Here are some of the terms to know about orcas, or killer whales, and their habitat.
Orca: The largest member of the dolphin family, with distinct populations in every ocean of the world. Also known as a killer whale.
Ecotype or subspecies: Any of the socially and genetically distinct types of orcas, defined by diet, calls and social organization. In the North Pacific, the three ecotypes are resident, transient and offshore.
Population or community: The resident orca ecotype is divided into northern and southern populations — extended families of several pods. While they do overlap in geographic range, share the same diet and have similar cultures, the two populations do not interact or interbreed. The southern-resident population consists of the J, K and L pods.
Pod: A group of several related matrilines that spend time together and share a unique dialect.
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Matriline: The oldest female in a family and her offspring.
Culture: Learned habits by which orcas create and maintain their societies, including rules passed down between generations as to diet, dialect, socialization and breeding.
Salmon run: A genetic strain of salmon unique to a place.
Chinook: The largest salmon in the Salish Sea, also called king salmon.
Salish Sea: The Salish Sea is the name officially designated in 2009 for the Canadian-U. S. trans-boundary waters of the Strait of Georgia, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands.
Puget Sound: There are many definitions for this geographic designation. The Washington State Legislature’s is the most comprehensive, defining Puget Sound as the inland salt waters of the state of Washington inside the international boundary line between Washington and British Columbia, and lying east of the junction of the Pacific Ocean and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, plus all the rivers and streams draining to these waters. The definition is intended to emphasize the interconnection between the freshwater and the saltwater ecosystems and the animals that migrate between them, including salmon.