases about spokespeople or organisations providing the information. This full-day workshop will connect marine mammal biologists and other key stakeholders with experts in behavioural change. The session will introduce some of the human impacts on marine mammal conservation, including marine entanglement and by-catch. The workshop will then introduce Conservation Marketing (application of principles of Psychology and Marketing) and cover barriers/benefits to behaviour change, behaviour change ‘tool kit’ and strategies (for individuals, groups & industry), stakeholder engagement and co-design, pilot studies, examples of successes/failures, and importance of documentation and evaluation to provide evidence for policy makers.

Virtual Attendance: NOT AVAILABLE

Workshop Leader (1):
Robert A. DiGiovanni Jr.
Atlantic Marine Conservation Society
rdigiovanni@amseas.org
Workshop Leader (2):
Mendy Garron
NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service
mendy.garron@noaa.gov

Workshop Description:

Increasing societal demands and pressures can take a toll on workplace productivity and effectiveness due to communication overload and competing priorities. The COVID-19 pandemic is a prime example of how quickly our workplace infrastructure, and our world, can change at a moment’s notice while simultaneously placing additional demands for organizations and staff to manage. An organization’s resiliency is reliant on its team’s ability to respond to environmental and societal stressors. Compassion fatigue does not only originate from our job. Whether you are planning a conference, conducting a month-long research project, or sampling stranded animals for an infectious disease, being prepared for effective and efficient workplace operations is a critical component for organizational success.  Having the right tools, habits and practices in place and being routinely implemented can allow adaptation during a crisis or high stress environment to be accomplished with ease and reassurance. Have you been part of a large scale marine mammal die off where communications were non-existent or way too overwhelming?  Have you been in a high profile event needing to communicate and coordinate with a large number of stakeholders? Have you wondered if there is a process to correct those issues in the future? These issues are common factors that the marine mammal response and research community faces on an ongoing basis. This workshop will prepare participants to:

  • Build and maintain a strong, resilient and informed organization.
  • Establish and maintain situational awareness and decision management processes.
  • Establish and communicate institutional priorities and objectives.
  • Establish and communicate the roles and responsibilities of the staff, team or group.
  • Establish a scalable organizational structure to support and communicate project/organizational activities.
  • Connect and collaborate with all internal and external stakeholders.
  • Identify training needs to build capacity leading to a legacy organization.

Virtual Attendance: NOT AVAILABLE

Workshop Leader (1):
Penny Clarke
British Antarctic Survey
penark38@bas.ac.uk
Workshop Leader (2):
Hannah Cubaynes
British Antarctic Survey
hanbay24@bas.ac.uk

Workshop Description:

Very high-resolution (VHR) satellites orbiting Earth offer the prospect of upscaling the monitoring of live and stranded cetaceans around the globe, particularly in remote regions. In recognition of the importance of refining and coordinating the use of satellites to study cetaceans, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) Scientific Committee (SC) endorsed the creation of an Intersessional Correspondence Group (ICG) ‘Satellites to Study Whales’ uniting researchers actively engaged in and interested in using satellites to study cetaceans. The main objectives of the ‘Satellite to Study Whales ICG’ are; (1) the coordination of information, data, and code sharing among research groups conducting active research on the use of satellite imagery to monitor whales; (2) to facilitate the development of automated methods and avoid duplication of effort; and (3) to negotiate better tasking opportunities with satellite imagery providers. Following recommendations from the IWC SC meeting in 2023, this workshop will focus on establishing best practices in the community supported by talks from experts and group discussions, on topics such as annotation, automatic detection, and data and code sharing.

Virtual Attendance: YES

For more information on virtual attendance, please contact Penny Clarke (penark38@bas.ac.uk).

Workshop Leader (1):
Dara N Orbach
Texas A&M University- Corpus Christi
dara.orbach@tamucc.edu
Workshop Leader (2):
Sarah Mesnick
National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
sarah.mesnick@noaa.gov

Workshop Description:

The Sex in Cetaceans workshop is designed to bring marine mammal researchers together to explore the multi-faceted aspects of mating and reproduction in whales, dolphins, and porpoises, and the implications for conservation. The workshop builds on the information and ideas presented in the recently published open access volume by the same name (https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-35651-3). The gathering at SMM2024 provides a forum for discussing key concepts, sharing new insights, drawing connections among species, and identifying knowledge gaps for aspiring and seasoned cetologists. The workshop will cover sexual selection, anatomical and morphological traits related to mating, sexual strategies of females and males, and similarities and differences in mating systems across cetaceans. As not all sexual acts are procreative in nature — sex can be fun or function in learning — we will also discuss non-conceptive sexual behavior and the roles sex plays in nature. In parallel with the goals of SMM2024, we will emphasize ways to bridge pure and applied approaches. The more we understand and integrate knowledge concerning cetacean sex and reproduction into conservation strategies, the better the chances of achieving species recovery, protecting biodiversity, and preventing future extinctions. Thus, in addition to a rollicking discussion of the newest findings in cetacean sex, the ultimate goal of the workshop is to explore ways to link scientific findings to practical actions that will improve resilience and conservation outcomes for threatened and endangered cetacean species and populations globally. We seek contributions from researchers (both authors and non-authors of chapters in the book) with all levels of expertise and interest in the topics of cetacean sex, reproduction, and conservation. The workshop will consist of short topical presentations, each followed by time for open discussion.

Virtual Attendance: NOT AVAILABLE

Workshop Leader:
Nicole Adimey
Nicole Adimey, LLC
nicoleadimey@gmail.com

Workshop Description:

Please join us for the Tenth International Sirenian Symposium! This Symposium will be an entire day dedicated to international collaboration, networking and mentorship among those interested in Sirenian research and conservation. Objectives for the Symposium include: supporting collaboration and building Sirenian networks among scientists across Sirenian Range States (the >80), especially in the 70+ developing countries; disseminating new sirenian science; addressing current and emerging threats and promoting mentoring of students interested in marine mammal science and conservation. Presentations may include human interactions, physiology, monitoring applications, modeling, genetics, captive care and rehabilitation, management, general biology, stranding response and education and outreach. The agenda will include full length presentations, speed talks, a poster session, an update from the Sirenian Specialist Group and time allotted for networking. Those interested in presenting research (either poster or talk) should submit an abstract by August 15, 2024. For further information email to Nicole Adimey at: adimey22@gmail.com. Preference will be given to speakers from developing countries and those talks addressing the conference theme ‘Culture and Conservation: Fishing for Change’. Researchers are encouraged to present novel work and how it contributes to Sirenian conservation and supports regional initiatives or current management challenges.  

Virtual Attendance: NOT AVAILABLE

Workshop Leader (1):
Antonio Fernandez
Institute Animal Health. Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria SPAIN
antonio.fernandez@ulpgc.es
Workshop Leader (2):
Padraig Duignan
The Marine Mammal Center Sausalito CA USA
duignanp@TMMC.org

Workshop Description:

This workshop provides a dedicated forum for experts and trainees in marine mammal pathology to share and discuss new pathologies, outbreaks, diagnostic tools, etc. in the context of marine mammal pathology and conservation within the conference. The workshop aims to use pathology as a tool for marine mammal health and conservation. Advances in marine mammal pathology, including field, laboratory diagnosis, new methodologies, and tools, will be presented and discussed. The workshop will consist of case report discussions and presentations. Pathologists working in this field are invited to submit a presentation title and brief outline (less than 200 words) by July 31st, 2024. We are looking for an interactive and dynamic atmosphere for exchanging knowledge. The expected outcome of the workshop is the in situ exchange of knowledge, continuing education in marine mammal pathology, and strengthening collaboration and networking among marine mammal pathologists. Previous workshops were very successful with high occupancy and received excellent feedback. We recommend early registration because we had full occupancy with a waiting list in the previous years.

Virtual Attendance: NOT AVAILABLE

SUNDAY MORNING
(HALF DAY WORKSHOPS)

8:30-12:30

Workshop Leader (1):
Emily Charry Tissier
Whale Seeker
emily@whaleseeker.com
Workshop Leader (2):
Ashley Noseworthy
Edgewise Environmental
ashley@edgewiseenvironmental.com

Workshop Description: 

From Pixels to Porpoises: How Mobius Observer is Changing the Game in Whale Detection” is an essential workshop offered by Whale Seeker’s Emily Charry Tissier and Edgewise Environmental’s Ashley Noseworthy, targeting marine mammal scientists and observers. This workshop introduces the Mobius Observer, an AI-based tool designed to enhance efficiency in marine mammal detection and monitoring. It addresses the critical need for advanced tools in the field of marine conservation, where the demand for extensive, accurate monitoring meets the challenge of limited resources.

The workshop aims to demonstrate the utility and applicability of Mobius Observer in various research and conservation scenarios, highlighting its capacity to provide accurate, real-time data on marine mammal locations and movements. Participants will be guided through the system’s operational principles, data processing capabilities, and integration into existing monitoring frameworks. Practical demonstrations will illustrate the tool’s effectiveness in different environments and its adaptability to a range of marine species.

The session will also cover the ethical implications of AI in scientific research, ensuring a balanced understanding of technological integration in ecological studies. By focusing on the tangible benefits of the Mobius Observer, such as reducing manual data analysis time and increasing the scope of monitored areas, this workshop is designed to equip marine mammal scientists with the knowledge to leverage AI technology in their conservation efforts effectively.

Virtual Attendance: NOT AVAILABLE

Workshop Leader (1):
Jessica Scott
Ocean Wise
jessica.scott@ocean.org
Workshop Leader (2):
Dr. Chloe Robinson
Ocean Wise
chloe.robinson@ocean.org

Workshop Description: 

Ship strikes pose a significant threat to cetaceans worldwide. Over the past two decades, shipping traffic has surged by 300%, with a continued annual increase of 2-3%. Many of the busiest shipping routes intersect with crucial cetacean habitats. Implementing measures such as reducing vessel speed or rerouting away from known cetacean areas can effectively mitigate strike-related mortality and minimize exposure to vessel noise. To address this issue, various governments and organizations have adopted strategies such as voluntary vessel slowdowns, seasonal or area-based closures, and real-time communication systems alerting vessels to cetacean presence through diverse platforms. However, the effectiveness of these measures often falls short. Their success hinges on active participation from industry stakeholders to ensure information is received and acted upon. Despite promising theoretical outcomes, it can be challenging to enforce regulations, communicate slowdowns, and alert large vessels to cetacean presence in dynamic, real-world scenarios. Moreover, acquiring the timely and comprehensive data on cetacean distribution required to inform these measures remains a formidable task, with many regions still lacking sufficient knowledge of cetacean occurrence. This workshop aims to spotlight existing programs designed to mitigate the risk of ship strikes on vulnerable cetacean populations, while also examining their limitations, hurdles, and lessons learned. The session will feature presentations by invited experts showcasing global efforts to reduce ship strike risk. After the presentations, the workshop will transition into breakout discussions where participants will collaboratively devise strategies tailored to address specific vessel strike ‘hot spots’ identified earlier. Through this workshop, we seek to foster innovation, collaboration, and the development of networks to propel future initiatives in ship strike mitigation.

Virtual Attendance: YES

For more information on virtual attendance, please contact Jessica Scott (jessica.scott@ocean.org).

Workshop Leader (1):
Cynde McInnis
The Whalemobile, North Atlantic Whale Watch Naturalist Association
cynde@thewhalemobile.com
Workshop Leader (2):
Jen Kennedy
Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation, North Atlantic Whale Watch Naturalist Association
jen@blueoceansociety.org

Workshop Description: 

Offshore wind is well established in Europe and parts of Asia and construction has started on several of the more than 25 proposed projects in the US. The Minister for Climate Change and Energy announced the identification of 6 priority areas in Australia for offshore wind in August 2022. New Zealand is also evaluating offshore wind opportunities, releasing a national study in March 2024. With SMM in Australia in 2024, it is a great opportunity to talk about marine mammals and offshore wind and the lessons learned in the US and other countries around baselines, research priorities, monitoring, and collaborative efforts. Existing projects include fixed and floating wind across a variety of geographic environments. Offshore renewable energy is becoming an important part of the efforts to address climate change, so it is necessary for the research and regulatory communities to be contributing data to inform siting, mitigation, impact assessment, regulation and guidance, and adaptive management for offshore wind. This workshop will share lessons learned around marine mammals and offshore wind to inform new and continued development, impact assessment, regulatory frameworks, and mitigation. Our aim is to improve information literacy, engage researchers and regulators, and create opportunities for collaboration, leveraging work that has been done to date and informing work upcoming in Australia and New Zealand.

Virtual Attendance: YES

For more information on virtual attendance, please contact Cynde McInnis (cynde@thewhalemobile.com).

Workshop Leader (1):
Wayne Phillips
Sea World and Sea World Foundation
wayne_phillips@vrtp.com.au
Workshop Leader (2):
Dr Claire Madden
Sea World and Sea World Foundation
claire_madden@vrtp.com.au

Workshop Description: 

This half day workshop is designed to present all considerations pertaining to capture of wild cetaceans that are debilitated due to health and/or anthropogenic impacts. Morbidity and mortality events whether from entanglement in fishing gear, vessel strikes, midasdventrue, foreign object entaglements and/or disease have been the main drivers of cetacan population declines globally. This workshop will discuss cetacean conservation and management strategies specific to wild cetaceans. Topics discussed will include:

  • Capture equipment
    • nets
    • boats
    • safety euipment
    • personale etc
  • Capture technique
    • shallow water, deep water and river systems
    • Coordination and incident response team
    • chemical vs nonchemcial immobilisation techniques
  • Animal triage
    • Veterinary interventions 
    • Animal first aid
  • Animal movement considerations
    • Options for moving cetaceans
    • Equipment required
  • Sample collection – reserach and disease survelliance 
  • Rehabilitation vs Euthanasia vs Treat and release on site criteria for each category
    • Euthanasia technique
    • Rehabilitation considerations including facilities and time frames
  • Media, Comms, public engagment including local wildlife/volunteer groups
  • Stakeholder engagement
    • ingenous groups
    • local councils
    • state government
    • federal governments

This workshop is an all encompassing workshop designed to showcase the latest variety of techniques that can be employed to assist cetaceans requiring interventions in a variety of settings. Sea World Foundaiton are leaders in this field with many recent captures being undertaken as part of the Sea World Foundation.

There is an urgent need globally to understand and address intervention techniques for disease and entrapped ceteaceans to improve conservation efforts and enhance animal welfare during such operations. It is envisaged that this workshop will promote a robust converstaion to enhance current methods being utilised across Australia and the globe. 

Virtual Attendance: YES

For more information on virtual attendance, please contact Wayne Phillips (wayne_phillips@vrtp.com.au).

SUNDAY AFTERNOON
(HALF DAY WORKSHOPS)

13:30-17:30

Workshop Leader (1):
Dr Dorothea Heimeier
University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
d.heimeier@auckland.ac.nz
Workshop Leader (2):
Dr Franca Eichenberger
Marine Mammal Institute, Oregon State University, USA
franca.eichenberger@oregonstate.edu

Workshop Description: 

The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) is a highly polymorphic gene family that is crucial in immunity and its diversity can be effectively used as a fitness marker for populations. Despite this, MHC remains poorly characterised in non-model species such as cetaceans and other marine mammals. The complexity and high diversity of MHC make amplification, analysis, and interpretation of MHC data in non-model organisms challenging. With our recently designed pan-cetacean MHC-panel (http://doi.org/10.1111/1755-0998.13955), we aim to make MHC analyses more accessible to marine mammal scientists focusing on a variety of research topics. During this half-day workshop, we first introduce MHC and its function, then focus step-by-step on the main components of an MHC analysis: study design, lab-work, data analysis and interpretation. Additionally, we cover allele naming conventions with an introduction to the newly established cetacean section of the IPD-MHC database (https://www.ebi.ac.uk/ipd/mhc/), a centralised repository for MHC sequences from different species. We conclude with a summary of the workshop and a general discussion. The workshop is organised by Dr Dorothea Heimeier and Dr Franca Eichenberger with additional guest-speakers to be announced. As an immunogenetics specialist, Dr Heimeier has extensive experience in the design, characterization, and analysis of MHC regions in bovines and cetaceans. As the official curator of the cetacean IPD-MHC database, she can provide information and guidance on MHC resources and tools available for cetaceans. Dr Eichenberger has experience in the use of MHC diversity as a fitness marker to assess patterns of reproduction and mate choice in humpback whales. This workshop is intended to be interactive and tailored to participant’s requirements as much as possible to provide attendees with the information necessary to successfully undertake an MHC analysis on their species. Attendees are encouraged to send species and topics requests prior to the conference (see agenda for details).

Virtual Attendance: NOT AVAILABLE

Workshop Leader (1):
Natalie Barefoot
Cet Law / Earthjustice
nbarefoot@cetaceanlaw.org
Workshop Leader (2):
Helen Mitcheson
Cet Law
hmitcheson@cetaceanlaw.org

Workshop Description: 

This workshop on Marine Mammal Law aims to provide marine mammal researchers with essential knowledge about legal frameworks and their practical application. As we dive into the relationship between law and marine mammal conservation, participants will gain insights into key legal concepts, and the complexities and principles that govern marine mammal protection. Participants will also gain an understanding of when and how they can input into legal processes. A panel will bring real-world experiences to the discussion, demonstrating the many forms that advocacy can take, and the lessons they have learned on what has worked to effectively and/or efficiently press for better law and policy. Lastly, through a case study exercise, participants will think through how to use different tools to effect change in law and policy. 

Participants will walk away with a better familiarity of law and legal concepts, an ability to identify entry points for advocacy, and resources that they may lean into for future advocacy opportunities. This workshop also hopes to inspire researchers to think through how they can become advocates, including exposing participants to the wide realm of possibility for advocacy within which they can find the space that feels aligned with their skills, passions, and personality.

This workshop is directed at researchers who want to gain an understanding of law and legal processes, whether it’s with an eye to taking their science to the next level by incorporating advocacy into their work, and/or whether they have been asked or are curious about how to input into legal/policy processes. Such processes may include providing feedback into a draft law or regulation, providing an expert report, signing onto a letter, writing a white paper, being an expert witness, testifying in front of a body, or talking to a policy influencer.

Virtual Attendance: NOT AVAILABLE

Workshop Leader (1):
Alastair Birtles
James Cook University, Minke Whale Project
alastair.birtles@jcu.edu.au
Workshop Leader (2):
Naomi Gardiner
James Cook University, Minke Whale Project
naomi.gardiner@jcu.edu.au

Workshop Description: 

A half-day workshop to bring together the researchers and others interested in dwarf minke whales to review the latest research and the many unpublished reports and other valuable field observations of this little-known but highly charismatic whale.  Australia’s forgotten “other whale” is often only observed fleetingly, but many experienced researchers, marine managers, whale-watching operators and members of the public have a potential treasure trove of useful observations that when shared, will help to substantially increase our understanding of this enigmatic, but inquisitive little rorqual.  A particular focus would be on sharing, comparing and contrasting research from Western Australia with long-running programs of research like the 30-year Minke Whale Project studies in the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) and selected comparisons with other international studies on minke populations from elsewhere.

Brief summaries of key recent dwarf minke research findings including the four presentations that have been accepted for presentation during SMM2024 will be substantially augmented by invited presentations on other key minke whale biology and behaviour topics.  These would be shared with participants to engage all present in the best and latest findings about this elusive species.  These will be followed (after PM tea/coffee) by breakout groups that workshop a range of key issues about the biology and behaviour of dwarf minkes such as: taxonomy (including genetics), biology (including spatial and temporal patterns of abundance, migration pathways, predation, threats (including the impacts of ship-strike, fishing gear entanglement, hunting and climate change), behaviour (including acoustics, feeding, courtship & mating) and conservation and sustainable management.  Groups will be facilitated to identify and review the most important gaps in our knowledge and set priorities for future research on these whales.  A final panel Q&A and plenary session will draw these together and share the priorities with all participants to guide their future research endeavours and support managers with the latest evidence-based information and contribute to more sustainable management. 

Virtual Attendance: NOT AVAILABLE

Workshop Leader (1):
Ellen Hines
Estuary & Ocean Science Center, San Francisco State University
ehines@sfsu.edu
Workshop Leader (2):
Maritza Sepulveda
University of Valparaiso
maritza.sepulveda@uv.cl

Workshop Description: 

Data gaps in fishing effort, bycatch rates, and the fate of animals post-capture, and trends for populations impede assessment of bycatch and constrain management action.  Working with governments to reduce bycatch has been a driver for the creation of the open-source Bycatch Risk Assessment (ByRA) toolbox, used to create spatially explicit bycatch risk analysis.  This GIS toolbox allows spatial/temporal assessment and visualization of bycatch risk using any amount or type of data, identifying areas for research and management actions while accounting for uncertainty in results.  In Chile, there are critical gaps about distribution and abundance for most marine mammal species, and a lack of data on species most affected by fisheries bycatch. As part of a Lenfest Ocean project including national and international scientists and managers, we have analyzed existing data and generated methods to characterize the spatial and seasonal distribution and abundance of fishing boats, gear, and marine mammals. We have chosen 15 areas of presumptive high bycatch risk nested in four larger regions along the coast of Chile, including industrial and artisanal fisheries. For this workshop, we will demonstrate how we modeled bycatch risk using examples of fisheries and marine mammal species with varying amounts of data.  Examples will include: right whales/crab traps (high uncertainty), sperm whales/artisanal Chilean sea bass (medium uncertainty), Dusky dolphins and South American sea lions/Artisanal pelagic purse-seine (low uncertainty). We will discuss how building collaborations with researchers and institutions has been an important step towards identifying and filling gaps in knowledge about cetaceans in Chile these past three years.  We will schedule time for discussions on ByRA techniques for workshop participants.  ByRA results can provide agencies with information on areas and seasons of bycatch risk, and risk levels for fishing gear, which support precautionary actions and policies, and inform future research and management.

Virtual Attendance: NOT AVAILABLE

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What and When are the SMM2022 Workshops?

Conference-affiliated workshops are half day, full day, or two day events that are proposed and organised by individual researchers, if their proposal is accepted by the SMM2024 conference committee. SMM2024 workshops will be held on Saturday, November 9th and Sunday, November 10th, 2024, during the weekend just prior to the conference.

Workshops are typically a meeting at which a group of people engage in intensive discussion and activity on a particular subject or project. The format of such events varies widely and includes: a series of speakers and/or a panel followed by discussion, a training session on use of technology or data analysis; a small group effort to analyse data or draft an action plan, etc. Workshops are open to all conference registrants, and to those not attending the conference for an additional fee.

How much do workshops cost?

Most workshops are priced at $50 USD for a half-day workshop and $100 USD for a full-day workshop.

Registration for the conference is mandatory to participate in workshops. If you’re not registered for the conference, you must still pay a supplementary workshop registration fee. Supplemental fees for individuals solely attending a workshop (excluding the remainder of the conference) are available in one or two-day options:

1 Day Workshop ONLY (Members): $25 USD
2 Day Workshop ONLY (Members): $50 USD

1 Day Workshop ONLY (Non-Members): $125 USD
2 Day Workshop ONLY (Non-Members): $250 USD

What time are the workshops?

The majority of the workshops are either a half-day (8:30 – 12:30 and 13:30 – 17:30) or a full day  (8:30 – 17:30). Workshops of two day duration are also being offered.

Will I be able to participate in workshops virtually?

The availability of virtual participation in these workshops is determined by the individual workshop organizers. If virtual participation is offered, interested participants should reach out directly to the organizers. Please note that SMM is not involved in the setup or coordination of virtual experiences.

What time will rooms be available for set-up on the day of workshops?

Please note that rooms will be available starting at 8:00, but workshops will begin at 8:30. Similarly, rooms will be available at 1:00, but workshops will start at 1:30.

Where are the workshops being held?

Workshops are being held at the conference venue, the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Will lunch be provided during the workshops?

All workshops will include coffee breaks. However, to keep workshop costs down, lunch options will not be provided. We recommend that full-day workshops allocate at least 1 hour for lunch, allowing participants time to obtain food either on-site or off-site.

How many people can attend each workshop?

Most of the workshop rooms available are limited in size, so be sure to sign up early! Available rooms are a variety of sizes to accommodate 20-150 participants in classroom-style seating.

How do I sign-up for a workshop?

To sign up for workshops, please use the conference registration form. There, you will find a list of half-day and full-day workshops available on Saturday and Sunday. Participants may register for one workshop per day or two half-day workshops.

We recommend early registration as space is limited. Once a workshop reaches its capacity, a waitlist option will become available in case of any openings. Individuals on the waitlist will not be required to pay in advance. They will receive an email notification if a spot becomes available in their preferred workshop, allowing them to proceed with payment and complete their registration.

What if I sign-up and a workshop is cancelled, or I have to withdraw?

Please be aware that workshops may be subject to cancellation in the event of scheduling conflicts for organizers/presenters or if the workshop fails to reach a minimum number of sign-ups. If a workshop is canceled, registered participants will be notified via email. They will then have the option to transfer to a different workshop or receive a refund.

Refunds for workshop withdrawals are possible if requested up to three weeks prior to the workshop dates (by October 19th, 2024). After this date, no refunds will be issued.

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Still having problems? Contact us at workshops@marinemammalscience.org.