Olga Filatova is a research fellow in the department of biology at the University of Southern Denmark.
All whales, dolphins, and porpoises—also called cetaceans—move across large areas of ocean, making it difficult to protect their entire range. So, conservation efforts typically focus on habitat essential for their survival. Whales and their habitat in the Russian Pacific are no different, but they are increasingly threatened by industrial activities, severe overfishing, and hunting and live capturing of some smaller species such as beluga and orcas.
To better understand the Russian Far East seas, Filatova used her Pew fellowship to provide a more complete picture of vital habitat for a number of cetacean species, including orcas, humpbacks, Baird’s beaked whales, and North Pacific right and sperm whales. Filatova, who has studied cetaceans in the area for 15 years, sought to identify important foraging and breeding areas and any places in the region used to socialize or raise calves. She also investigated the distribution, abundance, and population structure of various species, using surveys, photo and acoustic identification, behavioral observations, and genetic analysis. The information she gathered will provide officials with documentation on rare and endangered species of marine mammals that could lead to cetacean protected areas.
To learn more about Filatova, visit http://www.rufford.org/rsg/projects/olga_filatova.