Society for Marine Mammalogy

October 16, 2009 19:13 ET

Closing of the Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals

QUEBEC CITY, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Oct. 16, 2009) - The 18th Biennial conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals for the Society of Marine Mammalogy ended today in Quebec. The 1550 participants will now return home to the four corners of the globe with new ideas for research, collaborations and possible solutions from others, that can be adapted to their situations whether at a local level or a much grander scale.

The 18th biennial was remarkable in terms of new scientific advances of questions that are of interest, such as climate change, disturbance of marine mammals by noise, and other interactions with humans. Much was learned concerning health status, communications, and novel non-invasive approaches. A special outreach feature from this year's conference was the presentation by the 'Calveneers', a group of young students from Maine USA that are implicated in project CALVN which focuses on the endangered North Atlantic right whale. Through the case of the right Whale, students learn about the scientific method, genetics and populations. While in Quebec City, the 'Calvineers' also had an opportunity to visit a local school and practice their French.

The conference ended with an afternoon awards ceremony. The Frederic Fairfield Memorial Award given to a student for innovative research was given to Dominie Writt, from the University of Kansas, United States. The John G. Shedd Aquarium Award was given to Kate Charlton-Robb from Monash University in Australia, for the best student presentation at the conference. And finally, the award for Excellence in Science Communication was awarded to Tom Cranford from San Diego State University, in United States.

The special issues of Portrait de baleines ( from this week are still available for a while yet. They provide an excellent overview of the conference for those that were unable to attend.

The next meeting of the Society for Marine Mammalogy will be held in the late fall in Tampa Florida, United States.

For more information on the conference visit, under Conference.

Communiques and special bulletins (also available on are added in the media section of the conference Website ( during the event. To receive this information by email, submit your request to

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