Killer Whale Research
The Vancouver Aquarium’s first permanent marine mammal scientist was Dr. John Ford. Starting the late 1980’s, John conducted ground-breaking research on the acoustic behaviour of killer whales. His findings helped confirm a remarkable discovery his PhD supervisor, Dr. Michael Bigg had made: two fundamentally different types of killer whales share the coastal waters of British Columbia—residents and transients. (More recently, we’ve learned that a third type of killer whale—offshores-- frequents the outer part of our continental shelf). John left the Aquarium in 2001 to lead Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s marine mammal research program in the Pacific region. His former student Dr. Lance Barrett-Lennard took over as the Aquarium’s senior marine mammal research scientist. Lance inherited a background in acoustic research from John, but his main expertise is in ecology, population genetics, and conservation biology.
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