Identifying threats to whales and dolphins in the Pacific Islands: What can strandings tell us?
Stranding investigations provide the only means to determine causes of mortality in dolphins and whales. This talk will provide an overview of stranding events throughout the Pacific Islands region and the information that can be gained by conducting stranding investigations. This will include novel disease findings, the impact of marine debris on cetaceans and research to better understand how whales and dolphins make their living and the threats that they face.
Dr. Kristi West is an Associate Researcher at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology and affiliate faculty in the department of Human Nutrition Food and Animal Sciences, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources at the University of HawaiI. Dr. West has led a university based cetacean stranding response and research program in the Pacific Islands region for over 13 years. She is a physiologist with expertise leading cetacean necropsies and cause of death investigations. Dr. West’s research interests are focused on identifying and evaluating threats to cetacean population health in Hawaii and the greater Pacific.