Nature Club’s AGM sheds light on marine mammals
It is once again time for the Bowen Island Nature Club’s Annual General Meeting. This year it will be held on Saturday, February 16, at the home of D.G. Blair at 621 Cates Hill Rd. (phone 947-0134 if lost). It is a potluck and starts at 5:30 p.m. with the AGM and speaker starting at 7 p.m. The line-up includes an amazing speaker: Dr. Andrew Trite, a world-renowned researcher on Steller sea lions.
Dr. Trites has been studying North Pacific marine mammals for over 20 years and his research is primarily focused on Steller sea lions, northern fur seals, and Harbor seals. His research program involves captive studies, field studies and simulation models that range from single species to whole ecosystems. His goal is to further the conservation and understanding of marine mammals and provide insights that can be used to resolve conflicts between people and marine mammals.
He is involved in many projects, including those measuring how the distribution of different species (walrus, fur seals, kittiwakes, murres, pollock and bivalves) are controlled by fishing, predators, food availability as well as changes in the physical environment that can act alone or in concert to alter the species ecosystems.
He will provide a presentation on his research trying to understand the disappearance of Stellar sea lions from the Gulf of Alaska and the Aleutian Islands. He has been testing three contributing factors: 1) predation by killer whales; 2) competition with existing fisheries and 3) reproductive failure due to changes in diet. He will link this work back to his new research program trying to determine how Harbour seals in the Strait of Georgia (highest density of Harbour seals found anywhere in the world) influence sockeye, chinook and coho salmon populations in BC.
Dr. Trites is a Professor at UBC’s Fisheries Center and Director of UBC’s Marine Mammal Research Unit and the North Pacific Universities Marine Mammal Research Consortium.
JLONKA BALLY BROWN, B.I. Nature Club