Scientific research has always been a foundation of what The Whale Museum does to promote stewardship of whales and the Salish Sea ecosystem.

Decades of monitoring the movements of local marine species and their associated environmental conditions, and recording and cataloging those observations, is what makes up the museum’s world class archives.

Coordinating and operating the marine mammal stranding network and collecting and documenting public marine mammal sightings predated the opening of The Whale Museum by those who helped start it and has continued to this day as the underlying focus of the museum’s science and research.

As an institutional host for outside investigators, The Whale Museum’s long-term data sets have provided a goldmine of biological context for looking at long term trends, as well as providing depth of understanding for rapidly addressing specific conservation impacts on Salish Sea marine mammals as conditions have unfolded. This is especially true for understanding recent impacts from climate change on these ecosystems and devising ways to help some species adapt. These long-term data archives only get better with age when they are maintained with continuity and integrity.

Publications and Contract Reports:

There are numerous scientific publications in which an author was affiliated with The Whale Museum, or where authors have acknowledged the collaboration of The Whale Museum or one of its programs. In addition, there are numerous governmental and grant contract reports outside of official peer-reviewed literature by associates of The Whale Museum (aka "Gray Literature"). (Citations for many of these publications and reports are broken out and listed below chronologically)

Peer-reviewed Publications:

Dorsey, E.M.,1983. Exclusive adjoining ranges in individually identified minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) in Washington State. CANADIAN JOURNAL OF ZOOLOGY 61:174-181.

Haenel, N.J., 1986. General Notes on the Behavioral Ontogeny of Puget Sound Killer Whales and the Occurrence of Allomaternal Behavior. In: Kirkevold and Lockard (eds.), BEHAVIORAL BIOLOGY OF KILLER WHALES, A.R. Liss, New York, pp.285-300.

Heimlich-Boran, J. R., 1986. Photogrammetric Analysis of Growth in Puget Sound Orcinus orca. In: Kirkevold and Lockard (eds.), BEHAVIORAL BIOLOGY OF KILLER WHALES, A.R. Liss, New York, pp.97-112.

Heimlich-Boran, J. R., 1986. Fishery Correlations with the Occurrence of Killer Whales in Greater Puget Sound. In: Kirkevold and Lockard (eds.), BEHAVIORAL BIOLOGY OF KILLER WHALES, A.R. Liss, New York, pp. 113-131.

Heimlich-Boran, S.L., 1986. Cohesive Relationships Among Puget Sound Killer Whales. In: Kirkevold and Lockard (eds.), BEHAVIORAL BIOLOGY OF KILLER WHALES, A.R. Liss, New York, pp. 251-284.

Hoelzel, A. Rus., and R.W. Osborne, 1986. Killer Whale Call Characteristics with Implications for their Role in Cooperative Foraging Strategies. In: Kirkevold and Lockard (eds.), BEHAVIORAL BIOLOGY OF KILLER WHALES, A.R. Liss, New York, pp. 373-406.

Osborne, R.W., 1986. A Behavioral Budget of Puget Sound Killer Whales. In: Kirkevold and Lockard (eds.), BEHAVIORAL BIOLOGY OF KILLER WHALES, A.R. Liss, New York, pp. 211-250.

Heimlich-Boran, J.R., 1988. Behavioral ecology of killer whales (Orcinus orca) in the Pacific Northwest. CANADIAN JOURNAL OF ZOOLOGY, 66:565-579.

Felleman, F.L., J.R. Heimlich-Boran, and R.W. Osborne, 1991. Feeding Ecology of Killer Whales (Orcinus orca). In: K. Pryor and K.S. Norris (eds.), DOLPHIN SOCIETTIES: DISCOVERIES AND PUZZLES . Univ. Calif. Press, Berkeley, CA., pp. 113-147.

Foote, A.D., R.W. Osborne, and A. R. Hoelzel, 2004. Whale-call response to masking boat noise. NATURE,428(6986): 910.

Whitehead, H., L. Rendel, R.W. Osborne, and B. Wursig, 2004. Culture and conservation of non-humans with reference to whales and dolphins: review and new directions. BIOLOGICAL CONSERVATION, 120: 431-441.

Norman, S.A., C.E. Bowlby, M.C. Brancato, J. Calmbokidis, P.J. Gearin, T.A. Gornall, M.E. Gosho, B. Hanson, J. Hodder, S.J. Jefferies, B. Lagerquist, D.M. Lamborn-Hughes, B. Mate, B. Norberg, R.W. Osborne, J.A. Rash, S. Riemer, and J. Scordino, 2004. Cetacean strandings in Oregon and Washington between 1930 and 2000. J. CETACEAN RESEARCH AND MANAGEMENT, 6(1) 87-99.

Gaydos, J.K., K.C. Balcomb, R.W. Osborne, and L. Dierauf, 2004. Evaluating potential infectious disease threats for Southern Resident Killer Whales, (Orcinus orca): A model for other endangered species, BIOL.OGICAL CONSERVATION, 117: 253-262.

Gaydos, J.K., S. Raverty, R.W. Baird and R.W. Osborne, 2005. Suspected surplus killing of harbor seal pups (Phoca vitulina) by killer whales (Orcinus orca). NORTHWESTERN NATURALIST, 86:150-154.

Hauser, D.W., G.R. VanBlaricom, E.E. Holmes and R.W. Osborne, 2006. Evaluating the use of whalewatch data in determining killer whale (Orcinus orca) distribution patterns J. CETACEAN RESEARCH AND MANAGEMENT (8)3: 273-281.

Hauser, D.W., M. Logsdon, E.E. Holmes, G.R. VanBlaricom, and R.W. Osborne, 2007. Summer distribution patterns of Southern Resident Killer Whales (Orcinus orca): core areas and spatial segregation of social groups. MARINE ECOLOGY PROGRESS SERIES, 351:301-310.

Foote, A.D., R.W. Osborne, and A.R. Hoelzel, 2008. Temporal and contextual patterns of Killer Whale (Orcinus orca) call type production. ETHOLOGY (114): 599-606.

Giles, D.A. and K. L. Koski, 2012. Managing Vessel-Based Whale Watching: A Critical Assessment of the Evolution from Voluntary Guidelines to Regulations in the Salish Sea. J. INTERNATIONAL LAW & POLICY, 15: 125-151.

Seely E, Osborne RW, Koski K, Larson S, 2017. Soundwatch: Eighteen years of monitoring whale watch vessel activities in the Salish Sea. PLoS ONE 12(12): e0189764.

Olson, J., Osborne, R.W., Larson S, and J. Wood, 2018. Sightings of Southern Resident Killer Whales in the Salish Sea 1976-2014: The importance of a long-term opportunistic dataset. ENDANGERED SPECIES RESEARCH, Vol.37:105-118.

Gray Literature Publications and Academic Theses:
(Chronological order)

Osborne, R.W., and J.W. Sundsten, 1981. Preliminary Observations on 13 Killer Whale Cranial Volumes. CETUS 3:(5)12-13.

Osborne, R.W., J. Calambokidis, and E.M. Dorsey 1988. A GUIDE TO MARINE MAMMALS OF GREATER PUGET SOUND. Island Publishers, Anacortes, WA., 191 p.

Osborne, R.W., and T.W. Ransom, 1988. Two Rare Strandings in Wash. State. Notes: CETUS, 8(1):24-25.

Osborne, R.W., 1991. Trends in Killer Whale Movements, Vessel Traffic, and Whale Watching in Haro Strait. PROCEED. PUGET SOUND RESEARCH '91, Puget Sound Water Quality Auth., Seattle, pp. 672-688.

Osborne, R.W., K.E. Koski, R.E. Tallmon and K. Meyer, 1998. San Juan Islands National Wildlife Refuge 1997 Inventory. THE WHALE MUSEUM, SPECIAL PUBLIC. NO. 1, 1998, Friday Harbor, WA,. 283 p.

Eisenhardt, E., D. Bain and R.W. Osborne, 2001. 2001 Biological Assessment Final Report, San Juan County Bottomfish Recovery Program. Northwest Straits Commission, CZM Grant No. G0100192. 24p.

Osborne, R.W., K.L. Koski, and R.E. Tallmon, 2002. Voluntary marine protected areas and adaptive Management in the San Juan Islands. PROCEED. PUGET SOUND RESEARCH 2001, Puget Sound Water Quality Action Team.

Koski, K.L., and R.W. Osborne, 2005. The evolution of adaptive management practices for vessel-based wildlife viewing in the boundary waters of British Columbia and Washington State. PROCEEDINGS OF PUGET SOUND / GEORGIA BASIN RESEARCH 2005, Puget Sound Water Quality Action Team (

Contract Reports:

The Whale Hotline: Annual Orca Master Sightings Report

2022 Orca Master Report

2017 Orca Master Report

1976-2014 Sightings Publication

Visiting Scientists and thesis researchers from 1979 to present:

1. Eleanor M. Dorsey, UW FHL investigator, Longterm Research Institute, Lincoln, MA.
2. A. Rus Hoezel (B.S. and PhD thesis research, Reed College, OR and Cambridge University, U.K.)
3. James R. Boran (M.S. thesis research Moss Landing Marine Lab, San Diego State University, CA)
4. Sarah Heimlich (M.S. thesis research Moss Landing Marine Lab., San Diego State University, CA)
5. Nancey Haenel, (B.S. thesis research, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL)
6. Birget Kriete, (PhD research University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada)
7. David Bain, PhD, investigator, University of Washington, WA.
8. Robert Otis, PhD, investigator, Ripon College WI.
9. Fred Felleman, M.S. investigator, University of Washington.
10. Jean M. Olson, (M.S. thesis research, Western Washington University, WA)
11. Robin Baird, PhD thesis research Simon Fraser University, B.C. Canada)
12. Val Veirs, PhD, investigator, Colorado College, CO.)
13. Patrick Miller, (PhD thesis research MIT & Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, MA.).
14. Andrew Foote, (M.S. thesis research University of Sussex, U.K.).
15. Donna Hauser, M.S. thesis research, University of Washington.
16. Monika Weiland, (B.S. thesis research Reed College, OR.).
17. Rich Osborne, (Ph.D. thesis research University of Victoria, Victoria, Canada)
18. Deborah Giles, (PhD thesis research, University of California Davis).
19. Jason Wood, PhD, investigator, Sea Mammal Research Unit, St. Andrews University, U.K. and Vancouver, B.C., Canada.
20. Shawn Larson, PhD, DVM, investigator, Seattle Marine Aquarium, Seattle WA.

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