Sue, Libby, Chrissy, and Heather displaying items from the PTMSC Orca Project
Two researchers, Dr. Mike Ford and Dr. Fred Sharpe, gave presentations on each of their different research projects. Dr. Ford is conducting paternity analysis in the Southern Resident killer whale population, trying to determine both the mother and father of offspring. Identifying mothers is not a difficult task since offspring often remain with their mother for life, but identifying fathers proves to be a much more difficult task. In order to piece together the "who's dad" puzzle, Mike Ford is collecting tissue and fecal samples as sources for genetic material. This research faces one major problem- identifying the fathers of older whales is much more difficult because potential fathers may have already died and therefore are not available for sampling. If this research continues on for several more years it is neat to think they may eventually have an almost complete catalog of both parents for nearly all Southern Resident whales.