Video: Erin Ashe on Dolphins of the Pacific Northwest


Pacific White-Sided Dolphins, also known as “Lags,” a shortened form of their scientific name Lagenorhynchus obliquidens, are offshore schooling dolphins that are becoming more common in the Salish Sea. They’re fast, they jump and leap from the water, and like most cetaceans, they have amazingly large brains. Watch the video learn more about these fascinating animals and the cutting-edge research that is helping us better understanding their population dynamics.

Erin Ashe, a Ph.D student at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, has had a SeaDoc-funded project to study Lags in the Salish Sea and the Broughton Archipelago for the past several years. Like killer whales, Pacific White-Sided Dolphins can be individually identified and she has developed a photo-identification database to track individuals and study their movements, life history, and population status.

Although not seen in these numbers in the Salish Sea, in some areas Pacific White-Sided Dolphins can congregate in groups as large as 1,000 animals. They enjoy bow-riding the wakes of boats, and even will ride the wakes of large whales. They can even been seen swimming with or harassing fish-eating Northern and Southern resident killer whales, even though transient killer whales prey upon them (for a video of this see:

The 2012/13 Marine Science Lecture Series was presented by The SeaDoc Society and YMCA Camp Orkila. It was been made possible through generous sponsorship by Tom Averna (Deer Harbor Charters), Barbara Bentley and Glenn Prestwich, Barbara Brown, Audrey and Dean Stupke and West Sound Marina.