The Sprigg Lecture Series provides visitors with access to the latest research and thinking around scientific and cultural discoveries at a local and global level and to engage with scientific ideas that affect them and their world, now and in the future.
These free lectures commemorate the life of Dr Reg Sprigg AO, a remarkable South Australian geologist who discovered the world’s oldest fossilised animals in the Flinders Ranges in 1946, now internationally recognised as the Ediacara fossils.
Online bookings for Sprigg lectures will open one month before the event.
Dr Peter Gill
2 June 2015
Blue whales and the Bonney Upwelling
Free; bookings essential (bookings will open in 2015)
In 1998 Dr Peter Gill commenced a program of long-term ecological research into blue whales in the Bonney Upwelling off western Victoria and south-east South Australia, a previously unrecognised feeding ground for this iconic species. This work, the subject of his 2004 PhD at Deakin University in 2004, described the broad-scale links between weather, upwelling, krill and whales in the south-east Australian region. During 2002-13, Peter worked closely with Dr Margie Morrice on blue whale ecology in the region.
He will tell the story of how this unknown feeding ground was identified, the basic ecology of the upwelling system, and what is known of blue whale distribution, movements and behaviour, feeding ecology, and threats from human activities in the region.
Dr Peter Gill has been involved in whale research since 1983, studying a variety of species including humpbacks off the east and west coasts of Australia, and southern right whales at the Head of Bight, SA. During the mid-1990s he helped his colleague Dr Deborah Thiele to initiate a major program of cetacean ecological research in Australian Antarctic waters. His research expeditions in sailing vessels have taken him around Australia, to the islands of the south-west Pacific and to Antarctica, which he has visited numerous times on private expeditions, marine science voyages and as a tourist guide.
Peter is Director of the Blue Whale Study Inc., an independent research organization based in Portland, Victoria, and an Honorary Research Fellow at Deakin University, Warrnambool.