[MARMAM] Josh McInnes - UBC Marine Mammal Research Unit

McInnes, Joshua j.mcinnes at oceans.ubc.ca
Mon Jun 28 12:13:24 PDT 2021

Dear Colleagues,

On behalf of my co-authors, I am very pleased to announce that our new publication titled: Transient Killer Whales of central and northern California and Oregon: A Catalog of Photo-Identified Individuals has been published today as part of the NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service Technical Memorandum series.

McInnes, Josh D., Chelsea R. Mathieson, Peggy J. West-Stap, Stephanie L. Marcos, Victoria L. Wade, Paula A. Olson, and Andrew W. Trites. 2021. Transient killer whales of central and northern California and Oregon: A catalog of photo-identified individuals. U.S. Department of Commerce, NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-SWFSC-644. https://doi.org/10.25923/60y3-5m49

The publication is open access and can be found at the following NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center link: https://swfsc-publications.fisheries.noaa.gov/publications/?search=Transient+Killer+Whales+of+central+and+northern+California+and+Oregon&year=2021

Abstract: Photo-identification studies of transient killer whales (Orcinus orca) off western North America have primarily been conducted in the coastal inland waterways of Washington State, British Columbia, and southeastern Alaska. Less is known about transient killer whales along the outer coast and offshore waters of Oregon and central and northern California. We examined 13 years of photo-identification data to identify individuals and obtain a minimum census for this region, and to summarize information that could be useful for evaluating a hypothesis that whales using this area belong to a distinct assemblage. Data contributions came from opportunistic marine mammal surveys, whale watch ecotours, and dedicated line transect surveys. Transient killer whale photographs were obtained from 146 encounters between 2006–2018. These included 136 encounters in Monterey Bay, California, 5 encounters off central and northern California, and 5 encounters off Oregon. The number of unique individuals seen during this time totaled 155, of which 150 were considered to be alive (as of 2018). These included 34 adult males, 51 adult females, 24 sub-adults, and 41 juveniles. Through repeated observations of association patterns, a total of 30 matrilineal groups were identified. New whales were identified each year, including previously unidentified adults and new calves. Identification images of the dorsal fins, saddle patches and postocular patches were obtained. Details on sex, maternal ancestry, sighting history, and distribution are provided where known. These cataloged transient killer whales were predominantly encountered off the outer coast near the continental shelf break or in deep pelagic waters overlying the Monterey Submarine Canyon. The vast majority (>83 %) of whales identified in the study area could not be matched to transient killer whales in photo ID catalogs for coastal waters of the Pacific Northwest. These factors are consistent with there being a distinct “outer coast” assemblage within the west coast population of transient killer whales, but more research is needed to investigate this further.

Please feel free to email me if you have additional questions: j.mcinnes at oceans.ubc.ca

Josh D. McInnes, MSc Candidate

Marine Mammal Research Unit
Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC Canada V6T 1Z4

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