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Monterey Bay Whale Watch - Nancy Black


Nancy Black studying Killer Whales
Nancy Black studying Killer Whales

   Nancy Black collecting a mylar balloon from the ocean
  Nancy Black collecting a mylar balloon from the ocean. On whale watch trips, we always pick up these balloons when we see them on the water. Sea turtles and other marine life can confuse them for jellies.
Marine Biologist Nancy Black   
Nancy Black  

Nancy Black has a Master's of Marine Science degree from Moss Landing Marine Laboratories (focusing on Pacific White-sided Dolphin and Killer Whales). For over 25 years she has worked with cetaceans in Monterey Bay, including as the primary investigator for the Oceanic Society's whale and dolphin research program. She conducted spotted dolphin research off the Bahamas for six seasons, aerial surveys for marine mammals off California with Cascadia Research, and field research on Alaskan killer whales with the National Marine Mammal Lab for 12 seasons. Nancy has been photo-identifying Monterey Bay killer whales and studying their distribution, natural history, and behavior for 25 years.

In the late 1980's when harbor porpoise were being caught and killed in gill nets in Monterey Bay, she collected them off the beaches, documented the net markings and was instrumental in the ban of gill nets in Monterey Bay. She received a prestigious award from Moss Landing Marine Laboratories for this work.

Nancy also volunteered for many years at the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito where she assisted in the rescue and rehabilitation of marine mammals, particularly seals and sea lions. Nancy also was very involved in the rescue of Humphrey the humpback whale when he was caught in San Francisco Bay.

Nancy is an expert on the biology of marine mammals in Monterey Bay and her work on Killer Whales has been part of the BBC's Blue Planet Series, National Geographic specials, and Animal Planet segments. She has co-authored several scientific papers on whales and continues her long-term project on killer whales in Monterey Bay.

She owns a whale watching company in Monterey Bay and enjoys taking people out to show and educate them about the wildlife of Monterey Bay. She has given many lectures over the years to scientific organizations, non-profit groups, schools, museums, aquariums, and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Symposium

See list of Nancy Black's scientific publications (pdf, opens in new window). Two examples of publications that she co-authored are Use of chemical tracers in assessing the diet and foraging regions of eastern North Pacific killer whales and Harbor Porpoise Mortality in the Monterey Halibut Gillnet Fishery, 1989.

Here is a small sampling of presentations by and about Nancy Black:

  2008: Nancy Black gave a presentation about Orcas in a Changing World at the ACS Conference in November in Monterey.

  2007: Nancy Black gave a presentation about Killer Whales: Their behavior and ecology in California Waters at the ACS Monterey Bay Chapter meeting in May.

  2006: Blue Planet - Seas of Life   TV special was shown on Animal Planet. Monterey Bay Whale Watch is featured in Episode 1 - Ocean World, and in Episode 9 - The Making of the Blue Planet.

  2006: Discovery Channel's Animal Planet featured Monterey Bay Whale Watch in the television show Caught in the Moment, Episode Seven: Monterey Bay. For details see Caught in the Moment on the Animal Planet website.

  2006: The Gray Whale Obstacle Course   PBS Special originally aired on July 19, and August 16, 2006. Part of a series of Jean-Michel Cousteau's Ocean Adventures, this special traces the Gray Whale migration from Alaska to Baja California and back. In Monterey Bay Jean-Michel and his team are joined by killer whale expert and biologist Nancy Black. Local scenes include killer whales attacking a gray whale mother and calf.

  2005: On August 2 Nancy Black gave a presentation onentitled Orcas: Behavior and Ecology of Killer Whales at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, CA.

2005: A story about Monterey Bay Whale Watch, Nancy Black, and Killer Whales was featured on the CBS Evening News on May 25.

  2005: Nancy Black and Monterey Bay Whale Watch were featured on the May 11 Today Show on NBC.

  2004: The BBC film "Killer Whale: Killer Culture" was featured on the Discovery Channel on Sept. 14, 15 and 21. Nancy Black and Richard Ternullo of Monterey Bay Whale Watch were scientific consultants on the film project for parts filmed in Monterey Bay as well as in Alaska.

  2004: Lecture by Nancy Black, "Behavior and Ecology of Killer Whales In Monterey Bay", at Long Marine Lab , UCSC on March 16.

2004: Lecture by Nancy Black, "California Killer Whales: Their Ecology and Chemical Contaminants in an Apex Predator", at the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Symposium on March 6. For more about the symposium see the MBNMS website.


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Last updated April 23, 2013