Southern Resident killer whale monitoring on San Juan Island

October 13, 2018

This summer, from mid-July to the end of September, we studied southern resident killer whale behavior under varying levels of boat and ship traffic. (This is an extension of our 2017 field season with OrcaSound). The Port of Vancouver has asked ships to slow down to less than 11 knots as they transit Haro Strait. Reducing […]

Which raindrop caused the flood?

April 30, 2016

A lot of the research our charity, Oceans Initiative, conducts is to see how human activities — all of them — affect marine wildlife, both in the Pacific Northwest and around the world. The iconic orca we study illustrate this problem well. According to the latest census by Center for Whale Research, the population is hovering at 84 individuals. […]

Co-founder wins prestigious Pew Fellowship to protect whales

February 24, 2015

We’ve been making a lot of noise about ocean noise for years.  Today, the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Marine Fellows Program announced that they’re listening.  Our co-founder, Dr Rob Williams, won a 3-year Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation. He will use the award to expand his studies of impacts of ocean noise on whale, fish, and the interactions […]

Saving the whales by saving their habitat

November 09, 2014

It’s not rocket science. Much of the work we do involves conserving whale & dolphin populations by identifying the habitats most critical to their survival, and keeping the habitat quiet, and full of fish. We’ve published extensively on the value of Marine Protected Areas to survival of endangered killer whale populations.  This week, we’re thrilled to […]


March 31, 2014

  Few marine conservation issues are more contentious than Japan’s “scientific whaling” program, which allows for the killing of up to 935 whales each year. This number is large, relative to hunts of other whales in other parts of the world, but small relative to the hundreds of thousands of Antarctic minke whales in the […]


September 12, 2012

  Rob and his colleagues published a neat new paper today in the open access journal, PLOS ONE.  The paper, led by Dr Kristin Kaschner at the University of Freiburg, examined >1100 estimates of the abundance of whales, dolphins and porpoises reported in more than 400 surveys conducted worldwide between 1975 and 2005. It is […]

Why are you in Scotland when the whales you study are in Canada?

June 26, 2012

We get asked that question a lot. Today, we saw the best answer possible to that question, in E.O. Wilson’s amazing TED talk, called “Advice to Young Scientists”. We’ll wait while you watch it. Wilson outlines the lessons learned from his career in interdisciplinary science as a series of basic principles, but the most important […]


October 11, 2011

Former First Lady, Rosalynn Carter, said it best: “There is nothing more important than a good, safe, secure home.” She was talking about people, but it’s not a bad description of how we protect wildlife. Much of our work as marine conservation biologists involves identifying habitat that’s important to whales and dolphins, and ensuring that […]

Happy Birthday Fin Whale

August 13, 2011

We love fin whales. A few years ago, this photo of a fin whale was taken on Rob’s birthday during a series of surveys he initiated with Raincoast.  The surveys for marine mammals in British Columbia coastal waters yielded an abundance estimate for fin whales (corresponding to an area that’s roughly the PNCIMA region) of 496 […]