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ARGOS Workshop

Rod Hobbs of the Cetacean Assessment and Ecology Program attended a workshop on animal tracking using satellite telemetry in Annapolis, Maryland, on 2-26 March 2003.  The workshop, convened by ARGOS, Toulouse, France, was attended by biologists studying a variety of taxa including marine mammals, fish, ungulates, and migratory birds. ARGOS representatives presented information on current use levels and new features that will soon be available on the ARGOS satellite platforms including a downlink option to relay messages to a deployed transmitter.

By Rod Hobbs.

Dall's Porpoise Abundance

Rod Hobbs presented a current abundance estimate for Dall's porpoise in Alaskan waters to the Alaska Scientific Review Committee.  He estimated 70,700 Dall's porpoise in Alaskan waters.  This estimate has a coefficient of variation of 10% and a confidence interval of 57,800 to 86,500 animals. The minimum population size for management purposes, was 64,900 animals.  This estimate is based on data collected between 1997 and 2000 on aerial and vessel surveys.

By Rod Hobbs.

Killer Whale Workshop

The National Marine Mammal Laboratory hosted a workshop for scientists conducting research on killer whales in Alaska and the Bering Sea on 11-12 March 2003.  Researchers from Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, and Russia were present. Participants presented updates on 2002 field work.  As well as field and analysis methods in areas including photographic identification, biopsy sampling, acoustic recording and analysis, and survey techniques. Especially important was a session on developing consistent procedures for screening photographs for photo quality and individual distinctiveness in preparation for a joint study using photo collections from multiple researchers. Plans were made for several possible joint field studies as well.

By Paul Wade.

West Coast Steller Sea Lion Survey

Staff from the California Current Ecosystem Program conducted resighting surveys of branded Steller sea lions on the coasts of Washington, Oregon, and California during winter 2002-03. Steller sea lion pups were branded and tagged in 2001 at Rogue Reef, Oregon, and in 2002 at St. George Reef, California.  Coastal surveys from land-based observation sites yielded resightings of 41 individuals branded in 2001 and 2002 and a few resighted animals branded and/or tagged in previous studies.  Of the 41 resighted brands, 12 were marked on Rogue Reef and 29 on St. George Reef.  This represents 21.6% of the 2002 and 7.8% of the 2001 cohort (excluding known dead animals).

By Jeff Laake.

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