Whale Lab

The Whale Research Lab at the University of Victoria has always been shaped by a small nucleus of graduate students, interested faculty, research associates and visitors from a number of places. We have grown from a small field research-based project, begun in the late 1980's by Dave Duffus, Phil Dearden and Robin Baird to a small field research-based series of projects now. The early studies on whales and whale-watching around Vancouver Island have evolved into a variety of studies of cetaceans (and sirenians) in many different geographical, ecological and social settings. We have had the benefit of a long string of talented and determined students, hardy interns and skilled research assistants that have kept us involved in field sites from Clayoquot Sound, British Columbia, to the Mekong River, the Andaman Sea, to Alaska.

Our approach to marine mammal research is a little unusual, beginning with our presence in a geography department. Many of our studies have begun from a spatial viewpoint, because, with good luck and bad planning, locating whales is the first order of business and those locations usually lead to the ecological heart of the matter. Throughout the history of our research projects we have tried to illuminate a variety of views of marine mammals including socio-cultural studies and management, currently, however, our studies are aimed at ecological matters.