The Whale Trail: Kin-directed prey-sharing behavior

November 8, 2018 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Dakota Place Park
4304 SW Dakota St
Seattle, WA 98116

Family feast: Kin-directed prey sharing behavior in northern resident killer whales
Presentation by Brianna Wright

When: November 8th, 2018 7:00-8:30 Doors open at 6:15

Where: Dakota Place Park 4304 SW Dakota

Cost: (updated) $10 General Admission; Kids under 12 are Free

Advance tickets:

Presented by The Whale Trail

Resident killer whales prey almost exclusively on salmon and depend particularly on Chinook (the least common species of salmon in the Pacific Northwest), which makes up the majority of their known diet. Despite the importance of Chinook to the survival of individual killer whales, they frequently choose to share this critical resource with family members. Brianna Wright, Eva Stredulinsky, Graeme Ellis and Dr. John Ford conducted a 12-year study (2002-2014) examining patterns of prey sharing behavior among northern resident killer whales. In particular, the talk will discuss the prevalence of prey sharing between close maternal relatives, and the role that this cooperative behavior may have played in the evolution of this population’s unusually stable social structure.

A scientific article presenting the results from this study, entitled “Kin-directed food sharing promotes lifetime natal philopatry of both sexes in a population of fish-eating killer whales, Orcinus orca”, is available free of charge from the journal Animal Behavior at the following link:

About the Speaker

Brianna Wright holds a BSc. in Biology and Anthropology from the University of Victoria and a MSc. in Zoology from the University of British Columbia. She began her career in whale research as an undergraduate co-op student with Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s marine mammal research group in 2007, transitioning to full-time work as a research technician for the same team in 2008. Her graduate thesis used Dtags (a suction-cup attached device that records dive depth, body position and underwater sound) to investigate the fine-scale foraging behavior of resident killer whales. In 2014, Brianna graduated from UBC and returned to the Pacific Biological Station in Nanaimo, where she currently works as a marine mammal biologist for Fisheries and Oceans Canada. In 2016, she published a paper with Eva Stredulinsky, Graeme Ellis and John Ford about prey sharing behavior by resident killer whales and its influence on the evolution of their unique social structure. This paper was awarded Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Paper of the Year award in 2016. Her recent research includes projects on resident killer whale population monitoring, feeding behavior and echolocation, as well as habitat modeling for large baleen whales to help reduce the impact of vessel strikes on these vulnerable populations.

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