Studying killer whales in the wild is expensive work. Transportation, equipment costs, boat maintenance and fuel are just some of the many daily costs faced by researchers in the field. By taking out a membership in the Wild Killer Whale Adoption Program, you’ll help defray these costs and become a key partner in the killer whale research effort.


Cetacean Research Lab Publications

All studies listed on this page were partially or entirely funded by the Vancouver Aquarium Wild Killer Whale Adoption Program 

Heise, K., Yurk, H., Nordstrom, C., Barrett-Lennard, L. 2016. A permanent soundscape monitoring system for the care of animals in aquaria, in Poper, A.N., Hawkins, A. (eds.), The effects of noise on aquatic life II, Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, p. 455-459. DOI:10.1007/978-1-4939-2981-8_54 [link]

Filatova, O.A., Miller, P.J.O., Yurk, H., Samarra, F.I.P., Hoyt, E., Ford, J.K.B., Matkin, C.O., Barrett-Lennard, L.G. 2015. Killer whale call frequency is similar across the oceans, but varies across sympatric ecotypes. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 138 (1): 251-257 [link]

Morin, P.A., Parsons, K.M., Archer, F.I., Avila-Arcos, M.C., Barrett-Lennard, L.G., Dalla Rosa, L., Duchene, S., Durban, J.W., Ellis, G.M., Ferguson, S.H., Ford, J.K., Ford, M.J., Garilao, C., Gilbert, T.P., Kaschner, K., Matkin, C.O., Petersen, S.D., Robertson, K.M., Visser, I.N., Wade, P.R., Ho, S.Y.W., Foote, A.D. 2015. Geographic and temporal dynamics of a global radiation and diversification in the killer whale. Molecular Ecology 24:3964-3979. DOI:10.111/mec.13284 [link]

Durban, J.W., Fearnbach, H., Barrett-Lennard, L.G., Perryman, W.L., Leroi, D.J. 2015. Photogrammetry of killer whales using a small hexacopter launched at sea. NRC Research Press. DOI:10.1139/juvs-2015-0020 [link]

Parsons, K.M., Durban, J.W., Burdin, A.M., Burkanov, V.N., Pitman, R.L., Barlow, J., Barrett-Lennard, L.G., LeDuc, R.G., Robertson, K.M., Matkin, C.O., Wade, P.R. 2013. Geographic patterns of genetic differentiation among killer whales in the Northern North Pacific.  Journal of Heredity 104 (6): 737-754 [link]

Rechsteiner et al. 2013. Observer effort for wildlife sightings data. Report of the Vancouver Aquarim Cetacean Research Program. 49 pp. [link]

Riesch, R., Barrett-Lennard, L.G., Ellis, G.M., Ford, J.K., Deecke, V.B. 2012. Cultural traditions and the evolution of reproductive isolation: ecological speciation in killer whales? Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 106: 1-17. [link]

Filatova, O.A., Deecke, V.B., Ford, J.K., Matkin C.O., Barrett-Lennard, L.G., Guzeev, M.A., Burdin, A.M., Hoyt, E. 2012. Call diversity in the North Pacific killer whale populations: implications for dialect evolution and population history. Animal Behaviour 83: 595-603. [link]

Barrett-Lennard, L. 2011. Killer Whale Evolution: Populations, ecotypes, species, oh my. Whalewatcher (Journal of the American Cetacean Society) 40(1) 48-53. [link]

Barrett-Lennard, L., & Heise, K. 2011. Killer Whale Conservation: The perils of life at the top of the food chain. Whalewatcher (Journal of the American Cetacean Society) 40(1) 58-62. [link] 

Lachmuth, C.,  Barrett-Lennard, L.G., Steyn, D.Q., Milsom, W.K. 2011. Estimation of southern resident killer whale exposure to exhaust emissions from whalewatching vessels and potential adverse health effects and toxicity thresholds. Marine Pollution Bulletin 62: 792-805. [link]

Ford, J.K.B., Ellis, G.M., Matkin, C.O., Wetklo, M.H., Barrett-Lennard, L.G., Withler, R.E. 2011. Shark predation and tooth wear in a population of northeastern Pacific killer whales. Aquatic Biology 11: 213-224. [link]

Barrett-Lennard, L.G., Matkin, C.O., Saulitis, E.L., Ellifrit, D., Durban, J.W. 2011. Predation of Gray Whales and Prolonged Feeding on Submerged Carcasses by Transient Killer Whales at Unimak Island, Alaska. Marine Ecology Progress Series 421: 229-241. [link]

Vergara, V., Barrett-Lennard, L.G., Michaud, R. 2010. What can captive whales tell us about their wild counterparts? Identification, usage, and ontogeny of contact calls in belugas (Delphinapterus leucas) International Journal of Comparative Psychology 2010: 23, 278-309. [link]

Yurk, H., Filatova, O,  Matkin, C.O. Barrett-Lennard, LG,  Brittain, M. 2010 Sequential habitat use by two resident killer whale (Orcinus orca) clans in Resurrection Bay, Alaska, as determined by remote acoustic monitoring. Aquatic Mammals 16: 67-78. [link]

Deecke, V., Barrett-Lennard, L.G., Spong, P., Ford, J.K.B. 2010 The structure of stereotyped calls reflects kinship and social affiliation in resident killer whales (Orcinus orca).  Naturwissenschaften 97: 513-518. [link]

Leung, E.S., Vergara, V., Barrett-Lennard, L.G. 2010 Allonursing in captive belugas. Zoo Biology 29: 1–5. [link]

Kuker, K., Barrett-Lennard, L.G. 2010 A re-evaluation of the sea otter (Enhydra lutris) population decline in the Aleutian Islands shows little evidence for killer whale (Orcinus orca) predation. Mammal Review 40: 103-124 [link]

Durban, J., Ellifrit, D., Dahlheim, M., Waite, J., Matkin, C.O., Barrett-Lennard, L.G., Ellis, G., Pitman, R., LeDuc, R., Wade, P. 2010. Photographic mark-recapture analysis of clustered mammal-eating killer whales around the Aleutian Islands and Gulf of Alaska. Marine Biology 157: 1591-1604. [link]

Noël, M., Barrett-Lennard, L.G., Guinet, C., Dangerfield, N., Ross, P.S. 2009 Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in killer whales (Orcinus orca) from the Crozet Archipelago, southern Indian Ocean. Marine Environmental Research 68:196–202. [link]

Heise, K., Barrett-Lennard, L.G., Ford, JKB. 2009. Update COSEWIC assessment and status report on killer whales Orcinus orca in Canada. Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, Ottawa. vi + 68pp. [link]

Heise, K. and L.G. Barrett-Lennard. 2008. The calm before the storm: the need for baseline acoustic studies off the central and north coasts of British Columbia, Canada. Bioacoustics 17: 248-250. [link]

Vergara, V., Barrett-Lennard, L.G. 2008. Vocal development in a beluga calf. Aquatic Mammals 34(1):123-143. [link]

Guinet, C., Domenici, P., de Stephanis, R., Barrett-Lennard, L.G., Verborgh, P. 2007  Killer whale predation on bluefin tuna: exploring the hypothesis of the endurance-exhaustion technique. Marine Ecology Progress Series 147:111-119. [link]

Wade, P.R., Barrett-Lennard, L.G., et al. 2007. Killer whales and marine mammal trends in the North Pacific – a re-examination of evidence for sequential megafauna collapse and the prey-switching hypothesis. Marine Mammal Science 23:766-802. [link]

Krahn, M.M., Herman, D.P, Matkin, C.O., Durban, J.W., Barrett-Lennard, L.G., Burrows, D.G., Dalheim, M.E., Black, N., LeDuc, R.G., Wade, P.R. 2007. Use of chemical tracers in assessing the diet and foraging regions of eastern North Pacific killer whales   Marine Environmental Research 63:91-114. [link]

Matkin, C.O., Barrett-Lennard, L.G., Yurk, H., Ellifrit, D, Trites, A.W. 2007. Ecotypic variation and predatory behavior of killer whales in the eastern Aleutian Islands, Alaska. Fisheries Bulletin 105:74-87. [link]

Thomas L., Williams R., Sandilands D. 2007. Designing line transect surveys for complex survey regions. Journal of Cetacean Research and Management 9:1-13. [link]

Barrett-Lennard, L.G., Heise, K. 2006 The Natural History and Ecology of Killer Whales: Foraging Specialization in a Generalist Predator. In Estes, J.A., Brownell, R.L., DeMaster, D.P., Doak, D.F., Williams, T.M. Whales, whaling and ocean ecosystems. University of California Press, Berkely, C.A. pp. 163-173. [link]

Herman, D.P., Burrows, D.G., Wade, P.R., Durban, J.W. Matkin, C.O., LeDuc, R.G., Barrett-Lennard, L.G. Krahn, M.M.  2005. Feeding ecology of eastern North Pacific killer whales from fatty acid, stable isotope, and organochlorine analyses of blubber biopsies. Marine Ecology Progress Series 302: 275-291. [link]

Rayne, S., Ikonomou, M.G., Ellis, G.M., Barrett-Lennard, L.G., Ross, P.S. 2004.  PBDEs, PBBs, and PCNs in three communities of free-ranging killer whales (Orcinus orca) from the northeastern Pacific Ocean. Environmental Science and Technology 38: 4293-4299. [link]

Heise, K., Barrett-Lennard, L.G., Saulitis, E.L., Matkin, C.O., Bain, D. 2003. Examining the evidence for killer whale predation on Steller sea lions in British Columbia and Alaska. Aquatic Mammals 29:325-334. [link]

Matkin, C.O., Barrett-Lennard, L.G., Ellis, G. 2002. Killer whales and predation on Steller sea lions. In Demaster, D., Atkinson, S. (eds) Steller Sea Lion Decline: Is it Food II? 61-66. University of Alaska Sea Grant College Program, Volume AK-SG-02-02. [link]

Yurk, H., Barrett-Lennard L.G., Ford, J.K.B. and Matkin C.O. 2002. Cultural transmission within maternal lineages: Vocal clans in resident killer whales in Southern Alaska. Animal Behaviour 63:1103-1119. [link]

Barrett-Lennard, L.G., Deecke, V.B., Ford, J.K.B., Yurk, H.  2001.  A sound approach to the study of culture. Behavioural and Brain Sciences. 24:325-326. [link]

Barrett-Lennard, L.G., Ellis, G.M. 2001. Population structure and genetic variability in northeastern Pacific killer whales: towards an assessment of population viability. Canadian Scientific Advisory Secretariat, Department of Fisheries and Oceans Document 2001/065. [link]

Guinet, C. Barrett-Lennard, L.G., Loyer, B. 2000. Coordinated attack behaviour and prey sharing by killer whales at Crozet Archipelago: strategies for feeding on negatively-buoyant prey. Marine Mammal Science 16:829-834. [link]

Ross, P.S., Ellis, G.M. Ikonomou, M.G., Barrett-Lennard, L.G., Addison, R.F. 2000. High PCB concentrations in free-ranging Pacific killer whales, Orcinus orca: effects of age, sex and dietary preference. Marine Pollution Bulletin. 40:504–515. [link]

Saulitis, E.L., Matkin, C.O., Barrett-Lennard, L.G., Heise, K., Ellis, G.M. 2000. Foraging strategies of sympatric killer whale (Orcinus orca) populations in Prince William Sound, Alaska. Marine Mammal Science 16:94-109. [link]

Ford, J.K.B., Ellis, G.M., Barrett-Lennard, L.G., Morton, A.B., Palm, R.S., and Balcomb, K.C. 1998. Dietary specialization in two sympatric populations of killer whales (Orcinus orca) in Coastal British Columbia and adjacent waters. Canadian Journal of Zoology 76:1456-1471. [link] 

Barrett-Lennard, L.G., Smith, T.G., and Ellis, G.M. 1996. A cetacean biopsy system using lightweight pneumatic darts, and its effect on the behaviour of killer whales. Marine Mammal Science 12:14-27. [link]

Barrett-Lennard, L.G., Heise, K.A., and Ford, J.K.B. 1996. The mixed blessing of echolocation: differences in sonar use by fish-eating and mammal-eating killer whales. Animal Behaviour 51:553-565. [link]


Francis, D., Hewlett, G. 2007. Operation Orca: Springer, Luna and the Struggle to Save West Coast Killer Whales. Harbour Publishing, Madeira Park, B.C., Canada. 280 pp.

Matkin, C.O., Ellis, G.M., Saulitis, E.L., Barrett-Lennard, L.G., Matkin, D. 1999. Killer whales of Southern Alaska. Phantom Press, Nanaimo, and North Gulf Oceanic Society, Homer, Alaska. 96 pp.