The Sitka Whalelab leads marine mammal research, teaching, and outreach in Southeast Alaska.
The UAS Whalelab has always been based in rural Alaska and focuses on research that affects the ecosystem and coastal residents of Alaska.
Community Based Research
Our lab focuses on human-cetacean interactions that have implications for coastal communities. This includes fishery competition, depredation, entanglement and stranding. We provide evidence-based analysis that is responsive to the needs of managers, industry and community stakeholders.
One Health is the idea that human, animal and environmental health are intrinsically connected and the health of each one affects the others. This perspective has been named relatively recently in biomedicine but it has been central to indigenous stewardship since time immemorial. One-health research seeks to promote wellness through proactive environmental monitoring. We have seen that large whale individual and population health are indicators of climate-mediated changes throughout the food web. Long term monitoring allows us to detect and document these changes, with widespread implications.
We work with rural students to give them positive first experiences with research and help bring diverse perspectives and experiences into marine science. We maintain close partnerships with Mt. Edgecumbe High School and rural students throughout the region through the RASOR program. We also work closely with the UAF BLaST program and the Sitka Sound Science Center’s Whalefest program.