Connecting prey and specialized predator population dynamics: a hundred-and fifty year record of salmon and killer whale interactions
Pacific northwestern southern resident killer whale population only encompasses 74 individuals and is considered endangered. Chinook salmon, the main food source of resident killer whales, is today disappearing from the North American western coast. Yet, it remains unclear to which extent food deprivation is affecting recovery of resident killer populations. The main aim of this project is to assess the historical levels of salmon populations to estimate the carrying capacity of the area for resident killer whale populations, along with the potential impact of inter-predation competition on salmon populations. This research is of critical importance, as it deals with two species holding high ecological, economical, and cultural values. This project combines research and the development of new ecosystem-based models. It dovetails closely with the values of the Ocean Wise Conservation Association, itself recognized for its engagement in marine research and conservation.