Science on Tap - Why Poop Is The Golden Ticket for Killer Whale Research

March 8, 7:00 pm

"Why Poop is the Golden Ticket for Killer Whale Research" How do scientists learn about the health and diet of whales and dolphins when these species are often hidden in the ocean depths? Thanks to rapid developments in genetic technologies (e.g. feces and environmental DNA (eDNA)), scientists have an ever-growing, noninvasive toolkit to look at what these leviathans are feeding on. They’re piecing together a picture of who ate what and helping to fill in some of the questions plaguing managers and conservationists focused on the endangered Southern Resident killer whales, including stock structure, diet, health, and genetic fitness. Dr. Kim Parsons will describe her journey into the world of whale poop and how she’s using molecular genetics to help managers prioritize goals to support the recovery of the iconic Southern Resident killer whales. At this Science on Tap, learn how whale poop is providing amazing insights into killer whales and their prey. Kim Parsons, Ph.D. leads the Molecular Genetics team in the Conservation Biology Division at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NOAA Fisheries) in Seattle, WA. Kim is a molecular ecologist focusing on the development and application of genetic and genomic tools to support the conservation and management of marine species. Kim works closely with academic, non-profit and federal partners on research spanning many species and many oceans. COVID POLICY Verbal vaccine confirmation required; masks encouraged. VIP tickets include premium seating in the first few rows of the auditorium. Supporter tickets include premium seating, a collectible SoT pint glass, and good feelings for supporting the program!