The Vaquita Expedition 2008 The visual part of the survey
Speaker: Cornelia Oedekoven
Vaquita /Phocoena sinus/ of the upper northern Gulf of California, Mexico are now considered the most endangered cetacean species in the world after the baiji /Lipotes vexillifer/ of China’s Yangtze River were recently declared functionally extinct. As part of an effort to protect the vaquita, Mexico’s Instituto Nacional de Ecología (INE) requested collaborative support from the international scientific community to develop new autonomous acoustic methods to monitor this rare species effectively. In response to this invitation, US and Mexican scientists together with expert acousticians from the UK, the US and Japan conducted a multi-platform research cruise in fall of 2008.
To produce a current abundance estimate that would tie in with the newly developed acoustic methods, scientists aboard the NOAA research vessel /David Starr Jordan/ conducted line-transect surveys in the chore area of vaquita habitat. I was part of this team and will present research objectives, field methods and preliminary results with main emphasis on the visual survey.