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  1. Ford, J.K.B., J.W. Durban, G.M. Ellis, J.R. Towers, J.F. Pilkington, L. Barrett-Lennard, and R.D. Andrews 2013. New insights into the northward migration route of gray whales between Vancouver Island, British Columbia, and southeastern Alaska. Marine Mammal Science 29:325-337
  2. Dalla Rosa, L., J.K.B Ford, and A.W. Trites 2012. Distribution and relative abundance of humpback whales in relation to environmental variables in coastal British Columbia and adjacent waters. Continental Shelf Research 36:89-104
  3. Filatova, O., J.K.B. Ford, C.O. Matkin, L.G. Barrett-Lennard, A.M. Burdin, and E. Hoyt 2012. Ultrasonic whistles of killer whales (Orcinus orca) recorded in the North Pacific. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 132:618-621
  4. Filatova, O.A., J.K.B. Ford, C.O. Matkin, L.G. Barrett-Lennard, M.A. Guzeev, A.M. Burdin, E. Hoyt, and V.B. Deecke 2012. Call diversity in North Pacific killer whale populations: implications for dialect evolution and population history. Animal Behaviour 83:595-603
  5. Foster, E.A., D.W. Franks, S. Mazzi, S.K. Darden, K.C. Balcomb, J.K.B. Ford, D.P. Croft 2012. Adaptive prolonged postreproductive life span in killer whales. Science, 337 (6100): 1313


John K.B. Ford

Adjunct Professor, Dept. of Zoology, UBC, and Research Scientist, Pacific Biological Station, Fisheries & Oceans Canada

Office phone: 250-729-8375
Research area: Ecology
Lab Members: B. Koot, B. Wright
History: B.Sc. (Hons.), U.B.C.; Ph.D., U.B.C.

Since the 1970s, I have worked in collaboration with a variety of students and colleagues in a long-term study of the identification, social organization, and life history of killer whales. Much of my research and that of my students has involved the function of underwater acoustic signals in social communication of killer whales, the identification and description of group-specific vocal dialects, and interpretations of these dialects to yield insights into the historical social evolution of the populations. More recently, my studies have focused on the foraging specializations of fish-eating ‘resident’ killer whales, which prey selectively on Chinook salmon. Despite the high trophic level of this predator, resident killer whales may be dependent on Chinook salmon and abundance of this prey species may have a direct effect on their survival. With my MSc student Brianna Wright, I am currently studying the underwater diving behaviour of resident killer whales to better understand how they locate, pursue and catch their primary prey, Chinook salmon (see http://www.marinemammal.org/MMRU2/personnel/brianna-wright/ ).

Since 2001, when I joined the Pacific Biological Station as head of the Cetacean Research Program, my studies have broadened to include assessment of the conservation status of marine mammals and turtles off the Pacific coast that are listed under Canada’s Species-at-Risk Act. These species include the North Pacific right whale, blue whale, sei whale, fin whale, humpback whale, sea otter and leatherback turtle. With my MSc student Barbara Koot, I am examining the underwater acoustics of cetaceans, particularly fin whales, off the BC coast using a network of autonomous underwater acoustic recording instruments deployed on the seafloor (see http://www.marinemammal.org/MMRU2/personnel/barbara-koot/ ). Details on other activities of the Cetacean Research Program can be seen at http://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/science/species-especes/cetacean-cetaces/index-eng.htm

Note to prospective graduate students: Unfortunately, I will be unable to take on any new graduate students in 2014.

Last updated 7 March 2014