Dive into the captivating world of conservation with the Young WaveMaker Webinars hosted by Cape Perpetua Collaborative. Designed to inspire and educate the next generation of conservation leaders, these webinars bring together passionate individuals, innovative research, and the vibrant stories of our land and sea. Ideal for those eager to learn more about our natural surroundings, the webinars emphasize scientific exchange, community engagement, and the importance of stewardship. Join us and be a part of the next wave of conservation leaders.
Meet the Speaker– Rachel Hilt
Rachel Hilt is a 2023 graduate from the Master of Environmental Management (MEM) program at Duke in the Coastal Environmental Management concentration. Originally from St. Louis, Missouri Rachel developed a passion for marine life early on despite living in a landlocked state. She received a bachelor’s degree in Marine Affairs from the University of Miami, FL and has undertaken research on a variety of marine megafauna including sea turtles, humpback whales, and bottlenose dolphins. During her field work Rachel refined her interests in protected species management and critical habitats with a focus on marine mammals that brought her to the Duke University Marine Lab to work under the supervision of Dr. Andrew Read.
About the Project:
The Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) of 1972 defines stocks of marine mammals as groups of animals of the same species or similar taxa within a common spatial arrangement that interbreed when mature. Rachel’s Masters Project examines how the definition of marine mammal stocks has changed over time in the U.S. to better inform other countries as they develop a program of stock assessments. To illustrate these changes, and the divergent approaches taken by federal agencies, two detailed case studies are presented: Alaska harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) and the Florida manatee (T. m. latirostris). The diversity of viewpoints that exists among agency scientists regarding how stocks should be defined under the MMPA will also be highlighted, followed by recommendations for other countries as to how they can create or improve their marine mammal stock assessment process to meet the standards set by the United States.
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