30th Conference of the European Cetacean Society

Bottlenose dolphin, Madeira © Isabel Baker

Bottlenose dolphin, Madeira © Isabel Baker

The European Cetacean Society (ECS) hosted its 30th Annual Conference from the 14th to the 16th of March 2016 in Madeira and it was a lively and stimulating time full of inspiring keynote talks, presentations and poster sessions. Around 400 people attended the conference where I presented a poster entitled “Longitudinal study of a live-stranded female bottlenose dolphin in the Shannon Estuary, Ireland” in the Strandings section along with other similar international studies. The poster displayed new results from a study which began in 2012  on the live-stranding and subsequent refloating and resighting of a female bottlenose dolphin with a calf (O’Brien et al. 2014). This individual dolphin stranded when she was nine months pregnant with her calf. We see them both in the Shannon Estuary regularly and the calf is more than three years old now! In addition to displaying their sighting locations, the poster also presented an analysis of the female’s nearest neighbours during individual focal follows, her activity budget breakdown and a social structure analysis investigating her significant associations with other individual dolphins in the population.

The ECS is the largest scientific community involved in the research of cetaceans and pinnipeds in Europe and meets every year for workshops and a conference of oral and poster presentations. The ECS’s mission is to promote and advance the scientific studies and conservation efforts of marine mammals and to gather and disseminate information about cetaceans to members of the Society and the public at large. The theme of this year’s conference was “Into the Deep: Research and Conservation on Oceanic Marine Mammals” and it focused on the conservation of marine mammals in oceanic habitats.

Apart from presenting research, the conference provided an important opportunity to meet old friends and make new ones, and to network with international experts in cetology. The keynote talks delivered by Professor Hal Whitehead, Dr Robin Baird and Dr Mónica Silva were inspirational and delivered with great knowledge and enthusiasm for their subjects. During the presentations too, it was fantastic to learn about so many interesting research projects and presenting a poster provided a great opportunity to represent Irish research on a European platform. In particular, participating in this conference really enhanced my knowledge of current research on bottlenose dolphins and cetacean social structure and contributed well to the progress of my PhD studies.

Overall, it was a very energising and enjoyable conference!

To see the conference program, click here or to look at the ECS website, click here.

The Atlantic Ocean from Madeira © Isabel Baker

The Atlantic Ocean from Madeira © Isabel Baker

Mediterranean monk seals at the Conference Icebreaker © Isabel Baker

Mediterranean monk seals at the Conference Icebreaker © Isabel Baker

Typical Madeiran dish of scabbard fish with fresh fruit © Isabel Baker

Typical Madeiran dish of scabbard fish with fresh fruit © Isabel Baker

Cable car journey © Isabel Baker

Cable car journey © Isabel Baker

Advertisements

21st Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals

Marine mammals, San Francisco City Hall © Isabel Baker


Society for Marine Mammalogy Conference Banquet, San Francisco City Hall © Isabel Baker

The Society for Marine Mammalogy (SMM) hosted its 21st Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals from the 13th to the 18th of December 2015 in San Francisco and it was an energising week full of marine mammal related talks, presentations and activities.  Over 2500 people attended the conference where I presented a poster entitled “Exploring the social structure of the resident bottlenose dolphin population in the Shannon Estuary, Ireland” in the Behavior section along with other similar international studies. The poster displayed results of a social analysis of individuals in the population indicating fluidity between members of the population but also significant longevity in some of their associations.

The SMM is the largest international scientific community in marine mammal research and meets every two years for workshops and a conference week of oral and poster presentations. The SMM’s mission is to promote the global advancement of marine mammal science and contribute to its relevance and impact in education, conservation and management. The theme of this year’s conference was “Bridging the Past Towards the Future” and it focused on marine mammal conservation on a global scale.

Apart from presenting research, the conference provided an important opportunity to meet and network with international experts in marine mammal science. It was fantastic to learn about so many interesting research projects across the globe and a great opportunity to represent Irish research on an international platform. In particular, participating in this conference really enhanced my knowledge of current dolphin research and contributed to the progress of my PhD research.

Overall, it was a very stimulating and enjoyable conference!

To see the highlights from the conference program, click here or to look at the SMM website, click here.

The Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco © Isabel Baker

The Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco © Isabel Baker

Painted Ladies, San Francisco © Isabel Baker

Painted Ladies, San Francisco © Isabel Baker

San Francisco Bay © Isabel Baker

San Francisco Bay © Isabel Baker

California sea lions at Pier 39, San Francisco © Isabel Baker

California sea lions at Pier 39, San Francisco © Isabel Baker

San Francisco Marina © Isabel Baker

San Francisco Marina © Isabel Baker

Grey whale mural, San Francisco © Isabel Baker

Grey whale mural, San Francisco © Isabel Baker

The Marine Mammal Center, Sausalito © Isabel Baker

The Marine Mammal Center, Sausalito © Isabel Baker

Northern elephant seals at Point Reyes © Isabel Baker

Northern elephant seals at Point Reyes © Isabel Baker

San Francisco City Hall © Isabel Baker

San Francisco City Hall © Isabel Baker

Thanks to everyone who makes my PhD research possible.

Isabel Baker