Blue whale research – tagging nature’s giants

Research carried out by Oregon State University has made some extraordinary strides in blue whale conservation, and the 15 year work carried out by their Marine Mammal Institute is beginning to change the way we use our oceans.

Beginning in 1993, 171 blue whales were tagged with transmitters that were monitored via satellite and their movements were tracked by the research team. It was found that the blue whales off the California coast (a quarter of the worldwide blue whale population) shared their feeding grounds with busy shipping lanes, making them vulnerable to ship strike.

Restricting the use or even moving the shipping lanes is now under consideration in the USA, and the NOAA are beginning a review after this new information has come to light, and as we learn more, we can do more to help our whales.

 

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Image from www.flickr.com/photos/oregonstateuniversity