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whale and Japanese whaling ship

New whaling ship leaves port as the whaling season begins in Japan

The whaling season in Japan is now underway following the launch of the industry's new...
Shorewatch citizen science army clock up 1 million minutes looking out for whales and dolphins

Scottish Dolphin Centre volunteers clock up 1 million minutes looking for whales and dolphins

Members of the public who have committed to helping to save whales and dolphins have...
Minke whale © caught in a web Adobe Stock / dejavudesigns

“Our Ocean” conference in Athens: Governments halve budget for marine protection

Minke whale © caught in a web Adobe Stock / dejavudesigns While the US agency...
© Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute, taken under NOAA permit #24359. Aerial survey funded by United States Army Corps of Engineers.

Conservation Groups Decry Yet Another Preventable Right Whale Death

April 2, 2024 - Contact: Regina Asmutis-Silvia, Whale and Dolphin Conservation, (508) 451-3853, [email protected] Jeremy...

Barnacles used to track humpback whale movements

Researchers in the US have been using an interesting way to map the travel patterns of some humpback whales as they migrate around the globe, to look into how those patterns may have changed over many years, and also at the state of the ocean in the past.

By looking at the barnacles that attach themselves to humpback whales researchers can track their travels, potentially look at how the ancient migration patterns of these huge creatures may have changed, and also potentially use the information to reveal more about the oceans that ancient migrators were visiting.

Humpbacks swim thousands of kilometers between feeding and breeding grounds and understanding where they go, both now and in the past, helps to conserve these amazing individuals.

About 40 years ago, researchers were able to use barnacles attached to gray whales   to record the path those whales take each year by measuring oxygen atoms in the barnacle itself – warmer waters supplying a higher proportion of heavier oxygen atoms, for example.

Researchers have now decided to use the same tactic to track the migrations of ancient whale species in the same way, looking at coronulid barnacles, which live only on humpbacks. Even though some barnacles analysed are no longer attached to whales, because of the close association between this barnacle species and humpbacks, these barnacles passed their lives on ancient humpbacks. 

In the coming months it is hoped that data from the barnacles might help pin down exactly where whales were moving over the past five million years.

Why not adopt a humpback with WDC and help fight threats they face?

Sundown kick-feeding