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Monitoring, Tagging, Feeding Studies, and Restoration of Killer Whales Quarterly Tasks

2009 Quarterly Project Tasks:

1st Quarter Tasks (October 1, 2008 - December 31, 2008)
Status: Complete

Tasks to be performed:

Workup satellite tag data in GIS format and update databases. Lipid/fatty acid, contaminant, stable isotope and genetic analysis.

Progress report:

Laboratory and data anaylsis ongoing

2nd Quarter Tasks (January 1, 2009 - March 31, 2009)
Status: Complete

Tasks to be performed:

January 23-27 Annual Marine Science Symposium Finish analysis of photographs from fieldwork and workup satellite tag data in GIS format and update databases. Lipid/fatty acid, contaminant, stable isotope and genetic analysis completion.

Progress report:

Time Period Covered by Report: January 1 2009- March 31 2009 Date of Report: 1 April In this reporting period tissue samples from the past year (2008) were analyzed for stable isotope ratios, lipids and fatty acids, and contaminants. Also genetic analysis was completed where applicable (animals not previously analyzed). This information will be used to determine priorities for sampling during the 2009 field season. Raw tagging data from the ARGOS system was retrieved and filtered for inaccurate locations and imported into Google Earth for initial visual analysis. It will be imported into a GIS system in the next quarter for more detailed quantitative analysis, including calculations of home range and kernel analysis. All photographs, both digital and film were analyzed on a frame by frame basis, the identification database updated, and improvement prints made for the reference catalogue. An electronic version of catalogue organized by genealogies is in the process of update and will be ready for the tourboats and other users this spring. The transient killer whale registry, a record of the life history of each transient whale is also being updated. Presentations summarizing the long-term effects on killer whales of the Exxon Valdez oil spill were made in Anchorage while attending the annual Alaska Marine Science Symposium, and also to a conference of environmental groups in Anchorage. Presentations were also made to classes at Whitman College in Washington and, in Cordova, Seward and in Girdwood at the AWRTA conference. Presentations will be made in Homer and Kodiak in the next period.

3rd Quarter Tasks (April 1, 2009 - June 30, 2009)
Status: Complete

Tasks to be performed:

Submit and answer reviews of population dynamics paper. Prepare for April field work. Conduct fieldwork in April (2 weeks) May (1 week) and June (1 week)

Progress report:

Field work preparations went smoothly and scheduled fieldwork was completed for the period, although the schedule was altered slightly, with 8 days logged in April, 16 logged in May and 14 logged in June. A total of 14 biopsy samples were collected, primarily from select pods for blubber chemistry work. Three satellite tags were deployed. All of the remaining seven AT1 whales have been accounted for although there are no new calves, and all but two AB pod matrilines have been documented. There are no new mortalities in documented AB pod matrilines and one new calf was observed with first time mother, AB50, a thirteen year old whale. Although a number of pods have been completely photographed, many have been traveling in their matrilines and not as a single unit making our photo inventory more difficult. A draft manuscript is being prepared, however delays appear likely due to the withdrawl of the population dynamics analyst from the team. We have had to arrange for another individual to take over the work, however this may involve a substantial redesign of the analysis thus it will likely delay the paper's submission.

4th Quarter Tasks (July 1, 2009 - September 30, 2009)
Status: Complete

Tasks to be performed:

(Not Available)

Progress report:

See annual report for activities and progress during this reporting period

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