Thirty Years of Humpback Whale Monitoring Published in Ecosphere

February 03, 2017 Posted by: Chris Gabriele

Whale research vessel in Glacier BayBiologists aboard research vessel Sand Lance carefully approach humpback whales to photograph and observe them for population monitoring purposes. Sighting histories of individual whales reveal their behavioral and life history traits.   Photo by Mark Kelley

The rigorous program of monitoring humpback whales implemented by Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve in 1985, augmented by additional data collected by Charles Jurasz in southeastern Alaska since 1968, constitutes one of the longest studies of living whales in the world. A recent publication in the NPS Centennial special issue of Ecosphere describes the patterns of reproduction and habitat use that underlie the population's growth over time.
Gabriele, C. M., Neilson, J. L., Straley, J. M., Baker, C. S., Cedarleaf, J. A., & Saracco, J. F. (2017). Natural history, population dynamics, and habitat use of humpback whales over 30 years on an Alaska feeding ground. Ecosphere, 8(1).
Click on the link to read the open access article.

1 Comments Comments icon

  1. Nancy
    July 01, 2017 at 01:12

    It is exciting to read how the humpback whale population has been removed from the endangered list. Reading about this longitudinal study, its methodology and results with the implications for the future, was both extremely interesting and informative. It gives one reassurance for the future of this fascinating creature. (The statistics gave me a little shudder but that was a personal reminder of my statistics class in grad school eons ago.)

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Last updated: February 3, 2017

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