Whale & Seabird News - Summer 2010/2011
(previous newsletters: 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009)
 30 years and counting in 2011.
This newsletter describes our activities in the previous two years (2009 and 2010) and outlines plans for the current year (2011).

Table of Contents:
PERSONNEL- 2009/10
2009/10 FRIENDS

Copepod multi-year energy content study. 
The copepod Calanus finmarchicus is an tiny (2.5-3 mm) marine invertebrate closely related to shrimp, lobsters, and crabs.  Large swarms of these copepods (and other species of invertebrates collectively known as zooplankton) can reach into the trillions of individuals in the Bay of Fundy during the summer months.  Seabirds, fishes, and marine mammals rely on C. finmarchicus for food in the Bay.  Caitlin McKinstry thesis research was the first in the Bay of Fundy to investigate the nutritional quality of C. finmarchicus based on fat (lipid) and energy content (similar to calories) over multiple summers (2006-2010) data which are necessary to investigate annual trends in this marine ecosystem.   Researchers have previously found evidence of changes in C. finmarchicus quality over the summer in the Bay of Fundy but had only examined a single year (2002).
Copepod collection in this study using vertical plankton tows included was initially collected during Zach Swaim’s investigation of right whale lipid (fat) metabolism for his Master’s thesis. Without proper assessment of the variation in energetic content of these copepods little can be done to understand how variable the prey supply is for planktivorous foragers (those relying on zooplankton for food such as herring and right whales) in the Bay of Fundy. Changes in quality of the prey for right whales can affect their reproduction.  Thin right whale females do not get pregnant, while those with adequate fat reserves may. Caitlin McKinstry
These zooplankton samples have been analyzed in Dr. Koopman’s lab, Caitlin’s supervisor, at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW) for nutritional quality.  Overall, the average energy content of C. finmarchicus only (excluding other zooplankton species collected) was 6.49 ± 0.80 kJ/g wet weight. To put this into perspective, this is about the same energy density as a chicken egg! C. finmarchicus energy and lipid content was highest during the summer of 2007 compared to other years (2006: 6.62 ± 0.69, 2007: 6.77 ± 0.65, 2008: 6.67 ± 0.44, 2009: 5.82 ± 0.90, 2010: 6.38 ± 0.76 kJ/g), but did not show significant variation throughout the summer months. The annual energy content of C. finmarchicus was always higher than those of the overall zooplankton by at least 10%. 
Caitlin’s investigation did not support the previous study from the Bay that reported an increasing trend in copepod energy content from spring to early fall.  In contrast, the most striking observation was the significant variation in copepod quality (as a prey item) from year to year.  C. finmarchicus energy content was 13% lower in 2009 than 2006-2007, which could significantly impact the ability seasonal predators such as the highly endangered North Atlantic right whale to find quality food.  These whales visit the Bay each summer to feed on C. finmarchicus.  Pregnant female whales must store enough fat from their copepod diet not only for the pregnancy, but for nursing the rapidly growing calf.  Yearly variation in the nutritional value of C. finmarchicus could impact female right whales' ability to produce young.  Also, variation in the environment, specifically temperature, can impact C. finmarchicus causing variation in size, lipid, and energy content.  This could be used as a measure of global climate change.   
Caitlin successfully defended her thesis in March 2011, “Annual variation in the energy content and lipid composition of the copepod Calanus finmarchicus from the Bay of Fundy, Canada.”
Funding for this project came from graduate support of Caitlin at UNCW and donations from Friends of the GMWSRS.

Leach’s Storm-Petrels: Nature’s Seagoing Oil Refineries.  

Sandy Camilleri, a graduate student of Dr. Heather Koopman at University of North Carolina, Wilmington (UNCW) began a study of comparing the relative costs and benefits of two provisioning strategies used by seabirds in 2009.  Most seabirds provision their chicks with whole or partially digested prey items whereas tube-nosed seabirds (albatrosses, shearwaters, fulmars and petrels) concentrate their prey into a lipid rich oil, called stomach oil.  For her master’s thesis research she is investigating this unique strategy used by tube-nosed seabirds by comparing the lipid composition, energy content, and the contaminant levels of the stomach oil to prey items that would be fed to other species. 
The tube-nosed species chosen for this study was the Leach’s storm-petrel, which has a large population that nests on Kent Island and has been studied since the 1930s by Bowdoin College.  Sandy spent a couple of weeks collecting her samples in 2009 and then developing the laboratory analyses of the stomach oil.Sandy Camilleri
In the summer of 2010, she spent a total of 8 weeks on Kent Island monitoring and collecting stomach oil samples from petrels.  The field season was split into two parts.  She spent 3 weeks in June setting up her field site, called the Ditch, monitoring the nesting burrows, and collecting adult stomach oil samples.  The second part started in mid July and lasted for 5 weeks.  During this time, she finished sampling adults and monitored the nests daily waiting for chicks to hatch.  The first chick to hatch for the summer was found in the Ditch on July 16!  Once the chicks hatched, they were weighed daily and measurements of wing length and tarsus (foot bone) length were recorded as growth indicators.  Once chicks were 2 weeks old, those that gained more than 10g overnight were sampled, indicating that mom and/or dad had fed it that night.  A second sample from the chicks was collected at least one week after the first.
A total of 83 samples were collected in 2010.  Forty nine were from adults, 20 were from chicks.  Of the 20 chicks, 14 were sampled a second time.  All samples were brought back to UNCW where lipid analysis and energy content were analyzed in Dr. Heather Koopman’s lab.  Stomach oil samples were predominately composed of triacylglycerols (oils) (73%) and wax esters (25%), but there is a lot of variation, which suggests the birds were feeding on a variety of prey items. The average energy content of stomach oil was six times that of herring, a common prey item of other seabirds, (37,176 J/g compared to ~6,000 J/g), suggesting these petrels can concentrate the energy from their prey into the stomach oil.    Contaminant analysis was completed in Dr. John Kucklick’s lab at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Charleston, SC and revealed levels of PCBs ranging from 91-1510 ppb (average 523) and DDT levels ranging from 31-801 ppb (average 269). These average values are higher than published values for zooplankton collected from Georges Bank, the Bay of Fundy and Cape Cod Bay reported by Weisbrod et al. (2000), and from eastern Newfoundland reported by Ray et al. (1999), suggesting that stomach oils concentrate these contaminants, and consequently chicks may be fed enhanced organochlorine concentrations compared to levels in zooplankton and similar prey items.
This project will provide insights to the costs and benefits to the unique provisioning strategy used by tube-nosed seabirds.  Leach’s storm-petrels are ideal for monitoring environmental health and can be used as a model for other tube-nosed seabirds that have more remote nesting locations, those that are experiencing population declines, and those that live in known contaminated areas.  Sandy has a third field season planned for the summer of 2011.  Funding came from the New Brunswick Wildlife Trust Fund.  Sandy also received funding from the North Carolina Academy of Science and Sigma Xi.


Great Shearwater—Bay of Fundy. Southward migration of Great Shearwaters from the Bay of Fundy

Under the guidance of GMWSRS research biologist Rob Ronconi, the 4th and final year of satellite tracking shearwaters from the Bay of Fundy was in 2009.  Nine tags were deployed on Great Shearwaters bringing the total to 28 birds since the tracking study began.  As usual, these birds foraged readily around productive areas of Grand Manan in upwellings of the Bulkhead and Long-Eddy Rip.  These foraging “hotspots” provided them with the fat and fuel needed to complete their long-distance journeys to far off breeding grounds.  The southward migration was typical with most birds reaching coastal waters off Argentina within 28 days.  Some birds ventured as far as South Africa before settling in at the breeding colonies of Tristan da Cunha. Satellite tracking maps can be accessed at
In 2009 also finished the 5th consecutive year of shearwater diet sampling started in 2005.  These results were published in the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series showing subtle partitioning of diet between Great and Sooty Shearwaters.  Both species fed mainly on herring and krill, staples of the Bay of Fundy, but from 2007 onward there was an increase in squid in their diets, perhaps marking a change in the ecosystem of the Bay.  We continued our diet sampling in 2010 and hope to follow with long-term, 10-year, monitoring of shearwater diets to examine possible fluctuations in the Fundy prey base.
This work was funded by the New Brunswick Wildlife Trust Fund, The Ocean Fund, Environmental Damages Fund, and the National Geographic Society, the latter awarded to Dr. Koopman.

Great Shearwater. Journey to Inaccessible Island. Rob Ronconi

Great Shearwaters from the Bay of Fundy nest in some of the most remote places on earth including Gough, Nightingale and Inaccessible Islands of the Tristan da Cunha archipelago in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean.  From September to December 2009, GMWSRS research biologist Rob Ronconi had the extreme great fortune to visit these places as an extension of his research initiated in the Bay of Fundy and as part of his post-doctoral work at Dalhousie University.Great Shearaters tracked from nesting islands in the South Atlantic
Departing from Cape Town, South Africa, a 10 day voyage aboard 112 m (367’) SA Agulhas brought Rob and Prof. Peter Ryan (University of Cape Town) to Tristan da Cunha’s islands.  They spent 3 weeks on Gough and two months on Inaccessible studying the shearwaters and other endemic birds that live there.  The studies of shearwaters included blood and feather sampling for diet analysis, burrow monitoring of breeding behaviour, tags that recorded diving, and satellite tags to study migrations. 
Tagging studies showed Great Shearwaters diving to 18.9 m (deeper than previously thought) and the first ever recording of northward migration routes to the North Atlantic.  Tracking maps of 22 shearwaters can be found at  Compared to the southward migration of the birds tagged in the Bay of Fundy, the birds tagged in the South Atlantic have shown great diversity in their northward migration with two bird remaining in the South Atlantic, two stopping in the Caribbean and four travelling to various locations in the mid-North Atlantic.
Other studies done by Rob and Peter included monitoring of albatross, petrel, skua and penguin colonies, satellite tracking of Sooty Albatross and Spectacled Petrels, evolutionary studies of endemic buntings, genetic studies of native storm-petrels, and observations of the endemic Tristan Thrush that preys on seabird chicks and eggs!!!  As remote as these places are, they are not free of risk from environmental disasters.  The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds is currently working on a multi-million dollar plan to eradicate mice from Gough Island where they have been eating the eggs and chicks of endangered seabird species.  A new disaster struck on March 16, 2011, when a cargo vessel ran into Nightingale Island spilling 1500 tonnes of fuel oil into the water.  Over half of the world’s Northern Rockhopper Penguins live there and thousands have been oiled.  An incredible rehabilitation effort by the people of Tristan da Cunha (less than 300 residents) continues and scientists hope to re-count the penguins during the next breeding season to assess the total damage.  For more information visit:
The shearwater tags and research on Gough and Inaccessible was funded by BirdLife International, David & Lucile Packard Foundation, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and Killam Trust, Dalhousie University awarded to Ronconi and Ryan.

Foraging Ecology of Gulls in the Bay of Fundy.

Although gulls are among the most conspicuous and most abundant avian predators in the Bay of Fundy, we know surprisingly little about their behaviours, diets and movements in the region.  Rolanda Steenweg
Rolanda Steenweg, Environmental Science honours student from Dalhousie University, joined the team in 2009 to launch a new study with GMWSRS research biologist Rob Ronconi.  They ventured to Kent Island using Bowdoin Scientific Station as their research based to study the diets of Herring Gulls and Great Black-backed Gulls during incubation and early chick rearing. 

During late May and all of June, they diligently collected more than 80 pellets (regurgitated hard parts of prey remains) from nests and captured 72 gulls for sampling.  From captured birds they collected measurements, weight, and samples of feathers and blood.  Back in the lab pellets were classified into prey types (a messy and smelly job) and blood/feather samples were subjected to stable isotope analysis of carbon and nitrogen used to assess the diets of birds.
Not surprisingly, fish and crabs made up the bulk of g
Herring Gull movements from Bay of Fundy to Chesapeake Bayull diets followed by lesser amounts of krill, mussels, urchins, insects, and even small birds like sparrows and storm-petrels.  Stable isotope analysis provided some interesting and unexpected information about how food is partitioned between adults and chicks of both species.  Great Black-backed Gull adults consistently fed at higher trophic levels (higher up the food chain) than Herring Gulls.  But, both species provisioned their young from lower trophic level food types, most likely lots of krill – this is different from most other seabirds that provision their young with higher trophic level food.
In 2009 we also deployed the first ever satellite tags on Herring Gulls in the Bay of Fundy.  Three birds were tagged on Kent Island in May allowing us to follow their movements during nesting, migration, and back to Fundy again the next year(s).  All three birds over-wintered on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay between Maryland and Virginia, USA.  The solar powered tags allow long-term tracking – one individual has been continuously tracked for just shy of 2 years now!!! To see more visit:
Rolanda graduated with her honours in 2010 and is publishing this work in the journal Condor.  This work was funded by the New Brunswick Wildlife Trust Fund, The Ocean Fund, and Environment Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund

Basking Sharks—Diving Profiles

The basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus) is the second largest fish in the world found throughout the temperate waters of the western North Atlantic.  Their ‘basking’ nature also makes them susceptible to ship strikes.  Basking sharks are currently recognized as Vulnerable worldwide by the IUCN and on the eastern seaboard of Canada were recently assessed by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) as a species of Special Concern because “this ... species is particularly susceptible to population declines because it takes up to 18 years to reach maturity and females are pregnant for about two and half years, one of the longest periods of any animal. The total population is estimated to be about 5 000 adults. The Pacific population of Basking Shark, which was once abundant and now rarely seen, was assessed as Endangered in 2007. This highlights the vulnerability of the wildlife species as a whole. "(COSEWIC Website).Diving profile of a basking shark

During the summer months large numbers are seen in the Bay of Fundy. Their primary prey, Calanus copepods, are found in dense deep layers during the day and in shallower, more diffuse layers at night.  It is believed that sharks congregate in the Bay to take advantage of this predictable prey base.  Given that ecological information on basking sharks in both Canadian and US waters is currently lacking, and their status currently unknown, the GMWSRS began a research program to learn more about basking shark behaviour and the conservation risks these animals face while summering in the Bay of Fundy. 

The first objective of the project was to record, for the first time, the detailed diving behaviour and movement patterns of basking sharks in the temperate waters of the western North Atlantic.  Despite the fact that basking sharks are the largest fish found in this region, huge gaps remain in our understanding of their foraging behaviour, movement patterns, abundance, and vulnerability to negative human interactions.  We designed and built a device that attaches to the dorsal fin that incorporates both a time-depth-speed recorder (TDR), and a satellite/VHF radio transmitter.  The TDR collects time-stamped depth, water temperature and swimming speed data and the radios provide animal locations during the deployments, as well as a means to recover jettisoned tags.  A calibrated galvanic release corrodes in seawater (1 -7 days) allowing the tag to detach, float to the surface, and be recovered.  Each tag is capable of multiple deployments.  Between 2008 and 2010 we have had six successful deployments and have collected over 500 hours of data (Figure 1). While detailed analyses await, one interesting fact has already emerged from this work.  Our data show that basking sharks spend a great deal of time at the surface which makes them more vulnerable to collisions with ships than previously thought.  This conservation threat, long suspected, has never been documented.  If you look at figure 2 you can see positions that were obtained from a tagged shark in 2009.  This shark spent one night right in the commercial shipping lanes (white dots within the pink lines) and during this time spent about 80% of the time at the surface.  This is the area of the Bay that is frequented by large container and tanker traffic.
Basking Shark
We also wanted to enumerate the number of sharks in the Bay of Fundy during summer months.  We conducted an aerial survey on Sept 11, 2009 (990.8 km or 2% of the lower Bay) in a high wing Cessna.  We saw 12 basking sharks which were input into a computer model, correcting for areas not covered and sharks not seen because they were underwater, which resulted in an estimate 732 sharks (range 243-2208).  Basking shark densities are probably not uniform in these waters so this is very likely an over-estimate of the true abundance. While this is only a single point estimate we feel it more accurately reflects typical densities of sharks that are found in the Bay in summer than the 4000 sharks suggested by Fisheries and Oceans Canada. We are hoping that we can repeat the survey in 2011 pending funding.

As a final initiative we proposed to expand our study and determine where basking sharks go in the winter and what routes they take to get there.  Recent studies revealed that Cape Cod basking sharks migrated down the eastern seaboard with some individuals being tracked as far as Brazil.  Another study showed trans-Atlantic migration of a basking shark from the U.K. to Newfoundland.  By attaching archival pop-up data loggers to Bay of Fundy basking sharks (Figure 4) we can monitor their movements as they migrate to presently unknown wintering grounds.  Revealing year round habitat preference will allow their conservation status to be more fully addressed and potential threats outside the summering grounds to be assessed.  These data will also allow assessment of their population status i.e. whether they are contiguous with Gulf of Maine/Cape Cod populations or represent a unique stock.  We had planned to deploy these tags during 2010 but the basking sharks did not cooperate.  Despite over 40 hours of surveys last September, we did not see a single shark.  Needless to say we will return to Grand Manan in August of 2011 to try again.  So stay tuned for the next newsletter that will hopefully contain some exciting new migratory information!

Funding for this project came from New Brunswick Wildlife Trust Fund, Ocean Fund—Royal Caribbean  to the GMWSRS, and from  PADI Foundation and Center of Marine Science to Andrew Westgate and UNCW.

Lobster Egg Study

Heather Koopman has been carrying out research on reproductive output and measures of egg quality by female American lobsters since 2008.  She has been working in cooperation with the local lobster fishermen of Area 38 (the Lobster Fishing Area into which Grand Manan falls) to examine reproductively active female lobsters and collect samples of their eggs. Female lobsters carry their eggs internally in the ovaries for a year, and then mate with a male at the time that they moult (grow a new, larger shell).  After the moult, the eggs are extruded (spawned externally), and attached to the underside of the female’s tail to develop outside of her body for another 10-12 months.  Fertilization occurs during the spawning process.  Thus the reproductive cycle for American lobsters in this area takes two years, culminating in the hatching of the eggs in late summer of the second year.  Females carrying eggs externally on their abdomen are referred to as “ovigerous” is scientific terms, but more commonly called “berried” as the eggs resemble clusters of berries underneath the female’s tail. 
  Lobster eggs
Lobsters are unusual invertebrates because they have a very long lifespan – potentially over 60 years and up to 100, although we don’t know for sure as there is no certain way to age a lobster.  Size can be used as an approximation for age, but when lobsters get older this will be an underestimate, as they tend to moult less frequently as they age.  This long lifespan, however, raises interesting questions about whether older females are able to keep producing as many eggs, and of the same quality, as younger lobsters.  A decline in reproductive output with age, prior to mortality, is called “reproductive senescence”, a familiar concept to people, as we know that our grandmothers don’t reproduce anymore!  However no one has ever examined this in lobsters, because all of the previous research on lobster reproduction has been carried out in places where really large (and presumably very old) lobsters are not found.  The waters of Bay of Fundy are home to many very large males and females, and therefore LFA 38 is the perfect place to ask whether lobsters exhibit any signs of reproductive senescence. All published studies to date  state that reproductive output increases as females get larger, but the largest lobsters examined in any one of these studies are those that actually fall into the “small” and “medium” part of the size range that lobsters have in the Bay of Fundy – so there is a lot we can learn from these large lobsters!Lobsters carrying eggs under their tail or "berried" lobsters
Koopman has been going out with some of the lobster fishermen during September, December and June of 2008-2010.  On board she measures the size of every berried female lobster that comes up in a trap, the size of its egg clutch, and takes a sample of the eggs for further analysis.  The lobsters are then immediately returned to the water.  A total of 31 days at sea has yielded measurements of 947 berried females with egg samples collected from 596 of these.   The egg samples have been analyzed for lipid content, fatty acid composition, energy content, size, and development rate by Koopman and some of her students at UNCW (Zach Siders and Emily Probst).  Thus far the data are revealing two main conclusions: 1. some of the largest (oldest) females are producing fewer eggs, and eggs of lower quality, than are the “large” and “medium” sized lobsters.  In other words, our measures of reproductive quality peak in the intermediate sized lobsters – similar to the pattern you see in most mammals.  2.  To complicate point #1, there is significant annual variation in patterns of investment into eggs by females of different sizes from year to year, pointing to the need for a long term study and incorporation of environmental variables such as water temperature and weather patterns.  Koopman recently presented the preliminary results at the Fishermen and Scientists Research Society Workshop on Lobster Biology in Truro, NS in March 2011 to a group of lobster fishermen, scientists, and government (DFO) representatives.  The group showed great interest in the study and had some interesting suggestions.  The lobster egg quality study will continue in 2011 and in years to come to increase our dataset and better measure annual differences as well as other aspects of the environment and of female lobster biology and behaviour – although Heather would certainly prefer to sample in June rather than December, she is ready for another winter of egg collection in 2011-2012! 
Funding for this project was awarded to Dr. Koopman from Maine SeaGrant and North Carolina SeaGrant in 2008 and 2009 and the kind donations of GMWSRS Friends.

Harbour Porpoise Release Program

The HPRP was fully active during both summers, ready to assist local fishermen with the release of harbour porpoises and whales from their herring weirs.  2009 and 2010 represented the 19th and 20th years, respectively, of this important conservation partnership between researchers and fishermen. 

In 2009 formal weir checks began on July 15th and were carried out well into August.  A total of 17 porpoises were recorded in weirs in summer 2009.  Most of these entrapments occurred in August, which is typically when we see the highest numbers of porpoise around and when most swim into weirs.  Of the 17 entrapped porpoises, 10 swam out unassisted and 3 were actively released; the fate of the additional 4 porpoises was not documented – however we did not record any mortalities this year.  In addition, 4 minke whales were reported in weirs, but all of  these were also successfully released or swam out unassisted.  Releasing harbour porpoise from a herring weir

In 2010 weir checks started a bit later this summer, on August 6, but they continued longer and the last checks of weirs were made in early October.  In 2010 we recorded 30 porpoises in weirs.  Of these, 7 were released, 8 swam out on their own, 14 swam out when the fishermen lowered the top twine in the weir, and there was one mortality during seining, which occurred before we arrived on the island.  The strategy of lowering the twine is extremely effective, as the porpoises can swim out on the high tide.  This approach can only be used, however, when the weir is not full of fish.  Nonetheless it is another useful way in which porpoises (and other animals) can be released from weirs with little risk to the animals and less effort on the part of the fishermen.  The twine can be retied to the stakes on the next high water and the weir can once again fish for herring.  We also recorded 2 minke whales in weirs in 2010 but fortunately both of these were able to swim out unaided.

We recorded more than ~25 porpoises in 2010, the first year since 2005,  in weirs around Grand Manan (previous years:  2006 - 16 porpoises, 2007 - 21 porpoises, 2008 - 14 porpoises). Whether this represents a shift in porpoise distribution is unclear at this time.  Herring landings from the weir fishery have been unpredictable and generally low in many regions for the past few years, indicating that there are fewer fish close to shore.  This may explain why, even though 2010 represented a jump in entrapments at 30 animals, these numbers are far below the peaks we experienced of > 100 in 2004 and >300 in 2001.

Plans for 2011. In 2011 we will be ready, as usual, to check weirs and to assist fishermen with the release of porpoises from their weirs.  The HPRP will be in its 21st season this year, and many of the original HPRP Team members will still be participating in the program this year.  We would like to express our thanks to the weir fishermen, who are extremely cooperative and creative in efforts to safely release porpoises and other entrapped animals.

We are very grateful to Friends of the GMWSRS and to Connors Brothers for the long term support we have received for this program and hope to continue to receive in the future.  We would like to upgrade some of the safety and navigation equipment on our weir check vessel this year, but this will require additional funding. 

Right Whale Stewardship, Right Whales & Sperm Whales

Funding from the Government of Canada Habitat Stewardship Pro
Calvin's 2009 calfgram for Species at Risk helped us develop an educational program for schools and other community groups willing to learn more about right whales and how they can make a difference.—How to become a Right Whale Steward.  The program can be found on our Adopt Right Whales website It is fitting that this program was developed in a year (2009) when record numbers of right whale calves were born—39, of which many came into the Bay of Fundy with their mothers. A treat was to see Calvin and her second calf.  Calvin was the right whale calf that was orphaned at eight months of age when her mother, Delilah, was killed in the Bay of Fundy. 
In 2010, 19 calves were born and the right whale population was estimated at about 470 animals, a tremendous increase for this still highly endangered species, largely due to a continued “baby boom” and hopefully the conservation efforts that have been undertaken to protect right whales from premature deaths.  While hope was high that right whales would be regulars in the Bay of Fundy, the summer and fall saw few right whales, but surprisingly sperm whales were regularly seen from late July through October in the deep Grand Manan Basin.  This is the first time that this species of whale was resident in the Bay. and possibly seven or more individuals were present. Sperm whale diving in the Bay of Fundy

Humpbacks whales were also seen more frequently in 2009 and 2010.  Humpback whales are common in the Bay of Fundy but they are often beyond the range of the whale watch vessel, “Elsie Menota” (Whales-n-Sails Adventures). Photographs of right whales taken by Laurie are sent to the New England Aquarium for inclusion in the North Atlantic Right Whale Catalogue.  Humpback whale fluke photographs are sent to the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies and Allied Whale at the College of the Atlantic. The sperm whale photographs will be part of a note describing the occurrence of sperm whales in the Bay.

Laurie continued to work with the Fisheries and Oceans Species At Risk North Atlantic Right Whale Network and was a participant in the Fisheries and Oceans fall aerial surveys.  These data were provided to a “Whale Hotline” for fishermen so they could be cautious when lobster fishing if right whales were in the area.   Six surveys were conducted in 2009 beginning 28 October until 19 November but only one survey was done in 2010, 3 November, reflecting the low numbers of right whales.

Right whales continue to get entangled in ropes presumably from fishing gear, despite conservation efforts.  Some whales do get out of the rope themselves but others need intervention.  The case of the young right whale in the winter of 2011, Picasso’s 2009 calf, was heartbreaking.  Despite valiant efforts to sedate the whale and remove much of the entangling rope, the whale’s condition was very poor and she did not survive. 
Collisions with small vessels have continued to leave right whales with zipper like scars across their backs and even their heads.  Right whales can not get out of the way of fast moving vessels. Collisions with large vessels are fatal. 
Too many deaths of right whales occur every year.  In a two month period in 2010 three dead whales were discovered.  A dead male right whale drifted ashore in Nova Scotia August 15, 2010.  Due to the advance decomposition, it was suspected but difficult to confirm that entanglement may have been the cause of death.  The whale did, however, also have broken bones.  A male found near Cape May, NJ, in June that had a chronic entanglement and a young female in early July near Jonesport, ME, had propeller cuts.  Calves are not immune from entanglement or collision and several of the 2009 calves had open wounds from entanglement, including one that had a shark bite.
For more information about right whales you can access the quarterly editions of Right Whale News at  We also try to keep our blog updated ( with right whale information, particularly about the whales in our adoption program.

Gift Shop, Museum & School Groups

We have begun to have the museum ready by mid-May in recent years for visiting groups but do not keep regular hours until the beginning of June. No significant additions were made to the museum collection, although we are hoping to finish a couple of skeletons for display and possibly get a set of fin whale jaws.GMWSRS facility in Grand Manan
The Gaskin Museum of Marine Life had the lowest number of visitors since 1996 in 2009 (4829) reflecting a higher Canadian dollar, passport requirements, continuing poor economic situation in the U.S. and high gasoline prices keeping visitors away from Grand Manan.  We were, however,  able to keep our expenses lower by not purchasing as much stock.  In 2010, the number of visitors increased to 5419 and the sales increased accordingly.  Again we kept our expenses as low as possible but salary costs continue to rise as the provincial government increases the minimum wage every six months to bring it in line with other provinces.  It takes careful managing to keep the gift shop supporting costs not covered by grants and other sources of funding and essentially keeping our doors open.  We look forward to further improvements in the number of visitors and sales in 2011 with the arrival of the new Grand Manan ferry, the Grand Manan Adventure, but increasing gasoline prices, the Canadian dollar at par with the US dollar, and economic woes may prove to keep numbers low.
As usual, the kindergarten class and their reading buddies visited the museum in June of each year, after Laurie spoke to the classes.  In 2010, Laurie also worked with the Grade 4/5 classes in the White Head and Grand Manan schools for an aquatic adventure at the Anchorage Provincial Park.  This is part of the Ducks Unlimited school program, Webfoot Project. 
In 2009 we had Jennie MacCosham, Diana Green, Adrienne Guptill, Michelle Martin, Jesse Gagne, Annie Gagne, and Brenda Bass staff the museum and gift shop.  In 2010 Michelle Martin, Brenda Bass, Jesse Gagne, and Kate Richardson were the staff, with Laurie supervising and filling in during June, September and October.  The federal Summer Placement Program paid for eight weeks of salary in both 2009 and 2010.

The GMWSRS is part of the Bay of Fundy Disentanglement Network and the Maritimes Marine Animal Response Network.  We may be called upon to respond to a dead animal on the beaEntangled humpback whale Sodapopch or an entangled whale at sea at any time.  On  July 27, 2010, the Whale Center of New England sighted an entangled humpback whale off the middle of Stellwagen Bank. The whale, identified as Sodapop, was not seen again until it was spotted by our research crew off Grand Manan on September 10 while they were looking for basking sharks.  Without disentanglement equipment on board the small vessel, the sighting was called in but unfortunately due to the distance from responders (Campobello Whale Rescue Team)  and time of day no response could be mounted. The whale could not be found in later days in the area.  The whale was not seen until May 2, 2011, when the Center for Coastal Studies found it on Stellwagen Bank again.  At some point during the winter the whale likely shed the entangling rope itself.

Each year to ensure its continuation and recognize its importance, we contribute to the University of Guelph’s Gaskin Medal in Freshwater and Marine Biology.   It was established in 1999 by the University to honour our late founder, Dr. David Gaskin, and is awarded annually to the graduating student with the highest accumulative average.  This year the University temporarily rescinded a number of their awards because of the current financial crisis.  Fortunately the Department of Integrated Biology recognized the importance of this medal and went ahead with the award.  Here is a list of the winners since its inception:
1999: Cheryl Tinson                              2005: Stephanie Johnston                2011: Siobhan O'Sullivan
2000: David Hardie                                2006: Roger Thiessen
2001: Noreen Kelly                               2007: Jessica Van Zwol
2002: James Histed                              2008: Alexander Dalton
2003: Daniel Lingwood                          2009: Sarah Larocque
2004: Lindsay Jennings                         2010: Heather Elizabeth Braid

PERSONNEL IN 2009/2010

Dr. Heather Koopman, Univ. of North Carolina, Wilmington (UNCW)
Dr. Andrew Westgate, UNCW
Dr. Aleksija Neimanis
Laurie Murison, GMWSRS
Dr. Rob Ronconi, Dalhousie University
Sarah Wong, Dalhousie University
Research Assistants
Jessica Belbin (2009)
Ken Ingersoll
Sarah Osbourne (2010)
Sarah Quayyum (2010)
Rolanda Steenweg (2009)
Visiting Scientists / Colleagues
Margaret Leighton
Robin Hunnewell, U. of New Brunswick
Dr. Sue Budge & Dr. Damian Lidgard
Dr. Johan Lindsjö
Jen Rock, Canadian Wildlife Service
Janet and Dr. Damon Gannon, Bowdoin Scientific Station
Linda Welch, US Fish & Wildlife Service
Zach Swaim

Graduate Students
Caitlin McKinstry, UNCW
Hillary Lane, UNCW
Sandy Camilleri, UNCW
Museum & Gift Shop Attendants
Brenda Bass (2009, 2010)
Jesse Gagne (2009, 2010)
Stephanie Gagne (2009)
Diana Green (2009)
Adrienne Guptill (2009)
Jennie MacCosham (2009)
Michelle Martin (2009, 2010)
Kate Richardson (2010)

Weir operators
Canines & Felines
Skye, Arran, Fennec, Taj, Nevis

FRIENDS FOR 2009/2010
If you wish to continue or are not already a Friend please fill in the form. If you know someone who would like to be added to our list, please pass this information along. 

Mary Lou Campbell, Grand Manan NB
(our founding donor)

(all categories, excluding right whale adoptions but including memoriams)
Mary Lou Campbell, Grand Manan, NB
Shirley Alcoe, Fredericton, NB
Doris Applebaum, Oak Park, MI
Thomas Ashdown, Annapolis Royal, NS
Nancy Baker, Cumming, GA
Wendy Baker, Vancouver, BC
Constance Balon, Saskatoon, SK
David Barbara, Rahway, NJ
James Bates, Grand Manan, NB
Sandra Bernstein, Toronto, ON
Angelika Betzold, Toronto, ON
Evelyn Bishop, Kingston, ON
Carol Carter, Arnprior, ON
Kirk Cheney, Grand Manan, NB
Ann Chudleigh, Grand Manan, NB
Barry Coombs, Toronto, ON
Sue Corey, Owen Sound, ON
Martha Cosby, Brighton, CO
Raymond & Mary Cousins, Aurora, ON
Patricia Cove, Mallorytown, ON
James Cruikshank, Needham, MA
Anne I. Dagg, Waterloo, ON
Brenda Dale, Sherwood Park, AB
Halton Dalzell, Lincoln, NB
Marie Cousineau and Danielle Taillon, Saint-Lazare, QC
Pierres-Yves Daoust, Hunter River, PE
Keith Davis, Nepean, ON
Lee Day, Bright's Grove, ON
Tracey Dean, Chamcook, NB
Barb Deneka, Sherwood Park, AB
Joyce Derksen, Windsor, ON
Matthew Dickson, Douglas, NB
Barbara Dillingham, Guelph, ON
Ernest Donaldson, Belwood, ON
Marie Françoise Dréano, Paris, FRANCE
Rosemary & Madeline Ellms, Sugar Hill, NH
Shep Erhart, Franklin, ME
Dana A Fahey, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Mary Lou Farnham, Toronto, ON
Kathy Gallenger, Saskatoon, SK
Linda Garcia, Richmond, CA
James Gardner, Scarborough, ON
Tom Goodwin, Tiverton, NS
Anne Green, Toronto, ON
Joan Green, Fredericton, NB
Bill & Pam Gudgeon, Burlington, ON
Aaron Hall, North Vancouver, BC
Sarah Haney, Bolton, ON
Lawrence Hassler, Lynchburg, VA
Elaine Hawkins, Calgary,AB
Kathy Heys, Moffat, ON
Frances Hodge, Westmount, QC
Diane Houle, Québec, QC
Sharon Lee Hudson, Vermillion, SD
Linda Hutchings, Calgary, AB
Durlan & Sally Ingersoll, Grand Manan, NB
Trish and Randy Toll, Grand Manan, NB
Doug Jackson, Fredericton, NB
Doug James, St. Stephen, NB
Patty & Danny Jean, Temperance Vale, NB
Charles Jefferson, Ottawa, NS
Julia Keil and John Williamson, Saskatoon, SK
Alain Kalt, Lançon de Provence, France
Michael Keane, Whitney, NB
Nancy Kleer, Toronto, ON
Lynn Kontak, Halifax, NS
Anne Koopman, Campbellville, ON
Donald Kumpula, Seattle, WA
Johanne Lafleur, Mount Uniacke, NS
Adam Langley, Dartmouth, NS
Catherine Laratte, Grand-Barachois, NB
Marion Leaman, Fredericton, NB
Roger LeBlanc, Moncton, NB
Andrea Lebowitz, North Vancouver, BC
Stephanie Lehman, Bracebridge, ON
Cathy Leonard, Saskatoon, SK
Eleanor Linberg, Schenectady, NY
Barbara Lipton, Atlantic Highlands, NJ
John Lymer, Toronto, ON
Theresa MacFarland, Grand Manan, NB
Shelly Makrugin, Calgary, AB
Donna Marler, Austin, TX
Gordon Maxfield, Holliston, ME
Noelle Mayer, Littleton, CO
James & Susan McVoy, Coatesville, PA
Nadia Protas and Melanie Witmer, Cambridge, ON
Mary Mersereau, North Lancaster, ON
Laura Miller, Kingston, ON
Betty Moulton, St. Stephen, NB
Andy Murison, Saskatoon, SK
John Neimanis, Hamilton, ON
Aviva, Eric, Emily & Gavin Nestler, Hopkinton, NH
Barb Newman, Kanata, ON
Lesley O'Leary, St. Andrews, NB
Richard Olson, Eagle lake, FL
Sue Ann Ostrom, Kimball, MI
Richard Peckham, Bedford, NS
Pauline Peddle, Lethbridge, AB
Marianne Pedretti, Peterborough, ON
Loretta Penny, Mississauga, ON
Nancy Perry, Bridgetown, NS
Yolande Prénoveau, Pierresfonds, QC
Janet Purvis, London, ON
Steve Revington, London, ON
Robert Righter, Denver, CO
Laura Riley, Ottawa, ON
Sharon Robertson, Masstown, NS
Joan Robinson, Almonte, ON
Sharon Robinson, Sackville, NB
Brittany Halpin, Saint John, NB
Marie Josée Salem, Laval, QC
Christine Senick, Toronto, ON
Verola Sennhenn, Columbus, WI
Michelle Sheehan, Selden, NY
Heather Silliker, Upper Coverdale, NB
Anne Skarsenski, Bennan's Hill, QC
Debora Skelton, Springlands, Blenheim, New Zealand
Jane & Andrew Smart, Toronto, ON
Marcia Stephen, Orillia, ON
Judy Stone, Grand Manan, NB

Lloyd Strickland, Ottawa, ON
Sue Stymest, Grand Manan, NB
Joanne Carney, St. Andrews, NB
James Tauber, New York, NY
Erica Topolski, Cambridge, MA
Michael Turner, Scarborough, ON
Rae Ann van Beers, Hays, AB
Thelma Van Eenoo, Windsor, ON
Rohan Van Twest, Guelph, ON
Lori  Walker, Coalhurst, AB
Susan Wall, Ottawa, ON
Doreen Wallace, Fredericton, NB
Edith Weber, Wyevale, ON
Kathy & Roy Wheeler, Nepean, ON
Brian Wiese, Shanty Bay, ON
Becky Wigton, Durango, CO
Peter Wilcox, Grand Manan, NB
Tricia Wind, Ottawa, ON
Dennis Wood, Toronto, ON
Bryan Yong, Singapore
Diane Zierold, Lubec, ME
Rosemarie Zucker, Toronto, ON
Legislative Assembly, Fredericton,NB
Huntsman Marine Science Centre, St. Andrews, NB
Anonymous donations through United Way and Canada Helps
Mary Lou Campbell, Grand Manan, NB

(our founding donor)

(all categories, excluding right whale adoptions but including memoriams)

Peggy Airey, Milton, NS
Shirley Alcoe, Fredericton, NB
Lauren Ashley, Marion, OH
David Barbara, Rahway, NJ
Rosemarie Behar, Baie Verte, NB
Nathalie Boucher, Quebec, QC
Hilary Caldwell, Halifax, NS
Carol Carter, Arnprior, ON
Sue Corey, Owen Sound, ON
Brenda Dale, Sherwood Park, AB
Terry Davidson, Grand Manan, NB
Tracey Dean, Chamcook, NB
Joyce Derksen, Windsor, ON
Matthew Dickson, Douglas, NB
Elizabeth Florkowski, Whitmore Lake, MI
Jeff & Greta Foster, Grand Manan, NB
Nicholas Freedman, Acton, ON
Deborah Giroux, Gatineau, QC
Nancy-Anne Giroux, Manotick, ON
Joan Green, Fredericton, NB
Anne Guzzi, Montepellier, QC
Matthew Aaron Hall, Burnaby, BC
Peter M Hall, Ferguson Cove, NS
Heather Hamill, Meaford, ON
Sarah, Haney, Bolton, ON
William & Mary Lou Hayden, RPV, CA
Judith Horner, Stratford, ON
Renee Houlihan, Pleasant Villa, NB
Linda Hutchings, Calgary, AB
Douglas Jackson, Fredericton, NB
Carol Johnson, St-Anicet, QC
Susan Johnson, Moncton, NB
Anne & Arnold Koopman, Burlington, ON
Audrey Kirschner, Jacksonville Beach, FL
Kate Korgan, Las Vegas, NV
Catherine Laratte, Grand-Barachois, NB
Amelie Lavaud, PALAISEAU, France
Alex Mateas, Nepean, ON
Gordon Maxfield, Holliston, ME
Chloe McLinka, Vancouver, BC
Jeff Nason, Bangor, ME
Ieva & John Neimanis, Hamilton, ON
Helen Nicholson, West Porters Lake, NS
Scott, Allister, Joanna, Charlotte Nicholson, St. Stephen. NB
Christine Nordhaus, Littleton, MA
Nadia Pagliaro, Haliburton, ON
Diane Powell, Wentworth, NS
Jocelyn Praud, Sherbrooke, QC
Jason & Wendy Richards, St. Catharines, ON
David & Susan Rose, Ottawa, ON
Alex Sabetta, Northford, CT
Margaret A. Schul, Berlin, MD
William Sigle, Monroe, NJ
Jane & Andrew Smart, Toronto ON
Suzanne & Stanley Sorensen, Lawrenceburg, IN
Lindsay Tamarri, Highwood, IL
Darrell Tobin, North Sydney, NS
Trish Toll, Grand Manan, NB
Michael Turner, Toronto, ON
Sandra Turner, St. Andrews, NB
Shawna Turner, Rosemary, AB
Doreen Wallace, Fredericton, NB
Edith Dzwin Weber, Wyevale, ON
Kathy & Roy Wheeler, Nepean, ON
RE Wolf, Calgary, AB
Karen Wood, Burlington, ON
Rosemarie Zucker, Toronto, ON
Anonymous donations through United Way and Canada Helps

Connie Vautz, Chipman Elementary School, Chipman, NB
Nicole Short, Duchess School, Duchess, AB
Shannon Lundstrom, Heritage Elementary, DePere, WI
Kathleen McIntyre, Kinder Classes, R. Tait McKenzie Public School, Almonte, ON
Hali Tsui, Pauline Johnson School, Hamilton, ON
Natasha Butters, Rosemary School, Rosemary, AB
Jill Anderson, St. Stephen Middle School, St. Stephen, NB

Atlantic Mariculture, Grand Manan, NB
Nancy Sears, Fundy Hiking and Nature Tours, St. Martins, NB
Shep Erhart, Maine Coast Sea Vegetables, Franklin, ME
Brittany Halpin, Saint John Port Authority & Cruise Atlantic Canada, Saint John, NB
Joanne Carney, Tall Ship Whale Adventures, St. Andrews, NB
Allan McDonald, Whales-n-Sails Adventures, Grand Manan, NB

In Memoriam:
James Murison        Helen Morris

In Recognition:
Anneke Walsh      Lindsay Sharp
Sam Shore

Special Thanks to Saint John Port Authority and Cruise Canada for multiple adoptions in conjunction with Saint John hosting 2010 Canada New England Cruise Symposium.

A Warm Thank You for support of Whale Research and Conservation through a series of  Voices of the Bay Concerts (Community Choirs of the Quoddy Region). 

In Memoriam:

Eva Dale           Doreen Oakins

Dr. Richard (Dick) Brown
Our founding director, the late Dr. David Gaskin was both a colleague and friend of Dick Brown, who was a seabird biologist for the Canadian Wildlife Service.

In Recognition:
Erin Miller        Laura Gordon

  • Human Resources Development Canada (summer student)
  • Government of Canada Habitat Stewardship for Species at Risk (right whale stewardship)
  • Environmental Damages Fund (shearwater)
  • New Brunswick Wildlife Trust Fund (shearwater)
  • Royal Caribbean Cruise Line Ocean Fund ((Harbour Porpoise Release Program, basking shark study)
  • Down to Earth Conservation and Education (Harbour Porpoise Release Program)
  • Connors Brothers (Harbour Porpoise Release Program)
  • Herring Science Council (herring study)
  • New Brunswick Museum (shearwater study)
  • Human Resources Development Canada (summer student)
  • Government of Canada Habitat Stewardship for Species at Risk (Right whale stewardship)
  • Environmental Damages Fund (shearwater study)
  • New Brunswick Wildlife Trust Fund (shearwater, Leach's storm petrel and basking shark studies)
  • Canadian Wildlife Federation (basking shark studies)
  • Down to Earth Conservation and Education (Harbour Porpoise Release Program)
  • Connors Brothers (Harbour Porpoise Release Program)
  • University of Saskatchewan (avian influenza study)


We would like to thank everyone who has donated time and effort to our work and projects including the Weir Operators, whale watch companies (Whales-n-Sails Adventures, Quoddy Link Marine), Dr. Tony Diamond, Campobello Whale Rescue, Marine Animal Rescue Society, Jerry Conway, Grand Manan Fishermens Association, Tonya Wimmer, and especially Andrea Kelter.  We would also like to thank those who donated goods for resale in our gift shop, Terry Davidson, Allan McDonald


Scientific Papers, Book Chapters:

  • 2009 Zahorodny Duggan, Z. P., Koopman, H. N., and Budge, S. M.  Distribution and development of the highly specialized lipids in the sound reception systems of dolphins.  Journal of Comparative Physiology B 179:783-798.
  • 2009 Swaim, Z. T., Westgate, A. J., Koopman, H. N., Rolland, R. M., and Kraus, S. D.  Metabolism of ingested lipids by North Atlantic right whales.  Endangered Species Research 6:259-271.
  • 2010 DeRuiter, S. L., Hansen, M., Koopman, H. N., Westgate, A. J., Tyack, P. L., and Madsen, P. T.  Propagation of narrow-band-high-frequency clicks: Measured and modeled transmission loss of porpoise-like clicks in porpoise habitats.  Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 127: 560-567.
  • 2010 Ronconi, R. A, Koopman, H. N., McKinstry, C. A., Wong, S. N. P., and Westgate, A. J. Inter-annual variability in diets of non-breeding pelagic seabirds (Puffinus sp.) at migratory staging areas: evidence from stable isotopes and fatty acids.  Marine Ecology Progress Series. 419: 267–282.
  • 2010 Ronconi, R.A., P.G. Ryan & Y. Ropert-Coudert.  Diving of great shearwaters (Puffinus gravis) in cold and warm water regions of the South Atlantic Ocean. PlosONE 5(11) e15508
  • 2010 Ronconi, R. R., Swaim, Z. T., Lane, H. A., Hunnewell, R. W., Westgate, A. J., and Koopman, H. N. New hoop-net techniques for capturing birds at sea and comparison with other capture methods.  Marine Ornithology 38:23-29.
  • 2010 Ryan, P.G. & R.A. Ronconi.  The Tristan Thrush Nesocichla eremita as seabird predator.  Ardea 98: 247-250
  • 2011 Lane, H. A., Westgate, A. J., and Koopman, H. N.  Ontogenetic and temporal variability in the fat content and fatty acid composition of Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus) from the Bay of Fundy, Canada.  Fisheries Bulletin. 109:113–122.

Learned Societies Presentations

  • 2009     Koopman, H. N., and Westgate, A. J.  Solubility of nitrogen gas in Odontocete blubber: are deep divers more vulnerable to nitrogen absorption?  18th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals, Society for Marine Mammalogy, Quebec City, October 2009.
  • 2009     McClelland, S. Gay, M., Pabst, A., Dillaman, R., Westgate, A., and Koopman, H.  Variation in the vascular patterns of blubber in shallow and deep-diving Odontocetes: implications for diving physiology? 18th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals, Society for Marine Mammalogy, Quebec City, October 2009. This talk was selected as the Best Oral presentation by an M.Sc. Student.
  • 2009     McClelland, S., Gay, M., Pabst, D. A., Dillaman, R., Westgate, A. J., and Koopman, H. N.  Blubber vasculature of the bottlenose dolphin, Tursiops truncatus, and pygmy sperm whale, Kogia breviceps.  2009 SEAMAMMS meeting (Southeast and Mid-Atlantic Marine Mammal Symposium), Wilmington, North Carolina, April 3-5, 2009.
  • 2009     McKinstry, C. A. E., Westgate, A. J., and Koopman, H. N.  Breakfast of Champions: A preliminary analysis of the annual variation in energy content and lipid composition of the copepod, Calanus finmarchicus from the Bay of Fundy, Canada. 2009 SEAMAMMS meeting (Southeast and Mid-Atlantic Marine Mammal Symposium), Wilmington, North Carolina, April 3-5, 2009.
  • 2009  Ronconi, R.A. Poster presentations of shearwater research at the Canadian Society for Ecology and Evolution conference (Halifax, NS, Apr 2009).
  • 2009  Ronconi, R.A. Public presentations about shearwater work to the Nova Scotia Bird Society (2009).
  • 2009  McKinstry, C.A.E. Public presentation of GMWSRS research as part of the summer Tuesday and Thursday evening presentations at the Grand Manan Museum.
  • 2009  Murison, L.D. Public presentations about right whales and other large whales in the Bay of Fundy in the summer of 2009 to the Saint John and Moncton Naturalists Clubs.
  • 2009  Murison, L.D. Marine Synopsis - Summer and Fall 2009.  Island Times, December 2009.
  • 2009  Murison, L.D. Marine Synopsis. Bay of Fundy 2009.  NB Naturalist.  Vol. 36, No. 4.
  • 2009  Murison, L.D. Ghost Puffin. NB Naturalist.  Vol. 36, No. 4.
  • 2010    Polito, M. J., and Koopman, H. N. The influence of diet on fatty acids in the yolk of gentoo penguins, Pygoscelis papua. 7th International Penguin Conference, August 30-Sept 3, Boston, MA.
  • 2010    Polito, M. J., and Koopman, H. N.  The influence of diet on fatty acids in the yolk of gentoo penguins, Pygoscelis papua.  1st World Seabird Conference, Sept 7-11, Victoria, British Columbia.
  • 2010     McKinstry, C. A. E., Westgate, A. J., and Koopman, H. N.  Annual variation in energy content of the copepod, Calanus finmarchicus from the Bay of Fundy, Canada.  2010 SEAMAMMS meeting (Southeast and Mid-Atlantic Marine Mammal Symposium), Virginia Beach, VA, March 28-29, 2010.  This talk was selected as the Best Oral presentation by an M.Sc. Student.
  • 2010    Koopman, H. N.  Possible reproductive senescence in American lobsters (Homarus americanus).  Benthic Ecology Meeting 2010, Wilmington NC, March 10-13, 2010.  
  • 2010     Probst, E., and Koopman, H. N.  Egg Size and Development rates in American Lobsters: Relationship to Female Size. Benthic Ecology Meeting 2010, Wilmington NC, March 10-13, 2010.  
  • McKinstry, C. A. E., Westgate, A. J., and Koopman, H. N.  Annual variation in energy content of the copepod, Calanus finmarchicus from the Bay of Fundy, Canada.  Benthic Ecology Meeting 2010, Wilmington NC, March 10-13, 2010.  
  • 2010  Ronconi, R.A. Poster presentations of shearwater research at the and the 1st World Seabird Conference (Victoria, BC, Sep 2010).
  • 2010  Ronconi, R.A. Public presentations about shearwater work to the  Saint John Naturalist Club (2010).  
  • 2010  Koopman, H.N. Public presentation of GMWSRS research as part of the summer Tuesday and Thursday evening presentations at the Grand Manan Museum.
  • 2010  Murison, L.D. Bay of Fundy Marine Life, 2010.  Island Times. October 2010.
  • 2010  Murison, L.D. Bay of Fundy Surprises.  NB Naturalist.  Vol. 37, No. 4.
  • 2011     Koopman, H. N., Siders, Z., and Probst, E. Possible reproductive senescence in American lobsters (Homarus americanus).  Fishermen and Scientists Research Society Lobster Biology Workshop, Truro, NS March 2011.
  • 2011     Bagge, L. E., Koopman, H. N., Pokorny, A., McLellan, W. A., and Pabst, D. A.  Depth-specific fatty acid composition and temperature dependent thermal properties of the blubber of short-finned pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus). SICB Meetings, Salt Lake City, Utah, January 3-7 2011.
Laurie provides lectures to visiting groups to the island each summer including the Huntsman Marine Science Centre, Whale Camp and Elderhostel/Road Scholar programs.
  • Lane, H. 2009. Variation in the nutritional value of Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus) from the Bay of Fundy, Canada. Master’s Thesis. University of North Carolina, Wilmington.
  • McKinstry,. C. 2011. Annual variation in the energy content and lipid composition of the copepod Calanus finmarchicus from the Bay of Fundy, Canada. Master’s Thesis. University of North Carolina, Wilmington.

  • Harbour Porpoise Release Program (HPRP Team).  Our team will arrive in August and respond to any entrapments.
  • Whale Watch Data Collection (Laurie Murison).  Locations, numbers, species identification and photo-identification data will again be collected on Whales-n-Sails whale watch trips.  
  • Large Whale Disentanglement Network (GMWSRS).  We will be ready to respond to any entanglements during the summer.
  • Tracking Basking Sharks (Andrew Westgate) continuing the study of basking sharks dive profiles and long term movements. Support from the Royal Caribbean Ocean Fund  
  • Lobster Egg Lipids (Heather Koopman) a continuing study to determine the energy content of eggs from wide size range of female lobsters.  Maine & North Carolina Sea Grant funding to Dr. Koopman.
  • Leach’s Storm Petrel Oil Factories: (Sandy Camilleri) Energy and contaminant levels of food provision by Leach’s Storm Petrel to their chicks. Masters of Science project.
  • Public Education. Our Gaskin Museum of Marine Life will be open again.  Laurie will also be working with Whale Camp, the Marathon Inn Road Scholar programs, Huntsman Marine Science Centre school trips, as well as other groups that request a presentation.
  • We will also be welcoming in July Ashley Heinze, from the College of the Atlantic, who will be studying attitudes and knowledge of whale watchers from Grand Manan and Bar Harbor, and whale behaviour.  She will be working with Laurie on the Whales-n-Sails Adventure vessel.
  • We will also be welcoming Amanda Banks who has included us in a three country (the United States, Peru and Canada) exploration of whale researchers.  She will be writing articles and helping with some of our projects.
  • We will also be providing our vessel, Phocoena, for whale faeces collection as part of a “Whale Pump” study by Joe Roman and John Nevins, University of Vermont.  They propose that whales directly contribute to the circulation of nutrients in the marine ecosystem by the whales feeding at depth, then defecating these digested prey at the surface.
  • Don McAlpine and Karen Vanderwolf from the New Brunswick Museum, and Howard Huynh, a graduate student at Texas Technical University,  will be using our facility for a week in July while they collect deer mice, one of two native land mammal species on Grand Manan.  All other land mammals are introduced.  The deer mouse and meadow vole are subspecific to Grand Manan.
    Without the cooperation of all of our personnel, we would not be able to accomplish the work undertaken each summer.  It is not unusual for our researchers to release a porpoise in the morning, collect zooplankton samples in the afternoon and then prepare herring for analysis in the evening.  We are also grateful that most are able to volunteer their time and expertise to accomplish our research and conservation goals.  

Dive sequence of a right whale
Adopt Right Whales —  We happily enclose a copy of our new program designed to provide information to those interested in helping right whales and raise funds at the same time.  Donations can be made at three levels, individual whales ($40), mothers and calves ($75) and families ($100).  You will receive a certificate suitable for framing, information about right whales, and an update about your whale(s) travels. Funding for development of this program has been from private donations, the Fairmont Algonquin Hotel, and Royal Caribbean International.  Proceeds will help us continue our research and conservation work.  We have added more whales to be symbolically adopted and have a blog,
  • 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 | 2009)

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

© 2009 Grand Manan Whale & Seabird Research Station Inc.

This page maintained by revised August 29, 2011