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Virtual SJCC: Pacific Northwest’s Killer Whales

January 15 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Virtual Event
Osher Killer Whales Conversation

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute virtual lecture series continues as Dr. Deborah Giles will give an inside look into the life of our local killer whales and share what the research team has learned about killer whale health as well as possible causes for population decline.

Free, however, space is limited and registration is required. Please register here:

Zoom Registration

In the waters off the coast of Washington state are a wide variety of creatures to explore. From the famous Pacific Oysters to our sea otters, Washington waters are home to many unique and curious creatures. One awe-inspiring mammal loved by the PNW is the killer whale, also known as the orca. The University of Washington Center for Conservation Biology is home to an expansive killer whale study. In this study, UW researches are working to discover what is causing an alarming population decline in our resident killer whale population, found between Washington state and Alaska.

In this talk Dr. Deborah Giles, PhD Research Tech at the UW Center for Conservation Biology and resident scientist and lecturer at the UW Friday Harbor Labs, will give an inside look into the life of our local killer whales and share what the research team has learned about killer whale health as well as possible causes for population decline.

More about the speaker:

Giles (she goes by her last name) joined Dr. Wasser’s whale scat project as the vessel Captain in 2009 – which utilizes a scat detection dog/handler team to locate floating killer whale and baleen whale scat to monitor the physiological health of whales in the Salish Sea. In 2018, Giles was excited to move to the front of the boat and learn how to be a dog handler for the project with her canine companion Eba who became the newest member of the Conservation Canine’s Dog Team; check out Eba’s Instagram and Facebook accounts – Eba the Whale Dog!

Giles received her PhD from the University of California Davis in 2014. Her master’s thesis and PhD dissertation both focused on the federally listed southern resident killer whales. Formerly the research director at the Center for Whale Research, she is currently a resident scientist and lecturer at the University of Washington’s Friday Harbor Labs, where she teaches Marine Mammals of the Salish Sea and Marine Biology.

Giles is also the science and research director with the volunteer non-profit Wild Orca and she is the killer whale scientific adviser for the Orca Salmon Alliance, a program advisor for Killer Whale Tales, and is on the Steering Committee for the Salish Sea Ecosystem Advocates (SalishSEA).