The Pacific Life Foundation has been sponsoring the Southern California Marine Mammal Workshop (SCMMW) since 2010.
The SCMMW is organized by and for researchers with the aim of fostering discussion and collaboration within the Southern California marine mammal research community.

2015 SCMMW - ReportPDF, ProgramPDF and Poster AbstractsPDF

The 2015 Workshop sessions included:

Bycatch in California: Not everything caught makes it to our table

Bycatch is a worldwide problem that is not limited to one ocean or one single fishing industry, and that holds true for California and its marine resources. In this session we will discuss regional issues related to bycatch of marine mammals such as recent topics surrounding the drift gillnet fishery, the number of entanglements and the role of rescue networks, take reduction teams, other management approaches, and the uncertainty surrounding estimating bycatch and how we assess the severity of this as a threat. A panelist discussion will follow presentations given by experts on each of these topics. Plenary Session Chairs: Monica DeAngelis and Jeff Moore.

The Effects of Seasonal to Decadal Climate Variability on Marine Mammal Habitat

The California Current is driven by multiple scales of environmental variability from seasonal upwelling events to broad scale climate patterns such as El Niño. These patterns lead to seasonal migrations of marine mammals both for pinnipeds and cetaceans, but understanding how these changes in distribution and foraging success translate to population level effects have been difficult. Beginning in the fall of 2013, juvenile California sea lions were stranding in high numbers along the California coast such that an Unusual Mortality Event was declared. Understanding the relationship between environmental variability in the California Current and the predators (cetaceans and pinnipeds) that rely on seasonal productivity remains a research priority. Concurrent Session Chairs: Monica DeAngelis and Elliott Hazen.

One Health: Marine Mammals and Humans Facing Similar Challenges in a Changing World

The One Health movement is defined as "working at the interface of animals, people and the environment to solve complex problems that impact health and conservation". In this session, speakers will describe current topics in marine mammal health, highlighting the human, marine mammal and environment intersection. A panel discussion will end the session, followed by a lunchtime keynote address looking at our common health future. Concurrent Session Chair: Ann Bowles.

Social Media as a Tool for Change

Technology has enabled society to live in constant contact, living events as they happen, and spreading information at a record pace. We have access to information for every facet of our lives and can communicate with thousands instantly across the globe. Social media has the ability to connect scientists directly with the public, to create citizen science programs, and rally large groups of people to lend a voice to issues, whether it is climate change or endangered species crises. This session will discuss using social media to discuss current "hot topics" and how to bring far reaching public awareness to critical and timely issues. We will look at communication approaches, successes, and using analytics. Plenary Session Chair Sarah Wilson.


This session aims to involve the southern California audience in what they can do locally to promote vaquita conservation. The primary opportunity in conservation is to use markets here to provide fishermen a premium for vaquita friendly seafood products. This session will provide a positive message that people can make conservation of vaquita profitable and sustainable through their consumer choices. Plenary Session Chair: Barbara Taylor.

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