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Kathleen Hunt, Northern Arizona University

Scat, Blow and Baleen, Oh My: Deciphering The Secret Lives Of Whales Using Alternative Sample Types

Thursday, September 28, 2017 3:30 PM - 4:30 PM

Kathleen E. Hunt, Ph.D., will be sharing her recent research on novel techniques for assessing the physiology of large whales. Dr. Hunt & colleagues have recently found that whale baleen, which grows continuously and slowly from the roof of a whale's mouth, contains reproductive hormones and stress hormones that are laid down as the baleen grows. Her new data demonstrate that a single long piece of baleen, recovered from a carcass after a whale dies, can contain ten or more years of detailed individual life history. Baleen hormone cycles can be used to reconstruct reproductive cycles (pregnancies in females, testosterone cycles in males), patterns in stress, potentially the effects of prey shifts and climate change, and may help illuminate cause of death. She is now testing the technique on specimens from 9 species of large whale ranging from Alaska to Argentina. Dr. Hunt will also briefly describe her fifteen years of  research on fecal hormones and respiratory vapor hormones, and how these novel sample types can be used in conjunction to reveal patterns of whale reproduction, stress, and health.

    Dr. Hunt is currently based at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona, where she also studies a variety of other vertebrates including Galapagos tortoise, sea turtles, Tasmanian spiny echidnas, bighorn sheep, African antelopes and Alaskan songbirds.


OSU Hatfield Marine Science Center
Guin Library Seminar Room
2030 SE Marine Science Drive
Newport
OR
Leigh Torres
541-867-0895
leigh.torres at oregonstate.edu
Hatfield Marine Sci Ctr
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