It’s been an incredible few days here in San Francisco — meeting marine mammal researchers from around the globe and hearing talks on wide-ranging topics, some familiar and some very new.
I’ve learned there’s a “whale temple” in Thailand where fishermen bring the remains of stranded cetaceans for worship (Long Vu, Vietnam Marine Mammal Network).
We’ve heard experts discuss climate change’s effects on the Jet Stream (Jennifer Francis, Rutgers University) and the implications for marine mammal populations (Dr. Sue Moore, NOAA).
There was an entire session dedicated to sea otter research led by Dr. Tim Tinker (UCSC) and Dr. Jim Estes (UCSC), with presentations on a huge array of topics including diving behaviors (Joseph Tomoleoni, USGS), variance in reproductive success (Max Tarjan, UCSC), tactile sensing abilities (Sarah Macay Strobel, USGS/UCSC), and more!
I’ve learned about the genetics of scent in fur seals (Martin Stoffel, Bielefeld University) and the difficulties of SNP detection in the fur seal draft genome (Emily Humble, Bielefeld University).
I’ve had fantastic talks with otter researchers about the uses of isotopes from ancient otter bones for understanding changes in diet over time (Emma Elliott Smith, UNM) and gotten amazing advice about how to use ancient otter samples in my own genomic research (Dr. Shawn Larson, Seattle Aquarium).
My own talk on the whale gut microbiome was a blast — I got insightful questions and talked to interested researchers extensively afterward. Tomorrow, I’m looking forward to a last wander through the posters, more genetics talks, and a big Society for Marine Mammalogy “Birthday Bash” at SF City Hall!