Conservation

The Sei Whale – November 2020

Whalecome to our new whale of the month, the sei whale, Balaenoptera borealis! This mysterious baleen whale is the third largest of the rorqual family. It is also an endangered species that was hunted to near extinction and is now slowly recovering. Here are a couple of cool facts about the sei whale. Sonic whale …

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Fighting the good fight: survival in male Weddell seals

Earth is now in its 6th mass extinction. As a result, we must race against time to conserve species. A useful conservation tool is modeling population size. In this post, we cover Weddell seals‘ survival in Antarctica and show that fighting decreases the long-term survival rate of adult males. Population parameters Changes in population size occur …

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Whale Scientists Story: Jeroen Hoekendijk

Jeroen Hoekendijk

Jeroen Hoekendijk is a 33 years-old Dutch marine mammalogist currently working on his PhD on marine wildlife detection using aerial and satellite imagery. Here is his story. It all started with an orca encounter in Canada I’ve always been fascinated by the sea, the oceans, and everything inside it, but I never considered making a …

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Acoustic monitoring of the critically endangered vaquita

What species are out there in the big blue ocean? How many individuals are there? These are some of the biggest questions scientists face when studying populations. Specifically, when a particular species is in danger of becoming extinct. In marine science, visual tracking alone is not always practical. Our first post on the vaquita was …

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Russian ship played classical music to rescue entrapped belugas

The Moskva was the largest and most powerful non-nuclear icebreaker at her time of delivery. She got some international attention in 1985 when she herded around 2000 ice-entrapped belugas back to the open sea … by playing classical music. Yes, you read that right! What is an icebreaker? An icebreaker is a class of ships …

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Vaquita, the most endangered cetacean in the world

Vaquita porpoises have puzzled scientists since their discovery in 1958. Regrettably, their populations have gotten much smaller over time due to illegal fishing practices. In this post, we highlight that while these “little cows” may be difficult to protect, we should try everything we can to save them.  The Mysterious Nature of the Vaquita Vaquita …

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Massive graveyard in Tasmania: Why do whales beach themselves?

Bad news in Tasmania The world just woke up to the terrible news: at least 470 pilot whales beached themselves in Tasmania and around 400 are dead. First, a pod of 270 individuals stranded together on Tuesday. They were soon followed by 200 other individuals on Wednesday. This is the biggest stranding event in Tasmania …

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What can whales tell us about pollution in Antarctica?

Humpback whale

We found long-banned pesticides and industrial pollutants in the blubber of humpback whales from Antarctica, suggesting these contaminants accumulate in Antarctic food webs. The pollution levels however were the some of the lowest measured in the world for these whales. Good news for the whales! Our study on humpback whales from Antarctica just got published …

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The Irrawaddy dolphin – September 2020

Irrawaddy dolphin

This little (2m – 2.8m / 6-9 feet) dolphin looks like a baby beluga whale. Irrawaddy dolphins (Orcaella brevirostris) have a super cute and expressive face. In this post, we list a couple of interesting facts about these shy and endangered dolphins. 1 — Small geographical range Irrawaddy dolphins live in coastal areas in South …

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Protecting the Canary Islands’ sea and its sperm whales

This post talks about the future of sperm whales and other deep-divers in the Canary Islands. Sperm whales are such amazing animals. These whales are the world’s largest toothed whales, living up to 70 years. These giant whales are quite similar to submarine: they can deep-dive while holding their breath for about 45 minutes below …

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