Amy van Cise, Cascadia Research Collective
Sponsored by: Biology Department
This will be held virtually over Webex. If you wish to view the seminar, please go to one of these two links:
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Social behavior plays an important – yet understudied – role in shaping ecological strategies and evolutionary trajectories. In marine environments, where there are few barriers to dispersal, top predators must find innovative ways to identify their niche space. Many social whales achieve this through the collection and transfer of cultural knowledge within social units. Using genomics and acoustics we’ll explore interactions between population structure and information transfer in one highly social cetacean, the short-finned pilot whale. In another highly social cetacean, the beluga whale, we’ll examine population structure, ecology, and health using microbiomics and acoustics, and consider the potential role of social behavior in shaping the patterns we observe. The implications of social behavior in top marine predators are far-reaching: what we learn from these species will not only affect our role in their conservation, but help us understand socially driven ecology and evolution in all species, including our own.