Public lecture: Seas Alive! Understanding the whales, dolphins and porpoises of Macao and adjacent waters



The Institute of Science and Environment of USJ will hold an online public lecture titled "Seas Alive! Understanding the whales, dolphins and porpoises of Macao and adjacent waters'' on 7th July 2020



Asia is home to a huge diversity of whales, dolphins and porpoises and even the only vegetarian marine mammal in the eastern hemisphere! Right on Macau’s very doorstep, two species of cetacean call the waters of the Pearl River Estuary home and a further 17 species have been recorded in close by oceanic waters. The region has a rich history of marine mammals and many Tin Hau temples display ancient whale bones, as a testament to the importance these species once had with fishing communities. Both dolphins and porpoise have been struggling in the ever more urbanized waters of the estuary, however, the cessation of the ferry traffic during Covid border closures has provided some respite and has seen the return of dolphins and porpoises to now deserted shipping lanes. Our speaker, Dr Lindsay Porter, will describe her decades long study of our local marine mammals and will provide the first insights to how dolphins and porpoises claimed back their habitat during this period of restricted vessel movement.


Lindsay Porter obtained her undergraduate degree in Aquatic Bioscience from Glasgow University (Scotland) then moved to Hong Kong to conduct her doctoral thesis on the impact of coastal reclamation on the iconic Chinese white dolphin – or Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin (Sousa chinensis). Lindsay completed her PhD in 1998 and remained in Asia where she has studied many of the most threatened regions regarding marine mammal species. Lindsay is currently an Honorary Research Fellow of the Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU) of the University of St. Andrews (Scotland), the world’s largest research and teaching facility dedicated to the study of marine mammals. She continues to use Hong Kong as her base where her study of the Chinese white dolphin population now spans more than 20 years. Lindsay is also an Associate Professor at the University of Malaysia Sarawak and University Sains Malaysia, where she is assisting local researchers to develop skills and increase marine mammal expertise in the Malaysia. Lindsay is recognized as an international marine mammal expert and is a member of the IUCN Cetacean Specialist Group and Chair of the Small Cetacean Committee of the International Whaling Commission Scientific Committee. She also sits on the boards of two regional groups, the South East Asian Marine Mammal association (SEAMMAMs) and the Asian Marine Mammal Stranding Network (AMMSN). Lindsay is also the Asia Section Marine Liaison Officer for the Society of Conservation Biology, board member of the Association of Tropical Biology Conservation and the Awards and Scholarship Chair for the Society of Marine Mammalogy. Lindsay has also provided expert advice, as well as featured in, several documentaries on ocean health and marine mammals, in particular the award winning documentary “A Plastic Ocean” highlighted her work on Sri Lanka’s blue whales.