Dr Elanor Bell: BSc (Hons), PhD
I am a microbial ecologist by training but have turned my hand from studying whale food to the whales themselves. I started work at the Australian Antarctic Division in early 2012, and combine my passions for conservation and the polar marine environment with experience of coordinating multi-national research projects in my role managing the IWC’s Southern Ocean Research Partnership. IWC-SORP is an international consortium of over 100 scientists from 13 different nations that all believe whales do not need to be killed to study them. We are working together to develop new leading-edge techniques that will enhance our research, and to collect data that are important for the management and conservation of whales. These data are contributed to international fora such as the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).
I have spent a great deal of time in Antarctica working both at sea and on the continent, including two winters spent at Davis research station. My research has ranged from studying tiny viruses and bacteria to working with the largest animal on the planet, the Antarctic blue whale. Whale research at the Australian Antarctic Division is excitingly multidisciplinary. For example, we study predator-prey interactions in order to determine whether krill swarm shape affects whale distribution and behaviour in the Southern Ocean. We also aim to determine whether the whales themselves fertilise their local environment with their poo, stimulating the growth of algae, which are food for the krill, which in turn become food for the whales.
- #4600: Conservation and management of Australian and Antarctic whales — post-exploitation status, distribution, foraging ecology and their role in the Southern Ocean ecosystem
- #4101: Antarctic baleen whale habitat utilisation and linkages to environmental characteristics
- #4102: Population abundance, trend, structure and distribution of the endangered Antarctic blue whale