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Archive for marine mammals

Volunteers sought for Whale Watch Week

Posted by: | November 10, 2011 Comments Off on Volunteers sought for Whale Watch Week |
Gray Whale breaching (photo courtesy of NOAA)

Gray Whale breaching (photo courtesy of NOAA)

NEWPORT – If you love whales, enjoy meeting people and don’t mind spending some time outdoors on a blustery winter day, Oregon’s winter Whale Watch Week wants you.

Volunteers are being sought for training as interpreters and whale-spotting guides at state parks up and down the Oregon coast for the annual event, which takes place this year from Dec. 26 through Jan. 1.

Gray whales can be seen off the Oregon coast year-round, but their numbers peak during their twice-yearly migrations between feeding grounds in Alaska’s Bering Sea and calving lagoons in Baja California. The full round trip  is more than 10,000 miles (16,000 km), the longest known migration for any mammal.

During the peak of the southward migration each winter, as many as 30 whales an hour can be seen off coastal headlands and viewing areas. Gray whales can grow to 40 feet long and 70,000 pounds, and their migrations often bring them close enough to the coast to be spotted by the naked eye, if you know what to look for.

Whale Watch Weeks, started in the late 1970s by Oregon Sea Grant educators at the OSU Hatfield Marine Science Center, has grown to a twice-yearly program administered by Oregon State Parks from its Whale Watching Center in Depoe Bay. During the winter and spring weeks, as many as 450 trained volunteers take turns at two dozen of the most popular coastal whale-watch sites, helping visitors spot whales and teaching them about the lives and habits of these giant marine mammals.

Volunteer training for Winter Whale Watch Week will take place on Sat., Dec. 10 at the HMSC Visitor Center in Newport. Dr. Bruce Mate, OSU marine mammal specialist, will preside. Additional training sessions for Spring Whale Watch Week will take place in January and February.

under: brochures, courses, classes and workshops, events, HMSC Visitor Center, marine mammals, outreach and engagement, science education, whales

Study of Pacific predators shows importance of biological “hotspots”

Posted by: | June 23, 2011 Comments Off on Study of Pacific predators shows importance of biological “hotspots” |

Blue WhaleNEWPORT, Ore. – An unprecedented decade-long study of apex predators in the Pacific Ocean found a wider range of distribution among some species than previously thought, unknown relationships between other species, and the importance of biological “hotspots” to the survival of most of these sea creatures.

The field program, dubbed Tagging of Pacific Predators – or TOPP – looked at 23 species from 2000-09 and included researchers from multiple institutions.

Results of the study are being published this week in the journal Nature.

“One thing that quickly became apparent is that there are many similarities among top predators in the California Current System,” said Bruce Mate, a former Sea Grant specialist who directs the Marine Mammal Institute at Oregon State University and co-authored the study. “There is a strong overlap in territory, for example, between blue whales and tuna. Blue whales eat krill; the tuna eat fish that eat the krill.

“But the krill, and the ocean conditions that promote its abundance, are key to both species,” added Mate, who directed the cetacean portion of the TOPP study. “When there are hotspots of krill or other food, the apex predators need to find them.”

Read more from OSU News & Research Communication…

(Photo credit: Bruce Mate/OSU News & Research Communication)

under: journal articles, marine mammals, marine science, news, Oregon State University, research

Seal pups on the beaches: Leave them alone

Posted by: | April 5, 2011 Comments Off on Seal pups on the beaches: Leave them alone |

Seal pups rest on shoreNEWPORT, Ore. – The arrival of spring has brought a number of young seal pups onto Oregon beaches, where they are at-risk from well-meaning coastal visitors who want to “rescue” them.

Oregon State University marine mammal biologist Jim Rice is urging the public to refrain from touching or approaching the seal pups, which in most cases are not orphaned or abandoned, he pointed out. They frequently are left on the beach by their mothers, who are out looking for food.

“Seal pups being left alone on the beach in the spring is perfectly normal,” said Rice, who coordinates the statewide Oregon Marine Mammal Stranding Network headquartered at OSU’s Marine Mammal Institute at the Hatfield Marine Science Center. “Newborn pups typically spend several hours each day waiting for their mothers to reunite with them.

Read more from OSU News & Research Communications

Download our “Seal pups rest on shore” poster (.pdf)

under: environment, marine education, marine mammals, Posters

Spring Break is Whale Watch Week…

Posted by: | March 16, 2010 Comments Off on Spring Break is Whale Watch Week… |
Gray Whale (NOAA photo)

Gray Whale (NOAA photo)

… and a great opportunity to head for  the Oregon coast and get some expert help spotting gray whales as they migrate northward to their summer feeding grounds in the Bering and Chukchi seas off Alaska.

OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center will be open from 10 am-5 pm daily for Whale Watch Week, March 20-27, with special whale-related programming every day.

Meanwhile, the state Parks and Recreation Divisions “Whale Spoken Here” program will have trained volunteers stationed at 26 state parks and rest areas along the coast to provide information about the giant marine mammals and help visitors spot them.

Get ready for Whale Watch week and learn more  about the whale migrations by downloading the free Oregon Sea Grant brochure, “Gray Whales,” in .pdf format:

under: events, HMSC Visitor Center, marine mammals, publications, whales

Whale Watch Week is coming up

Posted by: | December 21, 2009 Comments Off on Whale Watch Week is coming up |

Gray whaleVolunteers take their positions at state parks up and down the Oregon Coast next Saturday to help visitors look for migrating gray whales during the annual Winter Whale Watch Week, Dec. 26-Jan. 1.

The program, launched by Oregon Sea Grant’s Don Giles in 1978 and now coordinated by the Oregon State Parks and Recreation’s Depoe Bay Whale Center, draws thousands of winter visitors to the coast each year, armed with binoculars in hopes of spotting some of the giant marine mammals as they migrate south to their  breeding grounds off Mexico’s Baja California.

To learn more about whales and their migrations before you head to the coast, download the free Sea Grant publication, Gray Whales, from our Web site, in English and Spanish language versions, as a printable .pdf or a fast-loading text version. Also available: A Watching Whales fact sheet with tips for spotting the animals – and how to tell a whale spout from a wave –  is also available.

When you need to warm up, stop by OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Visitor Center, open from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. every day of Whale Watch Week except Jan. 1  with special programs and activities, including a daily marine mammal program in Hennings Auditorium featuring hands-on baleen, skulls and other whale “biofacts”.  The Center is also a great place to find out where whales are being seen – they’ll be keeping a running list of reported sightings and locations.

For more information, including a list of parks where volunteers will be stationed, visit the Whale Spoken Here Web site.

under: events, HMSC Visitor Center, marine mammals, publications, whales

Marine educator Bill Hanshumaker featured on BeachConnection.net

Posted by: | March 4, 2009 Comments Off on Marine educator Bill Hanshumaker featured on BeachConnection.net |

A day at the beach in Oregon can be a bit mind-bending. The Sci-Fi Channel could find lots to be inspired by here. The ocean and the shoreline environment are some of the most dynamic places on Earth, where things constantly change, sometimes in truly freaky ways.

Bill Hanshumaker, Public Marine Education Specialist with the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, is among the coastal experts featured in a BeachConnections.net article on strange things that can be found on Oregon’s beaches …

More

under: HMSC Visitor Center, marine mammals, news, Oregon Sea Grant, people, research, science education

Whale watching volunteers sought

Posted by: | November 7, 2007 Comments Off on Whale watching volunteers sought |

Surf scoters and breeching gray whalePeople come to Oregon from all over the United States each year to learn about – and try to spot – the gray whales that migrate past our coast. Now’s your chance to join the host of volunteers who take up stations at prime whale-watching spots each winter and spring to teach people about these majestic marine mammals.

Oregon Sea Grant, the OSU Hatfield Marine Science Center and Oregon State Parks and Recreation team up Nov. 17-18 to offer training for volunteers in the Winter Whale Watch Week “Whale Spoken Here” program. Dr. Bruce Mate, OSU marine mammal specialist, and John Calambokidis, research biologist and co-founder of Cascadia Research, will lead the Newport training.

Pre-registration is required; sign up through Whale Spoken Here, the Oregon State Parks & Recreation whale-watching site.

This year’s Winter Whale Watch Week is Dec. 26-Jan. 1.

(Additional training will be offered in January and February for those interested in volunteering for the Spring Whale Watch Week, March 22-29, 2008).

(photo of surf scoters and breeching gray whale courtesy of the Oregon State Parks Whale Watching Center, Depoe Bay)

under: courses, classes and workshops, marine mammals, news, science education, whales

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