I saw my first harbour porpoise seven years ago while cruising the coastline of British Columbia with my wife and friends. My wife and I were honeymooning on our friend’s boat, opportunistically looking for whatever wildlife we could find. We were hoping for whales of course — killer whales, humpback whales and grey whales — but every once in a while, we’d see this little dorsal fin pop out of the water for a split second. Curious, we followed one at a safe distance and later identified it as a harbour porpoise.
Surprisingly little is known about harbour porpoises compared to other species such as killer whales and humpback whales. They’re just not as sexy I guess; they are small and grey after all. When I checked with my “friends” Google and Wikipedia, they also said that not much was known about them.
Luckily, there are people working very hard to crack the harbour porpoise “code” for those of us that want to know more. One such person, biologist Dr. Anna Hall, is giving a talk on harbour porpoises at the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre next Thursday, Nov. 13. Her talk, titled “Shades of Grey: Uncovering the Hidden Complexities of the Lives of Harbour Porpoises” is likely to be chock full of the facts and personal stories you won’t find on the internet. You can come to the Vancouver Aquarium in Stanly Park and listen to her talk live or you can watch it broadcast on our YouTube channel.
Dr. Anna Hall received her PhD from the Marine Mammal Research Unit at the University of British Columbia in 2011, where she studied the biophysical relationships between harbour porpoise behaviour and habitat selection, with oceanographic and lunar events. Dr. Hall has spent 20 years researching the harbour porpoises of British Columbia and has also worked on seasonal abundance, diet, behaviour and incidental catch.
Tickets for this informative talk are available online at vanaqua.org.
Blog post submitted by Jonathan Hultquist, manager of public programs for the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre.