We engage in research!

Science leads to new knowledge, and that in turn leads to conservation solutions. In addition to supporting research activities by many of our conservation partners, we work with a number of research partners in the region by collecting samples and wildlife and oceanographic data for them from our vessels. For our guests, seeing marine research in action is all part of the enhanced on-board experience!

Join us on one of our tours to learn more about our research initiatives and watch us in action! Give us a call or book online!

Naturalist Karac collects krill samples from a humpback feeding encounter.

What sort of research?

HUMPBACK FOOD

By the early 1900s, commercial whaling had eliminated all humpback whales from the Salish Sea. A century later, they’re making a dramatic comeback. What is the Salish Sea restaurant providing for these giants?

Since 2019, Eagle Wing has been working with PhD candidate Rhonda Reidy as she studies the feeding ecology of this recovering population. Equipped with dip nets, sample bags and observation cards, our naturalists are on the lookout for humpback whale poop! Reidy uses DNA sequencing techniques to reveal what fish and krill species are on the humpback menu!

FORAGE FISH ABUNDANCE

Known as “the big little fish,” herring are a cornerstone of marine biodiversity on the BC coast. They’re food for everything from salmon to seabirds to bears and mighty humpback whales.

Since fall 2019, Eagle Wing has been working with World Fisheries Trust (WFT) on forage fish abundance and distribution in the waters around Victoria. On tours, we look for bait balls—swirling schools of forage fish that are being gobbled up by a frenzy of seabirds. Using dip nets and underwater cameras, our naturalists scoop up fish scales and take images, while documenting bait ball location.

PORPOISE DISTRIBUTION

The Salish Sea is home to two types of porpoise. There are shy harbour porpoises. And occasionally we’ll have a lively encounter with more extroverted Dall’s porpoises. But some porpoise populations are in decline. How abundant are they in the Salish Sea? What areas are important to them? Since 2020, Eagle Wing has been helping Sea View Marine Sciences researcher Anna Hall collect data to answer these and other questions. Our naturalists document each porpoise encounter—helping Hall learn more about what these enigmatic marine mammals need to survive and thrive!

WHALE SIGHTINGS DATA

We know that the Salish Sea is a popular place for whales. But what species are seen and when? Which individuals do we encounter? What places are important to them? Long-term data will reveal patterns that will help inform whale conservation measures. As a member of the Pacific Whale Watch Association (PWWA) we use a private cell phone app to log daily sightings data in real time. We also routinely take ID photos and document details of whale sightings. The data is shared with scientists, government agencies and other observation networks.

WATER SAMPLING

Stay tuned, information coming soon!

What our research partners are saying about us…

Eagle Wing has not only supported our work with a significant donation, but has also contributed exceptionally to our programs through collaboration with their talented research and education teams.

Thomas Cinnamon, World Fisheries Trust

My PhD study was very field-intensive, and Eagle Wing made it possible. I benefited tremendously from their support, insight and encouragement. Thanks so much to their team for sharing their passion for ocean science and conservation.

Rhonda Reidy, PhD candidate, University of Victoria