A tribute to Laurie D. Murison, 1959–2021

Bob Evans (left) and Laurie Murison at the Balaena Lookout observation post, overlooking Isabella Bay, Baffin Island in 1986. That year the observation period lasted 5 September to 9 October. Close-up photos of individual whales were also obtained from shore and from kayaks. When weather permitted, as many as 34 Bowhead Whale (Balaena mysticetus) were seen daily that year. Photo: K.J. Finley.

The late Laurie Murison was Executive Director of the Grand Manan Whale and Seabird Research Station and a great friend of the NBM.

It was with Laurie’s support that the skeleton of Delilah the North Atlantic Right Whale was collected for the Museum.

When Delilah – a first-time mother with a dependent calf – died by ship-strike off Grand Manan, Laurie provided a base of operations for stranding network volunteers, whale researchers and wildlife pathologists on Grand Manan to necropsy Delilah and salvage her skeleton.

Delilah’s articulated skeleton, accompanied by a life-size fiberglass model, was unveiled in NBM’s marine mammal gallery in 1996; the display would become an iconic exhibit for the Museum and a symbol for the plight of the species.

Today, you can see the Delilah model at the Huntsman Marine Science Centre in Saint Andrews.

In a newly published tribute, NBM Curator of Zoology Dr. Donald McAlpine and Mary Joan Edwards, Executive Director of the Grand Manan Museum extol Laurie’s many contributions to marine conservation in the Bay of Fundy.

Read the full tribute here.