Poster at SCMMW ’17


In late January I had the pleasure of presenting this poster, based on part of a Bangarang thesis chapter, at the Southern California Marine Mammal Workshop (SCMMW) at the Pacific Life Foundation in Newport Beach, California. I got some great feedback and enjoyed catching up with west coast folks.

Full citation and link to poster is available on Publications page.

Talk at WSN Monterey


As part of the mid-November Monterey Bay Double-Whammy, I am looking forward to presenting the Bangarang’s second thesis chapter at the Western Society of Naturalist’s 100th anniversary meeting in Monterey Bay. I’ll be speaking about the chapter’s second half, “Aggregative and feeding thresholds of rorqual whales within a fjord system.” I’m presenting the other half at another conference the same week.

Looking forward to convening with this great group of enthusiastic nature nerds.

Full citation of talk is provided on Publications page, and more details will follow regarding this chapter, which is currently in review at Ecosphere, the online branch of the Ecological Society of America’s journal series.

CalCOFI adopts Bangarang software


CalCOFI, the California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations long-term study of the US west coast, is now using marine mammal survey software that was adapted from the Bangarang’s custom data entry app! After our success adapting this program for the Gitga’at Oceanographic Initiative, This is another exciting and gratifying extension of novel Bangarang methods into other studies in other systems. We’re calling the CalCOFI app “CountCOFI”, and I am looking forward to customizing and refining the app further as we learn how best to streamline and leverage their incredible survey skills in the years to come.

More details about Bangarang software can be found on the Software page.

Chapter submitted to Ecosphere


Fingers are crossed: this week the Bangarang’s second data chapter was submitted to Ecosphere, the new online branch of the Ecological Society of America’s journal series. The manuscript’s title: “Aggregative and feeding thresholds in sympatric rorqual whales within a fjord system.”

Full citation is available on the Publications page, and more details will follow as more reviewer comments start coming in. I submitted this manuscript after months of review by my thesis committee, the Gitga’at First Nation Science Director, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and other collaborators. Looking forward to getting more opinions on this big chapter.

Next week in Monterey Bay, I’ll be presenting on this chapter at two different conferences: American Cetacean Society and Western Society of Naturalists.

1st Place for Poster at ACS Monterey


In mid-November I have the pleasure of presenting this poster, based on part of a Bangarang thesis chapter, at the American Cetacean Society (ACS) conference in Monterey Bay, California. Looking forward to getting some good feedback and making the science stronger. And seeing some sea otters.

UPDATE! I was honored to received 1st place in the Student Poster contest. My sincere thanks to ACS for their support of students at their conferences!

Full citation and link to poster is available on Publications page.

Backgrounder submitted to Natural History


I was so captured by one of the Bangarang Backgrounders —  a series of literature reviews I did to acquaint myself with my study area, my study species, and my study plan —  that I kept turning it over and over until it finally took the shape of something that might be publishable. I look forward to seeing what the Journal of Natural History thinks of “The blue whale’s pickle: deep natural history and the trappings of bigness.”

Full citation available on the Publications page. As always, I will keep you posted.

“Whale Wave” manuscript accepted


Exciting news! The Bangarang thesis’ first data chapter, which builds off of 10-years of whale surveys by the Gitga’at First Nation and North Coast Cetacean Society, has been accepted at our target journal: Marine Ecology Progress Series. In this paper we explore a curious pattern in which humpback whales occupy the Kitimat Fjord System in a kind of wave, propagating from outer channels to inner channels as summer turns to fall.

We will share further details as the final publication version of the manuscript is made ready! Woohoo!

Full citation is available on Publications page!


The boat’s next adventure

It has not yet sunk in, but the fact is that the RV Bangarang has a new owner. A couple, actually, who was attracted to the vessel not only because of the extensive upgrades we’ve made in the last four years, but also because of the name: they were childhood sweethearts once, and now after decades apart they have reunited. A story of the keeping true to the dreams of thy youth, if I’ve ever heard one.

If it had not been for the immeasurable peace, joy and adventures of the 2016 post-research writing season aboard the Bangarang, I would not be this placid about being boatless once more. But we’ve had our time, it was incredible, and we didn’t let a second of it go to waste. To live is an awfully big adventure.

The boat has moved on, but the Bangarang project is not over. Now we’ve got to tell our story, and we’ve got to make a difference. In words, in data tables, in film, in dissertation. This was always bigger than the boat, always bigger than the degree. Adventures rarely end when they are planned to.


Photo by Luke Padgett.



For three weeks in September, I joined the NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center on a landmark acoustics survey of the cetaceans of the US West Coast: The Passive Acoustic Survey of Cetacean Abundance Levels (PASCAL). Jay, my advisor and the chief scientist of the cruise, has always been big on wordplay.

This article explains what PASCAL was all about and why it is such a neat and important survey design concept.

Summer 2016: Dream of dreams


This summer was an unforgettable, inconceivable blessing. To have this place to write in, with its whales and its friends, and this boat to write from, with its memories and its moments and its propensity for adventure….It was almost too sweet and too immense to bear.  This was the summer I was hoping for when, four years ago here in this place, I first set my mind on the Bangarang.