Robin William Baird

Robin William Baird
Cascadia Research Collective

Ph.D.

About

275
Publications
61,138
Reads
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8,065
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Introduction
Robin William Baird works with Cascadia Research Collective and is an Associate Faculty of the Hawai'i Institute of Marine Biology. Robin's research focuses on the ecology and behavior of odontocete cetaceans in Hawaiian waters, with studies of population structure, social organization, spatial use, human interactions, and diving behavior, among others, but is also involved with studies of killer whales along the west coast of the U.S. and a number of species in the Atlantic. Check out http://www.cascadiaresearch.org/projects/hawaii for more information
Additional affiliations
September 2003 - present
May 2001 - September 2003
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
May 1996 - December 2003
Dalhousie University

Publications

Publications (275)
Preprint
Full-text available
Background Animal-borne telemetry instruments (tags) have greatly advanced our understanding of species that are challenging to observe. Recently, non-recoverable instruments attached to cetaceans have increased in use, but these devices have limitations in data transmission bandwidth. We analyze trade-offs in the longevity, resolution, and continu...
Article
Rough‐toothed dolphins (Steno bredanensis) have a global tropical and subtropical distribution with oceanic, neritic, and island‐associated populations. To inform conservation and management for this species, we used sequences from the mtDNA control region (n = 360), mitogenomes (n = 19), and six nuclear introns (n = 35) to provide multiple lines o...
Article
Full-text available
Passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) has proven a powerful tool for the study of marine mammals, allowing for documentation of biologically relevant factors such as movement patterns or animal behaviors while remaining largely non-invasive and cost effective. From 2008–2019, a set of PAM recordings covering the frequency band of most toothed whale (od...
Article
Full-text available
Abstract available in English, Spanish and Portuguese. The deep sea has been described as the last major ecological frontier, as much of its biodiversity is yet to be discovered and described. Beaked whales (ziphiids) are among the most visible inhabitants of the deep sea, due to their large size and worldwide distribution, and their taxonomic div...
Article
Full-text available
Assessing the patterns of wildlife attendance to specific areas is relevant across many fundamental and applied ecological studies, particularly when animals are at risk of being exposed to stressors within or outside the boundaries of those areas. Marine mammals are increasingly being exposed to human activities that may cause behavioral and physi...
Article
Dwarf sperm whales (Kogia sima) have been studied rarely at sea. We used photo‐identification, boat‐ and drone‐based behavioral observations, and citizen science photo contributions to examine site fidelity, spatial use, and behavior in Hawaiʻi. Sighting rates were highest in island slope (500–1,000 m) waters. Over 40% of photo‐identified individua...
Article
Runs of homozygosity (ROH) occur when offspring inherit haplotypes that are identical by descent from each parent. Length distributions of ROH are informative about population history; specifically, the probability of inbreeding mediated by mating system and/or population demography. Here, we investigate whether variation in killer whale (Orcinus o...
Article
Full-text available
False killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens) depredate bait and catch in the Hawai‘i‐based deep‐set longline fishery, and as a result, this species is hooked or entangled more than any other cetacean in this fishery. We analyzed data collected by fisheries observers and from satellite‐linked transmitters deployed on false killer whales to identify pa...
Preprint
Runs of homozygosity (ROH) occur when offspring inherit haplotypes that are identical by descent from each parent. Length distributions of ROH are informative about population history; specifically the probability of inbreeding mediated by mating system and/or population demography. Here, we investigate whether variation in killer whale (Orcinus or...
Article
Full-text available
Species conservation relies on understanding population demographics, yet this information is lacking for many species and populations. Four stocks of common bottlenose dolphins Tursiops truncatus inhabiting the waters surrounding the main Hawaiian Islands (USA) are exposed to anthropogenic disturbances including fisheries interactions, tourism, na...
Article
Observational studies describe rough‐toothed dolphins (Steno bredanensis) actively foraging during the day on epipelagic species. Using data from depth‐transmitting satellite tags deployed on nine individuals off Kauaʻi, we investigated diving behavior and the effects of lunar phase and solar light levels on vertical movements. Overall, tagged roug...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding diet is critical for conservation of endangered predators. Southern Resident killer whales (SRKW) (Orcinus orca) are an endangered population occurring primarily along the outer coast and inland waters of Washington and British Columbia. Insufficient prey has been identified as a factor limiting their recovery, so a clear understandin...
Article
Incidental bycatch in fisheries is a pressing conservation issue for marine mammal populations across the globe. However, the ability to detect and therefore mitigate this issue is challenging for several reasons. Fishermen are unlikely to voluntarily report bycatch due to fear of penalization or apathy towards it. While fisheries observer programs...
Article
Studies of the social behavior of Cuvier's beaked whales (Ziphius cavirostris) are challenging because of their deep‐water habitat usually far from shore and the limited time they spend at the surface. The sociality of these deepest diving mammals is of interest, however, especially for our understanding of how social systems evolve in extreme habi...
Article
Harbor porpoise in the North Pacific are found in coastal waters from southern California to Japan, but population structure is poorly known outside of a few local areas. We used multiplexed amplicon sequencing of 292 loci and genotyped clusters of SNPs as microhaplotypes (N=271 samples) in addition to mtDNA sequence data (N=413 samples), to examin...
Article
Pelagic false killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens) are killed or seriously injured in the Hawai‘i-based deep-set longline fishery more than any other cetacean, with bycatch regularly exceeding allowable levels. Telemetry data from five satellite-tagged whales (from three groups) and longline logbook entries (4182 sets) from the Hawai‘i-based longli...
Article
In Hawaiian waters fishermen use the association between pantropical spotted dolphins (Stenella attenuata) and yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) to catch tuna. Targeting fishing effort around or in spotted dolphin groups has the potential to lead to bycatch, and anecdotal reports of hooking dolphins exist. We recorded information on fishing vessel...
Article
False killer whales are long-lived, slow to mature, apex predators, and therefore susceptible to bioaccumulation of persistent organic pollutants (POPs). Hawaiian waters are home to three distinct populations: pelagic; Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI) insular; and main Hawaiian Islands (MHI) insular. Following a precipitous decline over recent...
Article
Full-text available
Skin-associated microorganisms have been shown to play a role in immune function and disease of humans, but are understudied in marine mammals, a diverse animal group that serve as sentinels of ocean health. We examined the microbiota associated with 75 epidermal samples opportunistically collected from nine species within four marine mammal famili...
Article
Full-text available
Spinner dolphins Stenella longirostris longirostris in Hawai‘i exhibit a predictable diurnal behavioral pattern which makes them vulnerable to human disturbance: feeding at night in offshore waters and resting during daytime in bays. There is concern that human activity, such as swimming with and viewing wild dolphins from vessels, is altering thei...
Article
Full-text available
Given the difficulties and costs often associated with surveying cetaceans, enlisting members of the public to collect data offers a promising alternative approach. Comparison of cetacean 'participatory science' (also known as 'citizen science') data with data collected during traditional scientific studies helps reveal the strengths and weaknesses...
Article
Full-text available
Cuvier’s beaked whales Ziphius cavirostris are wide-ranging, deep-diving cetaceans that are particularly sensitive to anthropogenic noise. Current stock assessments assume a single population in the western North Atlantic Ocean, but knowledge of the residency patterns and distribution of the species is currently lacking in the region. Here we descr...
Article
Full-text available
Animal-borne electronic instruments (tags) are valuable tools for collecting information on cetacean physiology, behaviour and ecology, and for enhancing conservation and management policies for cetacean populations. Tags allow researchers to track the movement patterns, habitat use and other aspects of the behaviour of animals that are otherwise d...
Article
Most mammals exhibit natal dispersal of one or both sexes, a behavior that likely evolved in part to reduce the chances of breeding with close relatives. When natal social group fidelity of both sexes has been documented, the risk of inbreeding is reduced by breeding among rather than within social groups. We investigated mating patterns in an enda...
Poster
Full-text available
False killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens) are long-lived, slow to mature, apex predators, and therefore susceptible to bioaccumulation of persistent organic pollutants (POPs). Hawaiian waters are home to three distinct populations/stocks: pelagic, Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI), and main Hawaiian Islands (MHI). The MHI stock comprises at lea...
Chapter
While beaked whales are the poorest-known family of cetaceans overall, the behavior and ecology of two species of beaked whales, Cuvier’s (Ziphius cavirostris) and Blainville’s (Mesoplodon densirostris), have been studied extensively for more than 15 years in multiple areas around the world. This research was largely initiated as a result of the su...
Article
Full-text available
Aim Fisheries bycatch is a major threat to populations of protected species such as marine mammals, seabirds and sea turtles, and static management approaches are often unsuccessful in mitigating bycatch of these highly mobile species. Combining species distribution models (SDMs) with oceanographic data has been proposed as a means of predicting wh...
Article
Reconstruction of the demographic and evolutionary history of populations assuming a consensus tree‐like relationship can mask more complex scenarios, which are prevalent in nature. An emerging genomic toolset, which has been most comprehensively harnessed in the reconstruction of human evolutionary history, enables molecular ecologists to elucidat...
Article
Full-text available
Genomic phylogeography plays an important role in describing evolutionary processes and their geographic, ecological, or cultural drivers. These drivers are often poorly understood in marine environments, which have fewer obvious barriers to mixing than terrestrial environments. Taxonomic uncertainty of some taxa (e.g. cetaceans), due to the diffic...
Article
Full-text available
Cuvier's beaked whales exhibit exceptionally long and deep foraging dives. The species is little studied due to their deep-water, offshore distribution and limited time spent at the surface. We used LIMPET satellite tags to study the diving behaviour of Cuvier's beaked whales off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina from 2014 to 2016. We deployed 11 tags,...
Article
Full-text available
The misidentification of species and populations is a hindrance to effective cetacean management. We devised a method of species identification using 10 fin and body measurements obtainable from at‐sea photographs, and demonstrated its ability to distinguish four species of Hawaiian “blackfish”: pygmy killer, melon‐headed, short‐finned pilot, and f...
Article
Full-text available
Mass stranding events (MSEs) of beaked whales (BWs) were extremely rare prior to the 1960s but increased markedly after the development of naval mid-frequency active sonar (MFAS). The temporal and spatial associations between atypical BW MSEs and naval exercises were first observed in the Canary Islands, Spain, in the mid-1980s. Further research on...
Preprint
Full-text available
Reconstruction of the demographic and evolutionary history of populations assuming a consensus tree-like relationship can mask more complex scenarios, which are prevalent in nature. An emerging genomic toolset, which has been most comprehensively harnessed in the reconstruction of human evolutionary history, enables molecular ecologists to elucidat...
Article
Full-text available
Until the 1990s, beaked whales were one of the least understood groups of large mammals. Information on northern bottlenose whales (Hyperoodon ampullatus) and Baird’s beaked whales (Berardius bairdii) was available from data collected during whaling, however, little information existed on the smaller species other than occasional data gleaned from...
Article
Full-text available
In many social species, acoustic dialects are used to differentiate among social groups within a local population. These acoustic dialects and their corresponding social groups are often related to distinct foraging behaviors or spatial movement patterns, and it is possible that vocal repertoire variability is one of the proximate mechanisms drivin...
Article
Short-finned pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus) depredate pelagic longlines along the shelf break of the Mid-Atlantic Bight. The mortality and serious injury of short-finned pilot whales in the U.S. pelagic longline fishery recently exceeded Potential Biological Removal levels defined under the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act, and bycatch...
Article
Full-text available
Recent exploration into the interactions and relationship between hosts and their microbiota has revealed a connection between many aspects of the host's biology, health and associated microorganisms. Whereas amplicon sequencing has traditionally been used to characterise the microbiome, the increasing number of published population genomics datase...
Article
Full-text available
Effectively using the best available data to meet management mandates for endangered populations is a common conservation challenge. False killer whales Pseudorca crassidens occur as 3 distinct populations in Hawaiian waters, including a resident main Hawaiian Islands (MHI) population that is endangered under the US Endangered Species Act. A longit...
Preprint
Full-text available
Recent exploration into the interactions and relationship between hosts and their microbiota has revealed a connection between many aspects of the host’s biology, health and associated microorganisms. Whereas amplicon sequencing has traditionally been used to characterise the microbiome, the increasing number of published population genomics datase...
Article
Full-text available
Laterally bent dorsal fins are rarely observed in free-ranging populations of cetaceans, contrary to captivity, where most killer whale Orcinus orca adult males have laterally collapsed fins. This topic has been poorly explored, and data/information on its occurrence and possible causes are limited. The present study: (i) undertakes a review of the...
Article
Full-text available
Shelf break systems are ecologically important regions of the ocean, and are often characterized by enhanced productivity and high densities of species from lower to upper trophic levels. Along with associated submarine canyons, shelf break regions provide important foraging habitat for deep-diving odontocetes such as pilot whales. Short-finned pil...
Article
Full-text available
Social structure can have a significant impact on divergence and evolution within species, especially in the marine environment, which has few environmental boundaries to dispersal. On the other hand, genetic structure can affect social structure in many species, through an individual preference toward associating with relatives. One social species...
Article
Full-text available
Cuvier’s beaked whales (Ziphius cavirostris) are distributed world-wide and are the most common cetacean to strand coincident with navy sonars. They are known for their extreme diving capabilities but diet information, fundamental to understanding foraging at depth, is limited from most regions. We report on 11,441 prey items from stomach contents...
Article
Full-text available
Foraging specialization, environmental barriers, and social structure have driven the development of strong genetic differentiation within many marine species, including most of the large dolphin species commonly referred to as 'blackfish' (subfamily Globicephalinae). We used mitochondrial sequence data (mtDNA) and genotypes from 14 nuclear microsa...
Article
Full-text available
As awareness of the effects of anthropogenic noise on marine mammals has grown, research has broadened from evaluating physiological responses, including injury and mortality, to considering effects on behavior and acoustic communication. Most mitigation efforts attempt to minimize injury by enabling animals to move away as noise levels are increas...
Article
Full-text available
Rough-toothed dolphins have a worldwide tropical and subtropical distribution, yet little is known about the population structure and social organization of this typically open-ocean species. Although it has been assumed that pelagic dolphins range widely due to the lack of apparent barriers and unpredictable prey distribution, recent evidence sugg...
Article
Full-text available
Divergence in acoustic signals used by different populations of marine mammals can be caused by a variety of environmental, hereditary, or social factors, and can indicate isolation between those populations. Two types of genetically and morphologically distinct short-finned pilot whales, called the Naisa- and Shiho-types when first described off J...
Article
Full-text available
The false killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens) is regarded as Data Deficient globally and in Australia. In most parts of its range, there is little information on its social behaviour, dispersal or ecology. The present study is the first assessment of its movement patterns in Australian waters, on the basis of satellite tracking of four individuals,...
Article
Full-text available
Author Posting. © The Author(s), 2016. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Society for Marine Mammalogy for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Marine Mammal Science 33 (2017): 653–668, doi:10.1111/mms.12376.
Article
Full-text available
Nurturant behavior toward dead conspecifics has been documented in several free-ranging marine and terrestrial mammals but still remains undocumented and poorly understood for most species. This study describes observations of adults carrying dead calves and juveniles in 7 odontocetes (toothed cetaceans) species and discusses the subject in mammals...
Article
Full-text available
This study characterizes daytime acoustic and dive behavior of pantropical spotted dolphins (Stenella attenuata) in Hawai‘i using 14.58 h of data collected from five deployments of digital acoustic recording tags (DTAG3) in 2013. For each tagged animal, the number of whistles, foraging buzzes, dive profiles, and dive statistics were calculated. Sta...
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