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Top whale researchers to speak at ‘Whale Tales’

By Staff | Jan 26, 2012

Dr. Jim Darling and Flip Nicklin will sign copies of their latest books featuring Hawaii’s humpback whales from noon to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 4. Photo by Flip Nicklin, Minden Pictures/Whale Trust, photograph taken under NMFS Permit Number 987-1599.

KAPALUA – Whale enthusiasts can learn about whales and the ocean environment from world-renowned scientists, photographers and filmmakers from around the world at “Whale Tales.”

Coordinated by Whale Trust, the event will be held at the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua on Friday, Feb. 3, from 3 to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 4, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

An educational event, “Whale Tales” is an outgrowth of “Whale Quest Kapalua,” which was held successfully from 2006-09 and 2011.

Whale Trusts’ founders are passionate scientists and explorers who believe that science – the quest for answers to the most intriguing questions about our natural world – lies at the heart of environmental education and conservation.

This year’s presenters include whale experts from all over the country:

Dr. Bruce Mate, a professor at Oregon State University and director of its Marine Mammal Program, is a leader in the development of satellite-monitored radio telemetry for marine mammals. Using this technique, he has tagged and tracked manatees, pilot whales, bottlenose dolphins, white-sided dolphins, gray whales, right whales, bowhead whales, humpback whales, sperm whales, fin whales and blue whales.

Over the past 30 years, Craig Matkin has studied killer whales and humpbacks from southeast Alaska through the Aleutian Islands and Bering Sea. He has explored the feeding ecology, population dynamics, genetics and acoustics of these whales.

Flip Nicklin, cofounder of Whale Trust and world-renowned underwater photographer, has spent his 30-year career specializing in the photography of marine mammals.

Mark Ferrari, and his wife, Debbie, began studying the endangered humpbacks off the coast Maui in 1975. Their long-term, 37-year study focuses on the relationships of mothers and calves, the role of males in the breeding population, habitat usage, distribution and recruitment and survival of the calves.

Dr. Dan Salden is a cofounder of the Hawaii Whale Research Foundation and an emeritus professor at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Focusing on humpback whale competitive group behavior and long-term social affiliation patterns, Salden has been actively studying the whales off Maui and occasionally in Alaska for over 30 years.

Edward Lyman is the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary’s large whale entanglement response coordinator. He has helped free over 60 large whales from entanglements and is taking the lead in establishing a community-based, large whale entanglement response network here around the main Hawaiian Islands.

Dr. Jim Darling, cofounder of Whale Trust, has focused his studies on long-term investigations of behavior and ecology of gray whales in British Columbia and humpback whales throughout the North Pacific.

Nicklin and Darling will be on-hand to sign copies of their latest books featuring Hawaii’s humpback whales from noon to 1 p.m. on Saturday.

Naturalists from Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment program will present free interactive activities for children ages 5 to 12 during the event.

Sponsored by the Makana Aloha Foundation and hosted by Whale Trust, the seminars are free and open to the public. A $20 suggested donation will be gratefully accepted.

All donations and proceeds benefit three local nonprofit organizations dedicated to whale research: Whale Trust, Hawaii Whale Research Foundation and Center for Whale Studies.

A local nonprofit, Whale Trust’s mission is to promote, support and conduct scientific research on whales and the marine environment, and broadly communicate the findings.

For a complete schedule of events and information on Benefit Whale Watches, visit www.whaletrust.org or call (808) 572-5700.