The Orca Behavior Institute (OBI) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization started by Michael Weiss and Monika Wieland Shields in March 2015. Our mission is to conduct non-invasive behavioral and acoustic research on the Southern Resident Killer Whales.
Monika has been researching orcas as citizen scientist for fifteen years, helping collect data for The Whale Museum’s Sea Sound Project, completing her undergraduate thesis at Reed College on killer whale acoustics, publishing a paper in Marine Mammal Science, and reporting changing whale behavioral trends on her blog, Orca Watcher. Michael started working with the Southern Residents in 2013, and presented his first research project at an American Cetacean Society conference in November 2014.
In 2014 we invested in a boat and a hydrophone, and for our first official field season in 2015 we collected data for Michael’s undergraduate thesis at Reed College and also began data collection for several longer term projects. All data collection is considered non-invasive, occurring either from shore (about 75% of the time) or by boat in accordance with all whale watch regulations and guidelines in Washington State. We adhere to the federal regulations established in 2011, as well as the additional voluntary “Be Whale Wise” guidelines followed by the Pacific Whale Watch Association. If you have any questions or concerns about how we operate on the water, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
You can support our research efforts by donating via the link below