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Marine Mammal Ecology and Conservation

A Handbook of Techniques

Edited by Ian L. Boyd, W. Don Bowen, and Sara J. Iverson

Publication Date - October 2010

ISBN: 9780199216567

448 pages
9.2 x 6.1 inches

The state of the art innovations and developments for the study of marine mammals.


Marine mammals command a high level of public attention, reflected in specific legislation for their protection and management in many countries. They also present particular challenges to ecologists and conservation biologists. They are mostly difficult to observe, they occupy an environment that is vast in its three dimensional extent, there are often perceived conflicts between marine mammals and people, and furthermore several species are now close to extinction.

Marine mammals have some intriguing features in their biology - the ability to dive to crushing depths, to perform breath-hold dives that defy our current understanding of mammalian physiology, and many have an ability to hunt down prey using sophisticated sonar that we are only just beginning to understand. Many species also have complex social structures. We still have much to learn about these extraordinary animals so a comprehensive and authoritative overview of current methodology is now timely. The intention of this book is both to summarize the state-of-the-art and to encourage innovation and further progress in this research field.


  • The first book to summarise the entire range of techniques associated with the study of marine mammals
  • Provides a comprehensive, authoritative, and up-to-date synthesis with contributions from researchers in the forefront of developing new techniques
  • Includes current technologies and methodologies as well as the latest statistical approaches to data analysis

About the Author(s)

Professor Ian Boyd is the Director of the Sea Mammal Research Unit at the University of St Andrews, Scotland. He has worked for over two decades on marine mammals, mainly the Antarctic fur seal but has recently changed focus to study beaked whales in the tropics. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and has received several prestigious awards including the W.S. Bruce Medal for his research in polar science and the Zoological Society of London's Scientific Medal.

Dr. Don Bowen is a Senior Biologist at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada. He is also an adjunct professor at Dalhousie University and a former Division Chief of the Marine Fish Division at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography and former editor of Marine Mammal Science. He has focussed most of his research since the early 1980s on north Atlantic pinnipeds, especially grey seals. He is one of the world's leading marine mammal population ecologists.

Professor Sara Iverson is a faculty member in the Department of Biology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia. She is a physiological ecologist and is a leader in the field of trophic ecology of marine mammals and seabirds through her development of fatty acid signature analysis to derive information about predator diets. She has received a number of prestigious awards for her work including the Canadian Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council's E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship.


"With 70 pages of references, this excellent book will have value for a wide range of biologists not only those studying mammals, and will quickly take its place alongside Southwood's Ecological Methods as a dependable research tool." -- Bulletin of the British Ecological Society 2011

"The handbook deserves a place on the shelf of any serious student of marine mammals, but is so well put together, that anyone studying wildlife ecology and conservation would benefit from this practical guide." -- Ecology

Table of Contents

    1. Ethics in Marine Mammal Science, Nick Gales, David Johnston, Charles Littnan, and Ian L. Boyd
    2. Marking and Capturing, Tom Loughlin, Louise Cunningham, Nick Gales, Randall Wells, and Ian Boyd
    3. Estimating the Abundance of Marine Mammals, Philip S. Hammond
    4. The Spatial Analysis of Marine Mammal Abundance, Jason Matthiopoulos and Geert Aarts
    5. Morphometrics, Age Estimation, and Growth, W. Don Bowen and Simon Northridge
    6. Vital Rates and Population Dynamics, Jason Baker, Andrew Westgate, and Tomo Eguchi
    7. 4 Epidemiology, Disease, and Health Assessment, Ailsa J. Hall, Frances M.D. Gulland, John A. Hammond, and Lori H. Schwacke
    8. Measurement of Individual and Population Energetics of Marine Mammals, Sara J. Iverson, Carol E. Sparling, Terrie Williams, Shelley L. C. Lang, and W. Don Bowen
    9. Diet, D.J. Tollit, G.J. Pierce, K.A. Hobson, W.D. Bowen, and S.J. Iverson
    10. Telemetry, Bernie McConnell, Mike Fedak, Sascha Hooker, and Toby Patterson
    11. Foraging Behaviour, Mark A. Hindell, Dan Crocker, Yoshihisa Mori, and Peter Tyack
    12. Studying Marine Mammal Social Systems, Hal Whitehead and Sofie Van Parijs
    13. Long-term Studies, W.D. Bowen, J.D. Baker, I.L. Boyd, J.A. Estes, J.K.B. Ford, S.D Kraus, S.D., D. Siniff, I. Stirling, and R. Wells
    14. Identifying Units to Conserve using Genetic Data, Barbara L. Taylor, Karen Martien, and Phillip Morin
    15. Approaches to Management, John Harwood
    16. Conservation Biology, Andrew J. Read

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