Studying killer whales in the wild is expensive work. Transportation, equipment costs, boat maintenance and fuel are just some of the many daily costs faced by researchers in the field. By taking out a membership in the BC Wild Killer Whale Adoption Program, you’ll help defray these costs and become a key partner in the killer whale research effort.

Visiting Scientist

In 2007 the Vancouver Aquarium, with support from the Wild Killer Whale Adoption Program, created a “visiting scientist” position to allow researchers on study leave from their parent institutions to join the team in the Aquarium’s Cetacean Research Lab. This new program provides a unique opportunity for researchers to expand their contacts and collaborate with other Canadian researchers. 

This position is ideal for an established cetacean researcher on study leave from his or her institution wanting focused time for analysis and writing, needing a base while conducting field-based research in the region, or wishing to conduct studies at the Aquarium. The unpaid position is generally 6-12 months long.  The Wild Killer Whale Adoption Program provides funding for travel and some supplies and accommodation assistance for Visiting Scientists.


Past Visiting Researchers


Renowned Russian researcher Dr. Olga Filatova from the University of Moscow joined us from November 2008 to March 2009.  Filatova studies the dialects and vocal behavior of resident and transient type killer whales in Kamchatka, Russia.  Interestingly, she and her colleagues discovered that the resident killer whales in Kamchatka bear many similarities to residents of BC and Alaska coasts.  Filatova collaborated with Canadian researchers to learn more about the similarities and differences between the populations of killer whales on both sides of the North Pacific.




Robert Michaud, founding director of the Quebec-based Group for Research and Education on Marine Mammals (GREMM), joined the team for 10 months in 2007/2008.  Michaud has been studying the beluga whale population in the St. Lawrence River for 25 years.  He joined the Aquarium team to spend time analyzing demographic data collected from his study site in Quebec and collaborate with Dr. Lance Barret-Lennard and PhD candidate Valeria Vergara on beluga acoustics.