Research Publications at SeaWorld

Below are some of the research studies authored by SeaWorld. These studies on killer whales showcase SeaWorld's larger commitment to animal welfare and conservation. Our parks provide a unique opportunity for SeaWorld and affiliated scientists and researchers to examine killer whales up close to better understand these animals. These studies complement and strengthen research efforts in the field. Additionally, our professional team utilize their skills to support field research.

Asper, E. D. and Cornell, L.H.: Live capture statistics for the killer whale (Orcinus orca) 1961-1976 in California, Washington and British Columbia. Aquatic Mammals. 1977;5(1):21-26.

Asper, E. D., Young, W.G., and Walsh, M.T.:  Observations on the birth and development of a captive-born killer whale (Orcinus orca). International Zoo Yearbook.  1988;27:295-304.

Awbrey, F.T., Thomas, J.A., Evans, W.E., Leatherwood, S.:  Ross Sea killer whale vocalizations:  preliminary description and comparison with those of some Northern Hemisphere killer whales. SC/Jn81/KW7.  32nd Report International Whaling Commission. 1982;32:667-670.

Begeman, L., St. Leger, J.A., Blyde, D.J., Jauniaux, T.P., Lair, S., Lovewell, G., Raverty S., Seibel H., Siebert U., Staggs, S.L., Martelli P. and Keesler, R.I. Intestinal volvulus in cetaceans. Veterinary Pathology. 2012; 50(4): 590-596.

Benirschke, K., and Cornell, L.H.:  The placenta of the killer whale, Orcinus orca.  Marine Mammal Science. 1987; 3(1):82-86.

Bowles, A.E., Young, W.G.., and Asper, E.D.:   Ontogeny of stereotyped calling of a killer whale calf (Orcinus orca) during her first year.    Rit Fiskideildar  1988;11:251-275.

Buck, C., Paulino, G.P., Medina, D.J., Hsiung, G.D., Campbell, T.W., and Walsh, M.T.:  Isolation of St. Louis encephalitis virus from a killer whale. Clinical Diagnostic Virology.  1993; 1:109-112.

Clark, S.T., and Odell, D.K.:  Allometric relationships and sexual dimorphism in captive killer whales (Orcinus orca).  Journal of Mammalogy.  1999;80(3):777-785.

Clark, S.T., and Odell, D.K.:  Nursing parameters in captive killer whales (Orcinus orca).  Zoo Biology. 1999;18:5:373-384.

Clark, S.T., Odell, D.K., and Lacinak, C.T.:  Aspects of growth in captive killer whales (Orcinus orca).  Marine Mammal Science. 2000; 16(1):110-123.

Colegrove, K.M., St. Leger, J.A., Raverty, S., Jang, S., Berman-Kowalewski, M., and Gaydos, J.K.: Salmonella newport omphaloarteritis in a stranded killer whale (Orcinus orca) neonate. Journal of Wildlife Diseases. 2010; 46(4):1300-1304.

Cornell, L.H:  Hematology and clinical chemistry values in the killer whale, Orcinus orca.  Journal of Wildlife Diseases. 1983;19(3):259-264.

Dahlheim, M.E., Leatherwood, S., and Perrin, W.F.:  Distribution of killer whales in the warm temperate and tropical Eastern Pacific. SC/Jn81/KW3. 32nd Report International Whaling Commission. 1982;32:647-653.

Duffield, D.A.:   Orcinus orca:  taxonomy, evolution, cytogenetics and population structure.  Behavioral Biology of  Killer Whales. 1986;19-33.

Duffield, D.A., and Miller, K.W.:  Demographic features of killer whales in oceanaria in the United States and Canada, 1965-1987.  Rit Fiskideilder. 1988;11:297-306.

Duffield, D.A., Odell, D.K., McBain, J.F., and Andrews, B.:   Killer whale (Orcinus orca) reproduction at Sea World.   Zoo Biology. 1995;14:417-430.

Evans, W.E., Yablokov, A.V., and Bowles, A.E.:  Geographic variation in the color pattern of killer whales (Orcinus orca). SC/Jn81/KW11.  32nd Report International Whaling Commission.  1982;32:687-694.

Funke, C., King, D.P., McBain, J.F., Adelung, D., and Stott, J.L.: Expression and functional characterization of killer whale (Orcinus orca) interleukin-6 (IL-6) and development of a competitive immunoassay.  Vet Immunology and Immunopathology.  2003; 93(1-2):69-79.

Goldsberry, D. G., Asper, E.D., and Cornell, L.H.: Live capture technique for the killer whale (Orcinus orca). Aquatic Mammals. 1978;6(3):91-95.

Griner, L.A.: Cardiac candidiasis in a captive killer whale. Verh. ber. Erkrg. Zootiere. 1992: 34: 159-161.

Hall, J.D., Rainer, M., Reed, G., and Roberts, J.:  Increasing flexibility in photographic techniques for identifying killer whales. Cetology. 1987; 53:1-7.

Hall, J.D. and Cornell, L.H.:  Killer whales, (Orcinus orca) of Prince William Sound, Alaska results of 1985 field research. SC38/SM2. Presented to the Scientific Committee, International Whaling Commission. 1986. 

Hoffman, L., Knofczynski, G, and Clark, S.:   Estimation of parameters in the joinpoint two-regime regression model. Communications in Statistics - Simulation and Computation. 2010; 39(8): 1562-1576.

Jehl, Jr., J.R., Evans, W.E., Awbrey, F.T., and Drieschmann, W.S.:  Distribution and geographic variation in the killer whale (Orcinus orca) populations of the Antarctic and adjacent waters. Antarctic Journal. U.S.  1980; 15:161-163.

Kastelein, R.A.,Walton, S., Odell, D., Nieuwstraten, S.H., and Wiepkema, P.R.:   Food consumption of a captive female killer whale (Orcinus orca). Aquatic Mammals. 2000; 26(2):127-131.

LaMere, S.A., St. Leger, J.A., Schrenzel, M.D., Anthony, S.J., Rideout, B.A., and Salomon, D.R.:  Molecular characterization of a novel gammaretrovirus in killer whales (Orcinus orca). Journal of Virology. 2009;83(24):12956-12967.

Leatherwood, S., Matkin, C.O., Hall, J.D. and Ellis, G.M.: Killer whales (Orcinus orca) photo-identified in Prince William Sound, Alaska, 1976 through 1987.  The Canadian Field-Naturalist. 1990; 104(3):362-371

Leatherwood, S., Balcomb, K.C.,  Matkin, C.O., and Ellis, G.:  Killer whales, (Orcinus orca) of Southern Alaska. Results of field research 1984 preliminary report.  Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute Technical Report. 1984; No. 84-175:1-59.

Leatherwood, S.,  Bowles, A.E., Krygier, E., Hall, J.D., and Ignell, S.: Killer whales (Orcinus orca) in Southeast Alaska, Prince William Sound, and Shelikof Strait; a review of available information.   SC/35/SM 7.  34th Report International Whaling Commission.  1984;34:521-530.

Lyrholm, T., Leatherwood, S., and Sigurjónsson, J.:   Photoidentification of killer whales (Orcinus orca) off Iceland, October 1985. Cetology. 1987; 52:1-13.

Miller, D.L., Styer, E.L., Decker S.J., and Robeck, T.: Ultrastructure of the spermatozoa from three odontocetes, a killer whale (Orcinus orca), a Pacific white-sided dolphin (Lagenorhynchus obliquidens) and a beluga (Delphinapterus leucas).  Anatomia Histologia Embryologia. 2002;31:158-168.

Moore, S.E., Francine, J.K, Bowles, A.E., and Ford, J.K.B.:  Analysis of calls of killer whales (Orcinus orca) from Iceland and Norway. Rit Fiskideildar. 1988;11:225-250.

Myrick, A.C., Yochem,  P.K., and Cornell, L.H.:  Toward calibrating dentinal layers in captive killer whales by use of tetracycline labels.  Rit Fiskideildar. 1988;11:285-296.

Patterson, W. R., Dalton, L.M., McGlasson, D.L., and Cissik, J.H.: Aggregation of killer whale platelets. Thrombosis Research. 1993;70:225-231.

Patterson, W. R., Dalton, L.M., and McGlasson, D.L.:  A comparison of human and killer whale platelet fatty acid composition.  Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology B. 1998;120(2):247-252.

Robeck, T. R. and Dalton, L.M.: Saksenaea vasiformis and apophysomyces elegans zygomycotic infections in bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), a killer whale (Orcinus orca), and Pacific white-sided dolphins (Lagenorhynchus obliquidens). Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine. 2002;33(4):356-366.

Robeck, T.R., Gearhart, S.A., Steinman, K.J., Katsumata, E., Loureiro, J.D., O’Brien, J.K.:   In vitro sperm characterization and development of a sperm cryopreservation method using directional solidification in the killer whale (Orcinus orca).  Theriogenology.  2011;76:267-279.  

Robeck, T.R., and Monfort, S.L.:  Characterization of male killer whale (Orcinus orca) sexual maturation and reproductive seasonality. Theriogenology.  2006; 66(2):242-250.

Robeck, T. R., and Nollens, H.:  Hematological and serum biochemical analytes reflect physiological challenges during gestation and lactation in killer whales (Orcinus orca). Zoo Biology. 2013;32(5):497-509.

Robeck, T. R., Schneyer, A.L., McBain, J.F., Dalton, L.M., Walsh, M.T., Czekala, N.M., and Kraemer, D.C.:  Analysis of urinary immunoreactive steroid metabolites and gonadotropins for characterization of the estrous cycle, breeding period, and seasonal estrous activity of captive killer whales (Orcinus orca).  Zoo Biology. 1993;12:173-187.

Robeck, T.R., Steinman, K.J., Gearhart, S., Reidarson, T.R., McBain, J.F. and Monfort, S.L.,: Reproductive physiology and development of artificial insemination technology in killer whales (Orcinus orca).  Biology of Reproduction. 2004;71: 650-660.

Sigurjónsson, J., and Leatherwood, S.:  The Icelandic live-capture fishery for killer whales, 1976 – 1988.   Rit Fiskideilder.  1988;11:307-316.

Sigurjónsson. J , Lyrholm, J., Leatherwood, S., Jónsson, E., and Víkingsson, G.:  Photoidentification of killer whales, (Orcinus orca) off Iceland, 1981 through 1986.  Rit Fiskideildar. 1988;11:99-114.

Stevens, T. A., Duffield, D.A., Asper, E.D., Hewlett, K.G., Bolz, A., Gage, L.J., and Bossart, G.D.:   Preliminary findings of restriction fragment differences in mitochondrial DNA among killer whales (Orcinus orca). Canadian Journal Zoology.  1989;67:2592-2595.

St. Leger, J., Wu, G., Anderson, M., Dalton, L., Nilson, E., Wang, D.: West Nile Virus infection in killer whale, Texas, USA, 2007. Emerging Infectious Diseases 2011;17(8):1531-1533.

St. Leger, J.A., Begeman, L., Fleetwood, M., Frasca Jr., S., Garner, M.M., Lair, S., Trembley, S., Linn, M.J., and Terio, K.A..: Comparative pathology of nocardiosis in marine mammals. Veterinary Pathology. 2009;46:299-308.

Walker, L. A., Cornell, L., Dahl, K.D., Czekala, N.M., Dargen, C.M., Joseph, B., Hsueh, A. J. and Lasley, B.L.:  Urinary concentrations of ovarian steroid hormone metabolites and bioactive FSH in killer whales (Orcinus orca) during ovarian cycles and pregnancy.  Biology of Reproduction. 1988;39(5):1013-1020.

Williams, R., Krkosek, M., Ashe, E., Branch, T.A., Clark, S.,  Hammond, P.S., Hoyt E., Noren, D.P.,  Rosen, D., and Winship, A.: Competing conservation objectives for predators and prey: estimating killer whale prey requirements for Chinook salmon. 2011. PLoS ONE 6(11): e26738.