[MARMAM] Science talks at WhaleFest 2015

Dylan Walker dylan at planetwhale.com
Sat Feb 14 07:31:15 PST 2015

Dear colleagues:

WhaleFest 2015 (Brighton, UK) will have a dedicated Science and Campaigns
Stage with a programme packed full of fascinating talks on cetaceans and
the wider marine environment.

Below is a list of our speakers for both Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th
March in order of appearance, in addition to short summaries about each
talk. Please note that both the speakers and the running order may be
subject to change.

Speakers include Hal Whitehead, Martyn Stewart, Mark Simmonds, Patrick
Ramage, Charles Anderson, Fabian Ritter and many more! We hope to be able
to welcome you to this event. For more info go to:


 *10.30** Alyx Elliott - World Animal Protection*

*Fishing's Phantom Menace - How Ghost Fishing Gear is Haunting our Oceans *

A staggering 640,000 tonnes of lost or discarded fishing gear is left in
our oceans each year. Every year this 'ghost gear' traps, injures and kills
hundreds of thousands of whales, seals, turtles and birds. Join Alyx
Elliott as she talks about the Sea Change Campaign and how governments,
industry and the public can protect sea life and move towards a future free
from ghost gear, and most importantly how you can get involved.

*11.00* *Guy Stevens - The Manta Trust*

*A Decade Researching the Maldivian Manta Ray*

Join Guy Stevens, a British marine biologist and world leading manta ray
expert, as he talks about the last decade of his life researching and
conserving the charismatic rays in the remote Indian Ocean archipelago of
the Maldives. The Maldives is home to the world’s largest population of the
reef manta ray (*Manta alfredi*), which aggregate at spectacular mass
feeding sites when monsoon and lunar currents sweep the manta’s planktonic
food into the shallow coral reefs, making it the perfect place to study the
world’s largest rays.

*11.30* *Mark Simmonds - Senior Marine Scientist, Humane Society
International and Visiting Research Fellow, School of Veterinary Science at
the University of Bristol *

*The Whaling Dilemma*

Join Mark Simmonds OBE, respected cetacean expert and a long standing
member of the UK's team to the International Whaling Commission, as he
looks in depth at whaling and where it stands in the 21st century with a
particular focus on Japan's activities. He will explain recent developments
surrounding Japan's determination to resume their whaling programme in the
Southern Ocean, and also the role that the UK plays in efforts to keep the
global moratorium on commercial whaling in place.

*12.30* *Anna Cucknell - Marine Conservation Research*

*The Thames Harbour Porpoise Project: The Life and Times of the UK's
Smallest Cetacean in Our Busiest Urban Waterway*

Anna Cucknell will talk about the presence and conservation of harbour
porpoises, the UK's smallest cetacean, in the Thames Estuary. Once severely
polluted, the Thames Tideway is now a diverse and thriving ecosystem. In
2015, MCR and partners are conducting the first scientific surveys for
Thames harbour porpoises. Acoustic and visual surveys will uncover the
species' seasonal distribution in addition to highlighting any threats they
are facing. This talk will summarise the methods and results from the first
survey which will happen the week prior to WhaleFest, whilst explaining how
everyone can get involved in the conservation of the Thames harbour

*13.00 Emma Cunningham - Marine Conservation Society*

*Turning the Tide on Marine Litter - Can We Really Make a Difference?*

Join Emma for an introduction to the work of the Marine Conservation
Society and their work to tackle the rising level of litter that finds its
way into the marine environment. Emma will talk about the harmful effects
that this litter can have on our marine wildlife populations. Find out how
you can help make a difference and get involved!

*13.30 Jennifer Jackson and Iain Staniland - British Antarctic Survey*

*Baleen Whales in Space and Time*

This talk will cover work by the British Antarctic Survey using emerging
technology such as remote sensing and population genomics to generate novel
insights into baleen whale abundance, trends and population structuring of
baleen whales and recovery from 20th century whaling. Highlights include
the use of satellite imagery to count southern right whales from space, the
use of acoustics to survey the presence of different species, population
modelling to assess abundance and recovery trends of humpbacks and blue
whales in the South Pacific and the global evolutionary history of the
humpback whale.

*14.00 Martyn Stewart - Nature Sound BBC*

*Dolphins of Taiji and the Captive Trade*

Around 2000 dolphins around the coast of Taiji, Japan, are captured between
September and March each year. 8% are put into the captive programme, the
rest are brutally slaughtered. Join Martyn Stewart as he delves deeper into
the cetacean drive fisheries that take place in Taiji and looks in detail
at the methods used by those performing the captures. Please note this talk
may contain some graphic images and is not suitable for young children.

*15.00 Alex Mustard - Underwater Photographer, Marine Biologist and Author*

*My Top 5 Shark Shots*

Alex Mustard is an award winning underwater photographer who has won a
number of celebrated awards, including the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the
Year, GDT European Wildlife Photographer of the Year and a number of
categories of the British Wildlife Photography Awards. During this talk
Alex will share his five favourite shark photos and the stories and
photographic techniques behind them.

*15.30 Patrick Ramage - International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)*

*Making Whaling History: The Strife is O'er, the Battle Won?*

This year, for the first time in more than a century, no whales are being
killed this season for commercial purposes in the Southern hemisphere. The
world’s highest court has ruled Japan’s scientific whaling in the Southern
Ocean illegal. Commercial whaling by Iceland and Norway faces increasing
domestic pressure and criticism. Whale watching is growing in all three
countries and continues to expand worldwide. Has the battle to end
commercial whaling been won? Patrick Ramage, Global Whale Programme
Director for IFAW and a 20-year veteran of the battle to end commercial
whaling, will explore this and other questions in what promises to be an
enlightening and entertaining presentation.

*16.00* *Fabian Ritter - The International Whaling Commission (IWC) and

*Ship Strikes: How to Mitigate a Problem With Many Unknowns*

Fabian Ritter will provide an introduction to the issue of ship strikes for
cetaceans and ask 'why do whales get hit by vessels?' and 'how can we avoid
collisions?'. He will provide an overview of the mitigating actions that
are currently in place or are being discussed, including technical,
operational, legal and educational aspects. His talk will also discuss the
role of the IWC and its global ship strike database.

*16.30* *Cetacean Careers Speed Dating!*


*10.30 Dr Charles Anderson - The Whale and Dolphin Company*

*Rediscovery of Beaked Whales*

The family of beaked whales includes some of the least known of all
cetacean species. They are all animals of the deep sea, rarely seen and
therefore of great interest to scientists and dedicated whale watchers
alike. This talk describes the extraordinary and exciting rediscoveries of
not just one but two beaked whales in the tropical indo-pacific: Longman’s
beaked whale and Deraniyagala’s beaked whale.

*11.30* *James Brickell - Producer and Director, BBC Natural History Unit*

*Filming Dangerous Animals*

BAFTA award winning filmmaker James Brickell talks about a job that brings
him close to some of the most dangerous animals on earth. His career has
taken him all over the world filming series including Life in Cold Blood
and Deadly 60. Along the way he has had run-ins with all manner of
potentially deadly creatures - including angry hippos, sharks, enormous
squid and gigantic spiders. Many of them making a concerted effort to
inflict pain on him! In this talk James shares his experience on how to
both film and stay out of trouble when faced with deadly animals.

*12.30 Tim Ferrero - Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust*

*Marine Conservation Zones: Securing a Future for our Marine Biodiversity?*

It is a significant time for marine conservation around the UK. The Marine
and Coastal Access Act 2009 provided for the creation of Marine
Conservation Zones (MCZs), a new type of protection for important and
vulnerable marine habitats and species. Tim Ferrero (Hampshire and Isle of
Wight Wildlife Trust) will discuss the work of the South East Wildlife
Trusts in the development of the MCZs and campaigning for their
designation. He will discuss what MCZs mean for marine conservation and how
they would support cetaceans and other marine mammals, along with other
types of national protection for these important mobile species.

*13.00 Stephen Marsh - British Divers Marine Life Rescue*

*Why do Whales Mass Strand?*

Why do whales and dolphins strand en masse? Are the causes natural or
man-made? Why would whole pods of whales end up on beaches, sometimes
numbering hundreds of animals? Why are some species more likely to mass
strand than others and where are the most likely places for these events
around the UK? Using real life examples Stephen will address these
questions and look at current theories. In this talk we will discover how a
mass stranding event builds up and what can be done to try and avert a

*13.30 Jennifer Berengueras - SOSdolphins*

*SOSdolphins: The Campaign Against Spain**’s Dolphinaria*

Spain is the EU country with the most dolphinaria (11) and the most captive
cetaceans (100). SOSdolphins is a coalition of international NGOs who have
decided to work on raising awareness in Spain. Spain is one of Europe’s
main tourist destinations, therefore the work of SOSdolphins needs to be
aimed not only at locals but also at tourists who visit Spain and its
dolphinaria. Join Jennifer for a talk about the activities of SOSdolphins,
their results so far and the work they still have ahead.

*14.00 Wietse van der Werf - The Black Fish*

*Protecting the Oceans Against Illegal Overfishing*

Organised crime is threatening our oceans. Illegal fishing operations are
estimated to be worth a staggering $23.5bn annually and it is estimated
that up to 300,000 cetaceans die each year as a result of industrial
fishing. The Black Fish brings together people, power and the benefits of
modern technology to affect large-scale monitoring of the European seas.
Using drones, citizen inspectors, boats, aircraft and social media, The
Black Fish are evoking change across Europe on this pressing issue. Join
Wietse van der Werf to hear from personal experience about what is involved
in protecting our oceans - and cetaceans - from fishing crime.

*14.30* *Hal Whitehead - Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada*

*The Cultural Lives of Whales and Dolphins - with photos by Jennifer

A humpback whale sings a long a complex communal song, a song that evolves
over months, a song whose changes propagate eastward across the South
Pacific over years. Blue whales have simpler songs, but songs that get a
little lower in pitch with each passing year. One community of bottlenose
dolphins place sponges on their noses; in another the dolphins beg for fish
from boaters; while a small group can walk on their tails. Come and join
world expert Hal Whitehead as he talks about the fascinating topic of
culture within whale and dolphin social structures, how our knowledge of
cetacean culture should be central to conserving these species, and should
influence how we treat individuals.

Hal’s talk will be accompanied by photos from Jennifer Modigliani.

*15.30* *Russell Wynn - National Oceanography Centre*

*From Hard Graft to High Tech: Using Novel Robotic Vehicles to Map and
Monitor Life in the Ocean*

This talk will show how marine robotic vehicles are transforming the way
scientists and policy-makers map and monitor marine life in the ocean. A
recent demonstration project off southwest England comprised the largest
fleet of robotic vehicles yet deployed in the UK, working together to
simultaneously collect data on the ocean environment and ecosystem. Dr
Russell Wynn will describe how the robots successfully imaged plankton and
fish in the water column, detected echo-locating cetaceans, and
photographed cetaceans and seabirds at the sea surface.

*16.00* *Andy Rogan - Ocean Alliance*

*Threats to Cetaceans: Chemical Pollution*

Ocean Alliance is a research and conservation group founded by renowned
whale biologist Dr. Roger Payne. The group focuses on the greatest threats
whales face: in this case chemical pollution. This talk will look at the
threat of chemical pollution on cetaceans - why it constitutes one of the
gravest hazards to whale and dolphin species survival, why cetaceans are
the ‘canaries in the gold mine’ for humanity when it comes to chemical
pollution, how Ocean Alliance has been studying it (focusing on a recently
concluded 5-year study in the Gulf of Mexico) and how we can help to try
and solve this problem.

*16.30 Cetacean Careers Speed Dating!*

For more information about WhaleFest please visit http://www.whale-fest.com/


*Dylan Walker*
co-founder Planet Whale & WhaleFest

dylan at planetwhale.com <ian at planetwhale.com>
Facebook <https://www.facebook.com/pages/WhaleFest/108656792611093>
Twitter <https://twitter.com/WhaleFest>
mob/cell: +44 (0)7900 471490
skype: planetwhale.whale
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