Cetacean Observations in Boundary Pass

For my Applied Research Project (ARP), I am collecting information on cetacean distribution in Boundary Pass, British Columbia. For the summer, I moved to Saturna Island which is part of the Southern Gulf Island chain. The main species that use this area during the summer months are humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) and both Biggs killer whales and Southern Resident killer whales (Orcinus orca). I am interested in looking at how and when they use the Boundary Pass area near Saturna Island and what kind of interactions they have with commercial vessel traffic, recreational boaters and ecotourism vessels. I will also be incorporating underwater acoustic data and time-lapse photography with my observational data to investigate the use of these methods for cetacean detection. A seasonal ‘Interim Sanctuary Zone’ or vessel-no-go zone has also been in effect since June 1st, on the east side of Saturna Island. This area was set up with the aim to further reduce underwater noise and physical disturbance in Southern Resident killer whale habitat. I am also interested in investigating the effectiveness of the Interim Sanctuary Zone by collecting data on both cetacean and vessel use of the area. Observational data collection takes a lot of patience but definitely pays off when a pod of 20+ orcas or a humpback mother and calf pass by.

Join Lucy and Dr. Ruth Joy in the upcoming sharing session on her ARP!




Zoom link:

This summer, Simon Fraser University (SFU) Masters student and researcher Lucy Quayle has been living on Saturna Island, gathering data about humpback whales, orcas and boats in the Interm Sanctuary Zone (ISZ) for the Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW). Hear about her project and get a glimpse into her findings.

Ruth Joy is a Statistical Ecologist in the School of Environmental Science at Simon Fraser University (SFU). She’ll tell us about her research into predicting the movements of Southern Resident Killer Whales through statistics.

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