Eighth International Conference Marine Mammals of the Holarctic

Eighth International Conference Marine Mammals of the Holarctic

22 September 2014

The 8th International Conference Marine Mammals of the
is taking place on the territory of St Petersburg’s water utility Vodokanal on 22-27 September. Russia, Finland and Estonia have proclaimed 2014 the Year of the Gulf of Finland. This is why St Petersburg has been chosen as the venue for the event.


The Marine Mammal Council has held international conferences entitled Marine Mammals of the Holarctic biennially for the past 14 years. This time, the event is conducted with the support of the water utility Vodokanal of St Petersburg, the city’s Government, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, and the Russian Academy of Sciences.


The conference on the study and protection of marine mammals (seals, white whales, killer whales, walruses and polar bears, to name a few) is attended by over 250 specialists from Russia, the United States, Canada, Finland, Norway and other countries.


Specialists are discussing the results and prospects of research, the protection and the use of the Northern Hemisphere’s marine mammals. By tradition, they pay special attention to environmental protection and population biology, in part, assessing population size, spatial distribution, migration and monitoring habitats. They review different modern methods of studying the mammals’ behaviour, acoustics, physiology, health, rehabilitation and husbandry. Also on the agenda are legislative initiatives and legal aspects in regulating the interaction between nature and society.


A considerable part of programme-announced reports is devoted to the study of white whales, their physiology, biogeography, ethology and behaviour.


A session of the Atlantic walrus group and a round table discussion on cetacean live captures in Russia took place on the first day of the conference.


Also on the first day, the organisers opened an exhibition of photos taken by members of the Marine Mammal Council and researchers during expeditions, and held a third national contest of children’s drawings that is named after Vladimir Smirin. This time, the contest’s topic is a journey of a young naturalist into the world of marine mammals. The participants will have an opportunity to see unique documentary videos and the full-length documentary Blackfish.

Sections on the grey whale, its behaviour and acoustics; oil and gas companies’ experience in marine mammal monitoring and impact mitigation; and abundance, distribution and population structure took place on 23 September. A section on the physiology and health of marine mammals was held on 24 September.


Detailed information on the programme is published on the site of the conference.