Balcomb, Kenneth C., 1940-

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Biographical History

Kenneth C. Balcomb graduated from the University of California in 1963 with a Bachelor’s degree in zoology and a special interest in cetaceans. He later earned his PhD in marine biology from University of California, Santa Cruz. Balcomb worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a field biologist in a whale-marking (Discovery tag) program in the eastern North Pacific Ocean and later as a biological technician at the Richmond, California whaling stations, collecting data and specimen materials from harvested whales for the National Marine Mammal Laboratory in Seattle. In 1966, Balcomb worked as a field biologist for the Pacific Ocean Biological Survey Program of the U.S. National Museum, banding and studying seabirds in the central North Pacific. From 1967 to 1972, during the Vietnam era, he worked as an aviator and oceanographic specialist as an officer in the U.S. Navy. As Operations officer, he tracked whales with the Sound Surveillance System (SOSUS), and made several important contributions to the Navy concerning developing an integrated sound surveillance system. He later worked for the U.S. Navy as an instructor in military oceanography and acoustics in Japan, where he visited all of the operating whaling stations on Honshu and Hokkaido, and did a comprehensive study of Baird’s beaked whales for his thesis (published 1989). In 1978, Balcomb worked with the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service on surveys and harvest monitoring for bowhead whales in the Bering, Beaufort, and Chuckchi Sea. In 1982 and 1983, he conducted whale surveys for the Government of Denmark along the west coast of Greenland; and, in 1985-1986 he went to the Antarctic on one of many International Decade of Cetacean Research (IDCR) whale research cruises conducted under the auspices of the International Whaling Commission. Balcomb founded the Center for Whale Research in Friday Harbor, Washington, in 1985 and serves as its senior scientist and Executive Director. In addition to continuing his long-term photo-identification study of killer whales (Orca Survey) in the Pacific Northwest, Balcomb co-founded the Bahamas Marine Mammal Survey to benignly study whales and dolphins in the Bahamas archipelago employing photoidentification method in 1990. He has authored or co-authored more than thirty published research papers and five books on whale research.

Source

www.ieee-seattle.org/embs/files/Balcomb.Ken_bio.pdf

Related entities

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service : Balcomb worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a field biologist.
  • Center for Whale Research: Balcomb founded the Center for Whale Research in Friday Harbor, Washington, in 1985 and serves as its senior scientist and Executive Director.

Birth Date

1940

Topic

  • Biologists
  • Marine biologists

Form/Genre

Personal name

Occupation

  • Marine biologists
  • Biologists