Who are we and where does this data come from?
The GEMM Lab is led by Dr. Leigh Torres who is a part of Oregon Sea Grant extension and an Associate Professor in the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Sciences. Leigh and her amazing team of graduate students and post-docs conduct field work along the Oregon coast from June and October every year to collect important data and then work hard to analyze these data to document and understand patterns. The team collects photographs, drone footage, acoustic recordings, and whale fecal and prey samples to better understand the ecology, health, and behavior of Pacific Coast Feeding Group (PCFG) of gray whales. The majority of information presented on the IndividuWhales website has been collected by the GEMM Lab, but we are certainly not the only research group along the West Coast of North America that studies the PCFG. We collaborate with many other scientists and rely upon the hard-work and long-term datasets of several other research groups to provide you with certain facts about these IndividuWhales.
We would like to give a special thanks to Cascadia Research Collective (CRC) for providing us with minimum age estimates for many whales profiled on this website. CRC is a non-profit organization based in Olympia, Washington that conducts scientific research on many marine mammals and birds. CRC curates a PCFG catalog that is compiles the photos and sightings data contributed by many different data groups (including us).
We would also like to thank the NOAA South West Fisheries Science Center (SWFSC) for providing us with sex information for many of the whales profiled on this website through genetic analysis of skin tissue samples collected from PCFG gray whales. The Marine Mammal Genetics Program at SWFSC supports the management and conservation of marine mammals by using genetic data to identify population structure at multiple levels.