Vanishing Vaquitas: Lessons from a Humble Porpoise

Barbara Taylor

Thursday, 28 Sep 2017 at 7:00 pm – Great Hall, Memorial Union

Barbara Taylor, a conservation biologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Southwest Fisheries Science Center, is actively involved with recent efforts to protect the critically endangered vaquita porpoise found only in Mexico’s Upper Gulf of California. Her discussion of the vaquita’s rapid population decline will address broader themes of ocean and coastal conservation, international politics and what individuals can do to protect endangered species. Barbara Taylor leads the center’s Marine Mammal Genetics Program and researches how genetic data can be used in population analysis and conservation. Paul L. Errington Memorial Lecture.

Notice: Parking for tonight's lecture will be extremely limited, with campus lots opening to the public at 3pm for the 7pm ISU v. Texas football game. The Memorial Union lot will fill quickly. Plan accordingly.

Click here for more info on game-day parking

Barbara Taylor is an active participant in the International Union for Conservation of Nature Cetacean Specialist Group and chair the Marine Mammal Society’s Conservation Committee. Her first ten years in marine mammal research were spent studying harbor porpoise, harbor seals, bowhead whales and humpback whales, mostly in Alaska. Since receiving her PhD at the University of California, San Diego, her research has shifted from a field orientation to a quantitative approach. Research interests include population dynamics of small populations, conservation biology, demography, and population viability analysis and decision analysis. She was awarded the 2016 Edward T. LaRoe III Memorial Award.

Watch Barbara Taylor on CBS's 60 Minutes for a story on how gill net fishing has the vaquita on the brink of extinction: The Last Vaquitas (May 22, 2016)

Taylor also brings her decades of experience studying marine mammals to her artistic endeavors. Visit her art gallery at

Cosponsored By:
  • Fisheries and Wildlife Biology Club
  • NREM Graduate Student Organization
  • Committee on Lectures (funded by Student Government)

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