Friday, March 25, 2011
Whales We Never Noticed, New Whales, or The Lost Whales of the Aleutians
We have been talking about it off and on, but a recent article in the New York Times reported on HIMB's Marc Lammers and Whitlau Au's work with the EARs (Ecological Acoustic Recorders)in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (part of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument). By placing these listening devices that they have developed in the remote northern islands, they have been able to listen to what is happening all winter long - times that we just do not know much about due to rough weather and lack of observers.
One interesting item that they have discovered is that the islands are being used as wintering grounds by a group of humpback whales. So, where do these whales come from? Are they from the same stock that summer in Alaska and winter in the Main Hawaiian Islands, or are they from a group of whales recently noted to be genetically distinct that that summer in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands? More study to be done - stay tuned!
For the NY Times article, see: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/15/science/15obwhale.html?_r=2&src=twrhp
For the full article in the Marine Ecology Progress Series, see: http://www.int-res.com/articles/meps_oa/m423p261.pdf