LEAPS: Lagenorhynchus Ecology, Abundance and Population Status. Cute, right? This study, led by Erin Ashe as part of her PhD project at the University of St Andrews, assesses the health of the population of Pacific white-sided dolphins found in the Broughton Archipelago, BC and nearby waters. This is a demographic study, which means that it uses statistical methods to study a population. We use non-invasive, photo-identification methods to identify individuals and follow them through time. You can’t follow every individual, so you take a sample, and use statistical methods to assess the conservation status of the population. The statistics are important, because only the most catastrophic problems are apparent to casual observation, and the goal of conservation biology is to identify whether there are human-caused problems, and if so, mitigate them well before they reach catastrophic levels.
It’s officially spring! Cherry blossoms are a sure sign that spring has sprung in the Pacific Northwest. But for Pacific white-sided dolphins, spring means herring. Each spring, Pacific herring find their way to inlets and coastal areas to spawn, laying tens of thousands of eggs. This dramatic event attracts birds, sea lions, and dolphins. We were lucky enough to capture footage of Pacific white-sided dolphins working together to corral herring. Dolphins require a quiet ocean to both to find their prey and to avoid predators like killer whales. Stay tuned for the results of our investigation to assess which areas along the BC coast are quietest for dolphins. Hope you enjoy!