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New Insights into Blue and Humpback Whales off Southern California

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Date: May 7, 2009
Contact: Yvonne Menard, 805-658-5725

Research biologist, John Calambokidis, will discuss his work tracking the movements and estimating the populations of blue and humpback whales in the North Pacific at the May “From Shore to Sea” lecture. 

Calambokidis will unveil recent findings on the behavior of blue whales in the Santa Barbara Channel shipping lanes and strategies for avoiding ship strikes. His lecture will include stunning footage of blue whales obtained while filming a National Geographic special that aired in March. 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, in his presentation, Calambokidis will chart the abundance of humpback whales in the entire North Pacific Ocean using photo-identification data. He is a principal investigator for an international humpback whale research project known as SPLASH (Structure of Populations, Levels of Abundance and Status of Humpbacks) and works with over 400 scientists from 10 countries.

Calambokidis, co-founder of Cascadia Research, served as the principal investigator of more than 50 research studies on marine mammals, marine birds, and pollution. He has co-authored over 60 papers in scientific journals and two books: the award-winning A Guide to Marine Mammals of Greater Puget Sound and Blue Whales. Calambokidis, is an adjunct faculty member of The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. 

The “From Shore to Sea” lecture series is jointly sponsored by Channel Islands National Park and Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary with generous support from Santa Barbara Maritime Museum. 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 Tuesday, May 12, 2009, at Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, 113 Harbor Way in the Santa Barbara Harbor and Wednesday, May 13, 2009, 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?

Island fox                                                  timhaufphotography.com

Island foxes are the smallest North American canids and occur only on the Channel Islands. The average weight for an adult male is 5-6 pounds, about the size of a house cat.