Friday, May 10, 2013

The search for melon-headed whales starts up again

Aran, Aliza, and Max are back in Hawaii for the last of four field expeditions to learn more about melon-headed whales (Peponocephala electra) around the Hawaiian islands. We're using a suite of instruments to collect data on the sounds that they make and how they behave when making those sounds. To do that, we're using suction-cup tags (DTAGs) and an acoustic recorder (the DMON), both developed at WHOI. These whales are rarely sighted, but when a group is found it is usually a large group - often around 300 individuals. We typically encounter these groups when the whales are resting at the surface - that is why on this expedition we are aiming for longer tag recordings, to get a more diverse understanding of what sounds these whales make during different behavioral states.

The first day of fieldwork starts May 10th and continues to May 27th. During that time we hope to get more and longer tag recordings than we have been able to in the previous three field expeditions. To do that, we will need the weather on our side.
Our tagger, Daniel Webster, about to place a tag on a melon-headed whale during our expedition last August (Photo: A. Mooney, NMFS permit # 15530 to CRC)
Our collaborators on this expedition are from Cascadia Research Collective, and we will be working with them to find, and then tag, the melon-headed whales. More information on this project can be found on the Hawaiian Odontocetes page on this blog.

No comments:

Post a Comment