November 23, 2014

Marine Mammal Symposium

 The University of British Columbia has been conducting an annual Marine Mammals Symposium for the past 22 years and this was the 2nd year that we attended. Its a pretty excellent gathering of the west coast minds for all things cetacean and pinniped, with presentations by grad students, professors, artists, and photographers along with representation from the whale watching industry.
 Each presenter is limited to a 5 minute slot which most people stick to out of 'fear' of the Call of the Rooster, which is a rubber chicken squawk signaling that your time is up. This creates a very intense but rapid volley of presentations with 44 different topics this year. There are several breaks throughout the day for lunch and stretches, and the lobby of the building has some pretty awesome articulated skeletons like the minke whale below.
 This trio of dolphin skeletons graces a nearby stairway, and one of the highlights for me this year was a brief presentation by the fellow who not only articulated all the skeletons in the building, but also the blue whale skeleton at the Beatty Biodiversity Museum, as well as some of the larger specimens at the Whale Interpretive Centre.
All in all an amazing but mentally draining day learning about some amazing animals from some pretty incredible people. If this sounds like your sort of thing, I would strongly recommend it, even as an outsider to the industry and a bit of a layman myself I find the whole day stimulating and eventful.

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