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Pilot Whale Photo Identification



Advisors: Jay Barlow (PhD) & Dave Weller (PhD), Southwest Fisheries Science Center NOAA

At NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center in La Jolla, I worked under two co-mentors, Jay Barlow and Dave Weller, to complete the internship portion of my NOAA Hollings Scholarship Program.


For my study, I created a photo-identification catalog, conducted an analysis of the matches I identified, and compiled a short note which has been published in Aquatic Mammals.


Peer-reviewed publication in Aquatic Mammals (Aug 2016)

Kendall-Bar, J. M., Weller, D. W., Fearnbach, H., Shane, S., Schorr, G. S., Falcone, E. A., ... & Barlow, J. (2016). Movement and Occurrence Patterns of Short-Finned Pilot Whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus) in the Eastern North Pacific. Aquatic Mammals, 42(3), 300.


Refereed Conference Presentation at the Society for Integrative & Comparative Biology Meeting (Jan 2016)

Presented at the Ernest F. Hollings Scholarship Science and Education Symposium (Aug 2015)

I received a lot of help from Holly Fearnbach, another scientist who works at the SWFSC, who introduced me to the methods of photo-identification using ACDSee and Access databases to organize and analyze metadata from the 5,000 photos used in my study. Additionally, I was able to work with many scientists from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, with whom I conducted biweekly marine mammal surveys. This project was led by Catherine Nickels, a PhD student at Scripps, who works in John Hildebrand’s lab and was focusing on distribution of blue whales and what they were feeding on (through the observation of their fecal matter!). Here is a photo I took of a blue whale during one of our surveys:

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