Determining the Community and Sub-Population Structure of West Coast Transient (Bigg’s) Killer Whales in the Northeastern Pacific

The transient killer whales that feed on other marine mammals in British Columbia waters (also known as Bigg’s killer whales) range from Alaska to California. However, relatively little is known about their life histories, including whether they belong to separate populations. We will determine the population structure of west coast transient killer whales (California to Alaska) based on photo id’s, locations of sightings, associations between individuals, and documented feeding behaviours. We will also document their home ranges, behaviours, social interactions and dietary specialties using a rich database of sighting reports and photographs in government and NGO databases. Confirming the presence and status of distinct populations of transient killer whales with dietary specialities will contribute to their conservation and aid in understanding their ecological roles within marine ecosystems.

Faculty Supervisor:

Andrew Trites


Josh McInnes


Pacific Wildlife Foundation




Professional, scientific and technical services


University of British Columbia


Current openings

Find the perfect opportunity to put your academic skills and knowledge into practice!

Find Projects