An article last week by the associated press reported on efforts by John Durban at the Southwest Fisheries Science Center (SWFSC), among others, to rename the type of killer whales that were originally called "transients" in the North Pacific to "Bigg's killer whale". This common name is proposed in deference to late Canadian biologist Mike Bigg, who first described different types of killer whales in the eastern North Pacific. This particular type of killer whale feeds on other marine mammals, and is only found in the North Pacific. The genetic analyses of global killer whale diversity conducted by Phil Morin at the SWFSC and colleagues were highlighted in the article, in support of the significant genetic distinctiveness of the Bigg's killer whales relative to the other types worldwide, including the North Pacific, underlining the ongoing efforts to understand and describe global killer whale systematics. The article has been carried in quite a few newspapers in Alaska and along the US and Canadian west coast.
- For more information on killer whale research at the Southwest Fisheries Science Center, please visit some of the following sites:
- To learn more about killer whales around the world and their specific diets, please visit the NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources website.
Photo Credit: Dave Ellifrit