Community News November 2021

UBC researchers find a little-known type of killer whale

A group of University of British Columbia researchers led by MSc student Josh McInnes recently discovered a little-known type of orca that preys on grey whale calves and other large sea mammals, including sharks. These “outer coast transient whales” rarely travel to the coast.

"These whales prefer deep water. So, they were found offshore near canyon systems, which are very productive areas where there is a lot of nutrient upwelling, and it attracts other marine life," said Josh.

The study is a collaboration between UBC and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Josh is currently an MSc candidate in the Oceans and Fisheries program. His thesis topic is "Ascertaining the Community and Sub-Population Structure of West Coast Transient (Bigg’s) Killer Whales in the Northeastern Pacific." 

Read more about this study.

Preparing for the Big One

Last month UBC’s Earthquake Engineering Research Facility (EERF) opened to the public for International ShakeOut Day.

EERF is a unique and purpose-built lab where internationally renowned UBC researchers study the behavior of structures during earthquakes using specially designed, digitally operated and hydraulic powered “shake tables” that precisely replicate forces experienced during seismic events.

Principal investigator and director of EERF Dr. Carlos Ventura is one of the world’s leading authorities on seismic research and regularly advocates for good earthquake preparedness.  

“Earthquake preparedness is a continuous learning process — the more we learn about earthquakes and their consequences, the better we can be prepared to minimize their effects," said Ventura.

Read more and watch the lab in action.

Is grad school right for you?

Deciding on whether grad school is right for you is a big decision. Especially if you are getting close to finishing your bachelor’s degree, you may be grappling with this decision and considering a variety of study and career options.

UBC alumnus Ryan Patrick Jones provides some helpful advice and lays out some of the key considerations in his recent blog for UBC life. This 4-minute read provides a great overview of what to think about if you're considering graduate school.