See updates from our September 2009 field project
See updates from our September 2008 field project
Since 1985 a large proportion of the research I have undertaken has focused on killer whales. My Ph.D. research through Simon Fraser University, completed in 1994, focused on the foraging behavior and ecology of the mammal-eating transient killer whales, but I have also studied the behavior of fish-eating residents in Washington, British Columbia and Alaska, as well as the behavior of killer whales in Iceland, and some work with killer whales in Mexico and Hawaii. A list of publications and reports on this research (including pdf files) is below.
Current projects focus on the diving behavior of mammal-eating killer whales, movement patterns of mammal-eating killer whales, and a study of diet and behavioral cues of predation in fish-eating killer whales. This latter project was begun in 2002 in collaboration with Dr. Brad Hanson of the Northwest Fisheries Science Center and involves collecting fecal samples (for genetic analysis of diet) and prey remains left behind foraging whales. As part of the effort to examine diet and underwater behavior, with Greg Marshall and Dr. Mike Heithaus of the National Geographic Television Remote Imaging Program we deployed one Crittercam on a fish-eating "southern resident" killer whale (K25) in 2002, obtaining the first underwater video footage collected from a killer whale. Unfortunately the whale was not foraging while the camera was attached, but the video footage obtained (see above) does demonstrate that this technique should be useful to examine underwater feeding.
Publications and reports on killer whales
|Books and book chapters|
Killer whales of the world: natural history and conservation. Book by R.W. Baird published jointly by Colin Baxter Photography in Europe and Voyageur Press in North America in 2002, and reprinted as a softcover by Voyageur Press in 2006
The killer whale - foraging specializations and group hunting. A review chapter by R.W. Baird published in the book Cetacean Societies in 2000 by the University of Chicago Press. Download Adobe PDF copy
Birth of a "resident" killer whale off Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Note by P.J. Stacey and R.W. Baird, published in Marine Mammal Science in 1997. Download Adobe PDF copy
Ecological and social determinants of group size in transient killer whales. Paper by R.W. Baird and L.M. Dill published in Behavioral Ecology in 1996. Download Adobe PDF copy
Levels of organochlorine compounds, including PCDDs and PCDFs, in the blubber of cetaceans from the west coast of North America. Paper by W.M. Jarman and colleagues published in Marine Pollution Bulletin in 1996. Download Adobe PDF copy
Occurrence and behaviour of transient killer whales: seasonal and pod-specific variability, foraging behaviour and prey handling. Paper by R.W. Baird and L.M. Dill published in Canadian Journal of Zoology in 1995. Download Adobe PDF copy
Possible indirect interactions between transient and resident killer whales: implications for the evolution of foraging specializations in the genus Orcinus. Paper by R.W. Baird, P.A. Abrams and L.M. Dill published in Oecologia in 1992. Download Adobe PDF copy
A review of killer whale interactions with other marine mammals: predation to co-existence. Paper by T.A. Jefferson, P.J. Stacey and R.W. Baird published in Mammal Review in 1991. Download Adobe PDF copy
Observations on the reactions of sea lions, Zalophus californianus and Eumetopias jubatus, to killer whales, Orcinus orca, evidence of "prey" having a "search image" for predators. Paper by R.W. Baird and P.J. Stacey published in Canadian Field-Naturalist in 1989. Download Adobe PDF copy
Variation in saddle patch pigmentation in populations of killer whales (Orcinus orca) from British Columbia, Alaska, and Washington State. Paper by R.W. Baird and P.J. Stacey published in Canadian Journal of Zoology in 1988. Download Adobe PDF copy
Reports and conference presentations
Diving behaviour of killer whales. Abstract of a presentation by R.W. Baird, L.M. Dill and M.B. Hanson, to the World Marine Mammal Conference, held in Monaco in 1998.
Information on killer whale reactions to suction-cup tagging can also be found in an Abstract to a presentation at a workshop on "Methods for Assessing Behaviorial Impacts On Marine Mammals from Human Activities", held in Monaco in 1998.
Management of killer whale/boat interactions in Haro Strait. Abstract of a presentation authored by R.W. Baird, R. Otis and R.W. Osborne, from a workshop on "Whale Watching Research" held in Monaco in 1998.
Orca Survey field guide to transients of the Haro Strait area. Text from a catalogue authored by A.M. van Ginneken, D.K. Ellifrit and R.W. Baird, published by the Center for Whale Research, Friday Harbor, WA in 1998.
Foraging behaviour and ecology of transient killer whales. Abstract, Prologue, Epilogue and some appendices from the Ph.D. Thesis of R.W. Baird, completed in 1994. Most of the rest of the thesis has been published in journal papers, including the above-noted articles in Behavioral Ecology, Oecologia and Canadian Journal of Zoology.
Transient killer whale (Orcinus orca) harassment, predation, and "surplus killing" of marine birds in British Columbia
Foraging and feeding behavior of transient killer whales. Article by R.W. Baird and P.J. Stacey published in Whalewatcher, the Journal of the American Cetacean Society, in 1988. Download Adobe PDF
For more information on this research write to: rwbaird (at) cascadiaresearch.org
Updated May 2009.
Photographs on this page (c) Robin W. Baird 2000. Use of photos only with permission of Robin W. Baird
Go to Cascadia Research main page
Go to homepage of Robin W. Baird