Whale & Seabird News - Summer 2003
 22 years.
(previous newsletters: 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 )

Table of Contents:

Weir Release News 

The Harbour Porpoise Release Program, HPRP, has been in operation since 1991 and works co-operatively with local weir operators. Herring weirs are ingenious fish traps usually fixed to the bottom and constructed of stakes and netting, positioned to corral herring as they move along shorelines. Over 660 porpoises have been released from weirs in the Bay of Fundy through this program since 1991, including the phenomenal year of 2001 when more porpoises were in weirs than anyone could ever recall. 

Summary of Harbour Porpoises in Weirs in 2002.

In 2002 we released 31 porpoises from the weirs around Grand Manan, representing roughly 12% of the number of animals we seined in 2001. There were a total of 53 porpoises recorded in Grand Manan weirs, with the vast majority of these turning up in Flagg’s Cove (between Swallowtail, Long Island and Castalia Bank). Of the 53, 15 swam out [or left when the twine was taken down], 31 were seined or swept out alive, 3 died during seining, and the fates of 4 animals are unknown. This gives us a seining success rate of 31/34, or just above 91%, for 2002. 

Our overall average for the past 11 years is about 94%, so we are close to that this year. Porpoises swam into weirs all summer: we recorded entrapments from June 9th to the end of September. As in most years, the majority of the entrapments (30) occurred in August, with 5 in June, 7 in July, and 11 in September.

Data Collected From Porpoises.

Of the 31 animals released, we were able to collect biological data from 30. Sixteen of the animals were male, and 14 were female. We had five calves (born this May), 7 juveniles, and 18 adults.

In 2002, the largest (163 cm female) and smallest (her calf: an 86 cm male) porpoises were both seined out on July 2. The 30 animals we handled all had uniquely numbered plastic tags attached to their dorsal fins before they were released. Tags for males are placed high on the fin, and female tags are positioned at the base of the fin. We were able to weigh 16 of the porpoises released: the heaviest of these was a female that weighed 62 kg (136 lbs).

The three porpoises that did not survive seining represented various age classes and consisted of a male calf, a mature male and a juvenile female. Based on these animals, and the porpoises that have died during release attempts in previous years, it is fair to say that there is not a certain age class that is more vulnerable to mortality during seining. 

We use a heart rate monitor (used by professional athletes) to measure heart rate as a way of learning about physiology and the stress level of porpoises during seining. We use length and girth to provide a general idea of the body condition (by this we mean body fat) of the porpoises. It’s good to be fat if you’re a porpoise! 

We collected blood samples from 15 porpoise this year. These samples are used as part of a long-term study monitoring the health of this population. Blood samples also allow us to evaluate the health of each individual: red and white blood cell counts are used to look at oxygen delivery and search for signs of infection and disease, enzyme levels provide information about organ function, and hormone levels can be used to assess stress and to determine pregnancy and maturity status. 

We also used blood samples to begin a study on Brucellosis in porpoises. This bacterial infection can cause serious reproductive problems in land mammals and it has only recently been discovered in marine species. Preliminary results show that porpoises in the Bay of Fundy are also exposed to Brucellosis.

Health information from Bay of Fundy porpoises is also used by rehabilitation facilities in other parts of the world as a guideline for normal blood values and body weights for wild harbour porpoises. For example, the New England Aquarium has spent the summer of 2002 rehabilitating a juvenile harbour porpoise that stranded in Massachusetts in May 2002. Once this porpoise recovered and was deemed healthy, it was released in the fall of 2002.

What Happened in 2001?

Last year was a record year for the Harbour Porpoise Release Program, with a total of 310 porpoises observed in Grand Manan weirs. Fifty-one of these animals swam out, and a total of 244 porpoises were seined or swept out by us, with several more released by fishermen late in the season. Our success rate, even with so many animals, was still impressive: 94.6% of seined porpoises were released alive. We seined for porpoises 102 times in 2001, sometimes 4 to 6 times a day. Often there would be 3-6, or up to 12-13 porpoises in a weir at once. It was impossible to identify any factors associated with entrapment last year (tide phase, moon brightness, etc) because lots of porpoises swam into weirs every night. None could recall a year like this, or remembered hearing about one in the past. It certainly seemed to be a very unusual summer.

Given the high numbers of porpoise entrapments during the summer of 2001, we had no idea what to expect for 2002. Our last big year for porpoises was 1993, in which 153 porpoise entrapments were recorded, and we released 113 animals. Entrapment numbers for 1992 and 1994 were 72 and 77 respectively, so we thought that porpoise entrapments might occur in cycles. If so, 2002 would again be a busy year, with perhaps 150 porpoises (half of the 2001 total). Apparently, porpoises are as hard to predict as the herring they feed on. This year we saw 1/6th of the number of porpoises swim into Grand Manan weirs, and handled only 34 individuals (a little over 1/8th the number we seined last year). 

Surprisingly, after putting on all those plastic rototags last year (214 of the 244 porpoises had rototags), none of these animals swam into weirs this year. We did see some (like the one shown here) swimming around in the wild, particularly around the Whistle Rip. 

So what happened in 2001? Last year there seemed to be an overall shift of porpoises inshore. Porpoise entrapments are likely tightly associated with herring distribution. Porpoises are small animals and must stay right on top of their food source. It may be that porpoises target a specific size class of fish that was closer to shore last summer. It is also entirely possible that some other factor was responsible for last year’s high entrapment rates. The bottom line is that we can’t predict what will happen each year, or exactly why porpoises move around in the way that they do. Every year we learn a little bit more about them.

Other Weir Visitors

In addition to porpoises, there were a few larger visitors to Grand Manan weirs this year. We recorded one minke whale in July, and four humpback entrapments (two of these may have been the same whale visiting twice) in September. All of these whales were released successfully. All four humpbacks (one is shown below) were juveniles. Additionally two humpback whales were later entrapped in weirs in Campobello Island, the last released the end of November!

Minke whales are infrequent, but not uncommon to weirs - usually 2-3 each summer, for a total of at least 26 over the past decade. Humpback whales don’t seem to swim into weirs very often; prior to this year we were aware of only 8 such events. Humpbacks (and fin whales) often came closer to Grand Manan shores at night in past years, but for the last few summers they have not been seen very close to land. 

One would assume humpback movements in the Bay are also linked to shifts in herring distribution, but some other factor may have been responsible for the presence of humpbacks in weirs this year. 


The Mammal Seine

After the high demand for the mammal seine last year, a second seine was constructed this winter with funds from DFO through the Grand Manan Fishermen's Association (GMFA). This new net is longer (250’) and deeper (65’) than the green one (210’ x 52’), and the mesh is slightly larger (8" mesh, rather than the 4" of the green seine). So far this new black net has been used five times: three times to seine out porpoises and also for sweeping out two humpbacks. These large mesh seines are very effective ways to remove porpoises (and other unwanted animals) from weirs without affecting the herring. 

Use of these seines also results in a significant reduction in porpoise mortality. All 3 porpoises that died during seining this year did so in weir (herring) seines; we had no 2002 mortality with the mammal seines. Over the past 10 years, 97.5% of all porpoises seined with mammal seines were released alive. For weir seines, this rate is only 81.6%. In all likelihood a combination of many factors, including the high visibility of the twine, the presence of fewer fish to confuse and disorient the porpoises, and the tendency of extra twine to float at the surface rather than create bags and folds at depth, results in a higher percentage of porpoises being released alive with the mammal seines.
Porpoises Make the News!

We had a film crew from the Discovery Channel visit for several days in August, filming a documentary about the Release Program. The crew was able to get some great footage of the release of a mother and calf from Cora Bell, and three porpoises from Iron Lady. 

This show aired as part of a series on wildlife "Into the Wild" on Discovery Channel Canada in January/February 2003. An article about Bay of Fundy porpoises and herring is in the June 2003 issue of the National Geographic. 

Harbour porpoises also made the local news on the Digby, NS, shore. The Berwick Register ran a story about two porpoises that swam into a weir in Morden, NS on August 24. David Hamilton was able to release the animals without any trouble, saying that the porpoises "were actually very cooperative". Apparently porpoise entrapments are not common in the weirs around Digby, as these were the first Mr. Hamilton had ever encountered.

Thanks to our Supporters for 2002

Each year the Harbour Porpoise Release Program requires funds for boat gas, seining costs, boat and seining equipment, and to provide room and board and travel costs for the release staff. It would not be possible to run the Harbour Porpoise Release Program without this generous support, and we acknowledge it gratefully. In 2002 we received support from Connors’ Brothers, Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society U.K., the International Fund for Animal Welfare, and a grant from The Government of Canada Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk. We also receive support from private individuals. The HSP money also allowed us to develop a computer slide presentation for weir operators and others - presented in 2002 on Campobello Island and to DFO St. Andrews. We were also able to reprint the weir release manual developed by us in 2000.


Dave Johnston, as part of his Ph.D., has been studying an area locally called the Whistle or Long Eddy Rip, a turbulent, tidally upwelled area known for abundant marine species and feeding aggregations. We would also like to congratulate Dave Johnston for being awarded the best student oral presentation at the European Cetacean Society meeting in the Canary Islands, 9-13 March 2003. The following is taken from the abstract of Dave's presentation.

Marine mammals and other upper trophic level predators often associate with fine-scale tidally-induced oceanographic features, presumably because these features facilitate foraging. Grand Manan, functions as a large physical obstruction to the flow of strong tidal currents and produces a complex system of upwellings and eddies at its northern tip during flood tides. During 1999 and 2000 Dave documented a significant increase in the abundance of harbour porpoises and finback whales in the vicinity of this feature during flood tides. In 2001 and 2002 he conducted oceanographic surveys to study the physical processes that force this system. Using a combination of two types of oceanographic observations, and RADARSAT remote sensing imagery, he confirmed that this physical system functions as an island wake. During flood tides, water flowing rapidly (over 2m/s) past the northwest side of the island separates from the boundary layer at its northern tip. This predictable flow separation produces a relatively large anti-cyclonic eddy, and associated smaller eddies and upwellings, along a sharply delineated velocity front downstream in the tidal flow. The large eddy forms adjacent to the island approximately 1 hour into the flood tide and then moves slowly offshore to be shed by the system at high tide. The velocity front extends throughout the water column and is approximately 8-10m wide, where currents change from a rapid eastward flow (north of the separation) to a relatively quiescent northwest flow south of the separation zone. He hypothesized that this predictable island wake system physically aggregated zooplankton through a complex pattern of secondary flow, which attracted large numbers of herring, mackerel and other fish. The regular occurrence of this feature provides a predictable aggregation of food for marine mammal and seabird predators.

As an adjunct to Dave's work, last summer Lesley Thorne, one of his field assistants, individually identified finback whales from photographs.


Right Whale Notes:

As in the previous two years there was a large right whale research effort in the Bay of Fundy. To coordinate research activities and monitor the effort on individual whales an annual meeting was sponsored by DFO St. Andrews in early April 2002. A similar meeting was held in March 2003 to plan for the upcoming season.

Research in 2002: 

  • The New England Aquarium (photoidentification of right whales, monitoring calves and other projects)
  • Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (suction cup data tags, studying the vocalizations in surface active groups of whales and ultrasound measurements of blubber and video imaging of body size) including researchers from University of North Carolina - Wilmington (infrared imaging) 
  • U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service (photogammetry - length and size of right whales from aerial photos)
  • Dalhousie University (feeding and acoustical studies), Department of National Defense Canada (acoustical) 
  • St. Andrews Biological Station (Department of Fisheries and Oceans - aerosat observations of right whales and whale watching vessels) 
  • East Coast Ecosystems (distribution and data collection from whale watch vessels). 

Right whales were slower to arrive in the Bay of Fundy in 2002 than the previous ten years, many remaining off Cape Cod well into July feeding on dense patches of copepods. Scattered sightings were seen throughout July but it wasn't until later in August that large numbers of right whales came into the Bay. Most right whales had departed by late October but a few were present at the opening of Grand Manan lobster season November, seen close to the Swallowtail light house on Grand Manan over several days. If lobster fishermen see right whales they usually work another area until the whales move off to avoid tangling the whale in gear. A probable sighting occurred the last week of December between Grand Manan and Campobello Islands. For much of November and December right whales were frequently seen over Jeffrey's Ledge in the Gulf of Maine. It is a relatively short swim from there to the Bay of Fundy.

At least six calves of the 22 born accompanied their mothers into the Bay of Fundy. One of the mothers became entangled at some point in the summer and was seen a couple of times in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. By the time she came to the Bay she had miraculously shed the ropes. There are many hazards for right whales and four of the calves were discovered dead. Ship strike and entanglement in fishing gear are the greatest hazards but congenital problems and predators may also result in dead calves.

The 2002-2003 calving season started with a right whale mother and calf spotted in early December; further surveys suggested this might be another spectacular calving year. Unfortunately the winter survey season was saddened by the tragic crash of one of the survey planes on January 26. Four were killed in the crash: Jackie Ciano, Emily Argo, Michael Newcomer, and the pilot, Tom Hinds. The cause of the crash is still under investigation. Although further aerial coverage was limited as a result of the crash, by March 2003, at least 18 calves had been seen. 
Entanglements in 2002:

At least eight entangled right whales were observed in 2002, the worse on record and all potentially life-threatening. Of the eight (see table), five were seen in the Bay of Fundy and disentanglement efforts were undertaken with one success. Unfortunately this yearling later washed ashore dead on Nantucket Island, NY, in October. Difficult sea conditions with high breaking waves on shore prevented a detailed dissection but examination of tissues indicated death was likely from septicemia or infection from the entanglement. In February 2003 a young right whale, #3120, first seen entangled in April of 2002 was spotted in Florida waters in apparently better condition but still entangled. This whale was in the Bay of Fundy in the summer of 2002 and numerous attempts were made to disentangle her. Our researchers were involved in several of these attempts. Two other right whales entangled in 2002 (#2320 or Piper and #1424) have been found, still entangled, in Cape Cod Bay in March/April 2003. All whales are being monitored, including at least one other; disentangling will be attempted when and where possible. 

Recovery Plan: 

The GMWSRS continues to serve on the Implementation Team of the Canadian Right Whale Recovery Plan. Two committees have been formed to address priority issues of the interactions with right whales, shipping and fishing. Dr. Moira Brown and the ship/right whale committee were successful in rerouting the shipping lanes for the Port of Saint John out of an area where right whales often occur. This move may reduce the probability of ship strike by up to 80% in the area. The new lanes are scheduled for use in July 1, 2003. Dr. Brown was awarded a Gulf of Maine Visionary Award and a Canadian Environmental Award sponsored by the Canadian Geographic for this work. The Marine Resource Centre in Cornwallis, NS, is chairing the fishing/right whale committee to assess and recommend changes to reduce entanglements of right whales in fishing gear. Three fishermen tested neutrally buoyant and sinking rope in some of their lobster trawls (series of traps attached to each other) this winter which may help reduce entanglement of whales in lobster trawls. A display booth at the Yarmouth, NS, Fishery Show in the winter provided information about right whales to the fishermen attending. Stickers with the telephone number needed to report entangled whales were handed out to those attending the show and additionally to fishing groups around the Bay of Fundy. 

Whale Watching: 

Seven years of Laurie's whale watch opportunistic data base of marine mammal, seabird, basking shark and other sightings have been entered into computer files. Eastern Charlotte Waterways generates GIS maps from these data which have a variety of uses such as environmental assessments, and oil spill preparedness planning. Basking shark data for 2002 were also made available to Dr. Steve Turnbull, University of New Brunswick, Saint John. We also provided marine mammal information to Dr. Rob Stephenson, DFO St. Andrews, who is tracking whale watching effort on right whales and to the World Wildlife Fund. Some of the seabird data, in particular the phalarope sightings, is being analyzed in conjunction with Dr. John Chardine, Canadian Wildlife Service. Migrating phalaropes were abundant in the Deer Island area in the early 1980s but disappeared from that area. Dr. Chardine is looking at present phalarope distributions in the Bay of Fundy and comparing these to the 1980s.

Right Whale Stewardship Funding from the Government of Canada Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk allowed us to give digital copies of the North Atlantic right whale catalogue to the Grand Manan whale watchers, local Visitor Information Centre, Grand Manan Community School and the Grand Manan Fishermen's Association. We also developed a number of outdoor panels with information about right whales, whale watching, etc. to be placed at the North Head wharf, a package of information to be given to recreational boaters, including a sighting card that can be sent back to us, a right whale poster suitable for schools, a right whale stewardship computer slide show, restructuring of our website ( and development of a resource guide for teaching material about right whales. Further funding from the New Brunswick Environmental Trust and a generous donation from Northern Plastics helped with these and three additional outdoor whale information panels for other wharves on Grand Manan. We were also able to renovate our museum through this funding (see below).


Only two tern nesting colonies remain in the Grand Manan archipelago, a large, protected colony on Machias Seal Island, well known for its nesting puffins, and another sporadic colony of small numbers of common terns on Sheep Island. Historically, terns nested on many islands but the overwhelming number of large gulls nesting on every offshore island has displaced nesting terns. It is the long-term goal of the Fundy Bird Observatory, a project of the GMWSRS, to re-establish a vibrant colony of terns which may in turn promote nesting of other seabird species such as puffins. A preliminary study was begun in 2002 with financial support from the New Brunswick Wildlife Trust Fund along with generous donations from our "Friends of the Fundy Bird Observatory (FBO)" to try to protect and encourage increased nesting of common terns on this island. This project could also not have proceeded without the support of the owners of Sheep Island, and the logistical support provided by Russell Ingalls. Twenty-five tern decoys were provided by the Canadian Wildlife Service. The FBO bird banding shed was moved to Sheep Island with the help of Russell Ingalls, and refitted as a tiny camp. 

Brian Dalzell spent much of the spring and part of the summer on Sheep Island, discouraging gulls from nesting primarily by making loud noises when the gulls were beginning to nest; common terns nest almost a month later than the gulls. There was limited success with 40% fewer herring gulls and 90% fewer greater black-backed gull nests in 2002 compared with 2001. At least 17 common tern pairs nested compared with eight the previous year. 

With the encouraging results of the project in 2002, we successfully applied for funding from both the New Brunswick Wildlife Trust and the New Brunswick Environmental Trust Fund for 2003 which will cover the salary of the wildlife technician, food and miscellanies, purchase of additional tern decoys and a sound system to play tern calls. The latter two have been used successfully to attract terns to nest on other islands such as in the Gulf of Maine where nesting colonies of terns were successfully re-established in conjunction with puffin reintroductions. We do need to raise additional money to pay for the purchase of a small, used travel trailer to replace the banding shed which will be used for storage this year. Please check the appropriate box on the donation form if you wish to support this project. Many of you who have supported the FBO in the past will also be receiving a separate request from Brian. 


VISITORS: From 1996 the number of visitors climbed for two years but since 1998 has fluctuated within 10% each year with the exception of 2000 when it was 15% lower than the highest year. The number of visitors in 2002 was 9265. We were open most days from June to Thanksgiving in October. Our museum is well used by organizations such as Whale Camp, Elderhostel, the Huntsman Marine Science Centre, and the Boys and Girls Club. Additionally, Laurie is a regular June visitor to the community school kindergarten class. The class also visits the museum as one of their final activities in June. Although our numbers were down by 10% our sales only declined by 5.5%. Over the last six years our sales have been steadily increasing and have caught up with the increase in visitors. The proceeds allow us to keep the GMWSRS functioning. The success of our museum/gift shop could not have been realized without the assistance of our two museum attendants, Chelsey and Alisha. A grant from the Human Resources Development Canada provided the salary for one student.

DISPLAYS: In June 2002 we finally started a major renovation of our museum in conjunction with grants from the Government of Canada Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk, the New Brunswick government Environmental Trust Fund and Northern Plastics. Erin Vos, a masters student from Duke University working at GMWSRS on a Doris Duke Scholarship, worked in conjunction with Laurie and others to redesign the museum layout Erin also coordinated the changes for several months, from stripping wallpaper, endless painting, designing preliminary posters and displays, transferring preserved specimens from formalin to ethanol, cleaning displays, building walls, etc. We could not have accomplished all of this without help from everyone at the GMWSRS last summer including two students from England working on Masters projects who pitched in. Laurie continued the work through the fall and winter and is in the process of putting everything back for the upcoming summer. If you visited last summer we apologize for any inconvenience caused by the renovation work while the museum was open but hope that the results will more than make up for these.

We have renamed our museum The GASKIN MUSEUM OF MARINE LIFE in tribute to the late Dr. David Gaskin, our former executive director and founder.


Spring Crabbe from Bristol, NB was our third Gaskin Fellow. She had just finished her Bachelors degree at the University of Toronto in human kinetics. Her parents have ties to Grand Manan. A grant from the New Brunswick S.E.E.D. program (the first year we have received this) paid for the internship in 2002. However it is still important to contribute to the Dr. David Gaskin Memorial Fund since we can not rely on receiving this grant annually. Please mark the appropriate box on the enclosed donation form if you wish to help us with this program. Richie Morgan, our Gaskin Fellow last year has pursued his interest in video and is enrolled in community college in Woodstock, NB.

Fond Farewells and THANK YOU to members of our Executive Committee who have moved on to other things over the last year. Their hard work and efforts to make the GMWSRS a better place are greatly appreciated!

Dr. Andy Read - who is now concentrating his efforts on bottlenose dolphin research at Duke University in North Carolina.

Dr. Tara Cox - who now works for the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission in Washington, DC.

Dave Johnston - who is moving to British Columbia to conduct comparative field work for his Ph.D. thesis project, and plans to work on other marine ecology projects in BC.

Rob Ronconi - who is currently working with environmental consulting companies in Alberta will begin a Masters degree at the University of Victoria studying seabirds in the fall 2003.

Sarah Wong - who has started a Masters degree (fall 2002) at the University of Calgary, and will be studying black and white colobus monkeys or guerezas in Ghana this summer and fall.

Congratulations! We want to congratulate Tara Cox on the recent successful defense of her Ph.D. thesis "Evaluation of strategies to reduce bycatch of harbor porpoises (Phocoena phocoena)" on March 28, 2003.

We also congratulate Dr. Heather Koopman who has accepted a faculty position at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, NC, beginning January 2004, following a position as a Post-Doctoral Investigator at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

We would also like to thank our French translators Vicky Violette and J. Denys Bourque for their great work translating material for both Habitat Stewardship Projects in 2002.

DIRECTORS: Ivan Green, Heather Koopman, Laurie Murison


Dave Johnston, Ph.D. student Duke University, Beaufort, NC
Dr. Heather Koopman, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Post-doctoral Investigator
Laurie Murison, M.Sc.
Dr. Aleksija Neimanis
Dr. Andy Read, Duke University Marine Laboratory, Beaufort, NC 
Rob Ronconi, B.Sc.
Andrew Westgate, PhD. student Duke University, Beaufort, NC.
Sarah Wong, B.Sc.
RESEARCH BIOLOGISTS: Kerry Irish, M.Sc. student at University of British Columbia
Ari Friedlaender, Ph.D. student at Duke University

FIELD ASSISTANTS: Ken Ingersoll, Grand Manan 
Katie Kuker, B.Sc. University of Guelph, Guelph, ON
Lesley Thorne, B.Sc. student at University of Guelph, Guelph, ON

GASKIN FELLOW: Spring Crabbe, B.Sc. University of Toronto

MUSEUM ASSISTANTS: Chelsey Beman, Grand Manan
Alisha Pond, Grand Manan


MUSEUM: Megan Greenlaw, Grand Manan
Gordon & Wiley Kempton, Grand Manan
Karen McDonald, Grand Manan
Sarah McDonald, Grand Manan
Wendie Schneider, Grand Manan
RESEARCH: Aelita "Pele" Neimanis, Hamilton, ON
MISC.: Wayne Miller, Grand Manan (garden) 
Marion Murison, Grand Manan (newsletter mailing)
JUNIOR VOLUNTEERS: Josh McEown, Pickering, ON
  • Dr. Doug Nowacek, Dr. Peter Tyack, Mark Johnson, Dee Allen, Emily Argo, Nico Biassoni, Alec Bocconcelli, Alex Loer, Jim Partan, Amy Samuels, Alex Shorter, Danielle Waples, Monica Zani, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA, worked on right whale project. 
  • Dr. Ann Pabst, Bill McLellan, and graduate students Michelle Barbieri, and Erin Meagher University of North Carolina, Wilmington, NC
  • Andy LoSchiavo, Duke University 
  • Rebecca Wilson and Helen Doonan, M.Sc. students at Leeds University, Leeds, UK
FILM CREW: Emma Reid and crew, Discovery Canada
FUNDING AGENCIES: Kim Emslie and David Loan (IFAW Canada)
Dr. Ieva, John & Aelita Neimanis, Hamilton, ON 
Kate Freeman, Beaufort, NC
The Vos family from Michigan
Barbara, Peter and Jacie Kuker from Ontario

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Jane Tarn, Fredericton, NB
Daniel Taillon & Marie Cousineau, Vaudreuil Dorion, QC
Marke Terene, Toronto, ON
Mel & Sandy Turner, St. Andrews, NB
Rohan van Twest, Guelph, ON
Harry Walker, Miramichi, NB
Doreen Wallace, Fredericton, NB
Edith Weber, Wyevale, ON
Alma and Don White, Moncton, NB
Brian Wiese, Shanty Bay, ON
Anne Wilford, Oakville, ON
Allan & Loretta Wilkins, Grimsby, ON
Dennis Wood, Toronto, ON
Diane Zierold, Lubec, ME
Rosemarie Zucker, Toronto, ON

Dr. Maria Lynes
Dorothy Roney
Laura Graham
Eileen Somers

And to our lost colleagues:

*Dr. David St. Aubin, Director of Research, Mystic Aquarium 
in Connecticut who died unexpectedly in September 2002.

*Jackie Ciano, Emily Argo, Michael Newcomer, and pilot Tom Hinds 
who died during an aerial survey January 26, 2003.


Summer Students

Human Resources Development Canada
New Brunswick S.E.E.D. program
Porpoise Research
Wheelock College
Harbour Porpoise Release Program Support
Government of Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk
International Fund for Animal Welfare
Whale & Dolphin ConservationSociety
Sheep Island Tern Restoration 
New Brunswick Wildlife Trust
Finback Whale Photo-identification
TD Friends of the Environment Foundation
Right Whale Public Education Project
Government of Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk
Environmental Trust Fund Your Environmental Trust Fund at Work
  • Atlantic Mariculture (WCF) 
  • Connors Brothers (Harbour Porpoise Release Program) 
  • Grand Manan SeaLand Adventures (WCF) 
  • Hole-in-the-Wall Park (WCF) 
  • Maine Coast Sea Vegetables 
  • Nantucket Seafarms (Sheep Island terns) 
  • Northern Plastics (WCF & Sheep Island terns) 
  • Sea Watch Tours (WCF) 
  • Whales-n-Sails Adventures (WCF) 
WCF = Whale Conservation Fund
  • Canadian Wildlife Service (loan of tern decoys) 
  • Eastern Charlotte Waterways (GIS base maps and data entry) 
  • Russell Ingalls (boat support for the Sheep Island Tern restoration project)

Scientific Papers, Book Chapters:

  • Koopman, H. N., D. A. Pabst; W. A. Mclellan; R. M. Dillaman and A. J. Read. 2002. Changes in blubber distribution and morphology associated with starvation in the harbor porpoise (Phocoena phocoena): evidence for regional differences in blubber structure and function. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 75(5):498-512.
  • Ronconi, R.A. and C. Cassady St. Clair. 2002. Management options to reduce boat disturbance on foraging black guillemots (Cepphus grylle) in the Bay of Fundy. Biological Conservation 108(3):265-271.
  • Koopman, N. H., Iverson, S. J., and A.J. Read, In press. High concentrations of isovaleric acid in the fats of odontocetes: Stability in the melon vs. variation and patterns of accumulation in blubber. Journal of Comparative Physiology.
  • McLellan, W.A., Koopman, H.N., Rommel, S.A., Read, A.J., Potter, C.W., Nicolas, J.R., Westgate, A.J. and Pabst, D.A. 2002. Ontogenetic allometry and body composition of harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena L.) from the western North Atlantic. J. Zool. Lond. 257:457-471.
  • Ronconi, R.A. and S.N.P. Wong. In Press. Abundance Estimates and Changes in Seabird Numbers of the Grand Manan Archipelago, New Brunswick, Canada. Waterbirds.
  • Tara Cox. 2003. Evaluation of strategies to reduce bycatch of harbor porpoises (Phocoena phocoena). Duke University Ph.D. thesis.
GMWSRS Bulletin Series
  • Ronconi, R.A. and S.N.P. Wong. 2002. Seabird Colonies of the Grand Manan Archipelago: 2001 Census Results and Guidelines for Surveys and Future Monitoring. GMWSRS Bulletin No. 4.
  • Murison, L.D. 2003. North Atlantic Right Whale. Teachers Resource Guide. GMWSRS Bulletin No. 5.
Learned Societies Presentations
  • Johnston, D.W. and A.J. Read - Island in the Stream: Marine Mammals Forage in an Island Wake in the Bay of Fundy, NB Canada. 17th Conference of the European Cetacean Society, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 9-13 March 2003 
  • Koopman, H.N., S. M. Budge, D. R. Ketten , and S. J. Iverson - Sound Reception by Beaked Whales and Porpoises: Implications of Variation in Lipid Composition of Jaw Fats. 17th Conference of the European Cetacean Society, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 9-13 March 2003
  • Westgate, A. J., D.A. Pabst, W. A. McLellan, and E. M. Meagher - Measuring Heat Flux and Skin Temperature from Spotted Dolphins in the Eastern Tropical Pacific. 17th Conference of the European Cetacean Society, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 9-13 March 2003
  • The Harbour Porpoise Release Program (entering 13th year) and continued testing of new mammal seine. 
  • Harbour porpoise satellite tagging program (9th year). 
  • Continued porpoise health assessment and Brucellosis exposure; studies to reduce stress in porpoises during handling.
  • Collection of marine mammal tissues for other researchers.
  • Disentanglement of large whales and response to reports of dead marine mammals on or around Grand Manan.
  • Continuation of the FBO Sheep Island Tern restoration project
  • Installing display boards at Grand Manan wharves, distribution of both educational pamphlets to foster proper whale watch techniques, and a marine mammal projects workbook for environmental science teachers.
  • Open as usual of our renovated marine natural history museum and gift shop - June through early October. 
  • Welcoming visiting scientists working on Grand Manan.
  • Continued involvement in conservation issues including Right Whale Recovery, oil spill preparedness, etc.
  • We appreciate your support and look forward to a continued friendship. Please fill out the donation form and help us continue our programs.
(previous newsletters: 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 )

Grand Manan Whale & Seabird Research Station Inc.
24 Route 776, Grand Manan, NB, Canada, E5G 1A1

© 2004 Grand Manan Whale & Seabird Research Station Inc.

This page designed by revised October 17th 2006