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Examining Blue and Humpback Whale Behavior

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Date: February 3, 2011
Contact: Yvonne Menard, 805-658-5725

Research biologist John Calambokidis will discuss his work examining threats to whales in southern California and share information regarding populations of blue and humpback whales in the North Pacific Ocean at the March "From Shore to Sea" lecture.

Calambokidis will discuss SOCAL-10 (Southern California 2010), an interdisciplinary collaboration of biologists and acousticians who examined the basic biology, feeding behavior, and responses to human activity on large whales and several smaller cetaceans. The behavioral survey examined the reaction of whales to sonar and other threats. The survey identified behavior of blue whales in the Santa Barbara Channel shipping lanes and strategies for avoiding ship strikes. Blue whales, an endangered species with an estimated population of 2,000 animals, are found in higher concentrations off California than in any other location in the world.

Additionally, Calambokidis will outline the population trends and statistics of humpback and blue whales based on long-term studies in the North Pacific Ocean using photo-identification data. As a principal investigator for an international humpback whale research project known as SPLASH (Structure of Populations, Levels of Abundance, and Status of Humpbacks) Calambokidis has worked with over 400 scientists from ten countries.

Calambokidis, co-founder of Cascadia Research, has served as the principal investigator of more than 50 research studies on marine mammals, marine birds, and pollution. He has authored two books and coauthored over 60 papers in scientific journals. Calambokidis is an adjunct faculty member of The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington.

The "From Shore to Sea" lecture series is sponsored by Channel Islands National Park with support from Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. The purpose of the series is to further the understanding of current research on the Channel Islands and surrounding waters. The lectures occur at 7:00 p.m. on the second Wednesday of March, April, May, September, October, and November at the Channel Islands National Park Robert J. Lagomarsino Visitor Center, 1901 Spinnaker Drive in the Ventura Harbor. The programs are free and open to the public.

Did You Know?

Brown pelican on nest

The Channel Islands are home to the largest breeding colonies of seabirds in southern California.