Hi! I'm Regina, WDC-NA's Executive Director and I also have my Captain's license. This year, I am the skipper for a research project which is studying North Atlantic right whales in Cape Cod Bay. This work is is evaluating the growth of right whales by using drones to take images which can be used to measure them.
Each trip, I'll be filling out my Captain's Logbook about each trip - come with for a day of studying right whales!
Most Recent Trip
Captain's Log #2 (from Sabrina)
Date: January 25, 2023
Weather: Cold, cloudy, with slight swell but much calmer than first trip.
Sightings: 1 right whale
Debrief: This trip was MUCH colder than the first, but thankfully the seas were much calmer. We spent most of our trip searching for whales, as there seemed to be fewer in the area than before. Fellow researchers were also on the water and pointed us in the direction of one right whale. This time, the research team was able to get the drone in the air and take photos and it was really exciting to see this science in action!
During this trip, my job was to spot whales and take photos for photo identification. The right whale was casually swimming and diving, so we spent most of the trip with it and finally got some good drone footage. As the sun started to go down and wind pick up, we headed back finally excited to get some good data!
Captain's Log #1 (from Sabrina)
Date: January 11, 2023
Weather: Not great L There was a large swell, strong winds and it was cold!
Sightings: 5-8 right whales who were feeding at the surface
Debrief: While I was excited for my first trip out, the weather was not! We started to head out of the harbor and realized the weather was worse than the forecast predicted so we decided to head back to land to wait for the wind to die down. After a couple of hours of waiting (where I learned how to catch a drone!), we tried again.
While it was better than the morning, it was still a bumpy ride! We searched for whales for a while, and started to lose hope that we would find whales this trip.We turned around to head back in, and finally found an area where 5-8 right whales surprised us! They were feeding at the surface and it was incredible to see. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t cooperative for the drone so we spent about 15 minutes with them taking identification photos. Hoping for better weather next time!
Research Project Description
This research is being led by Dr. Michael Moore, a veterinarian and scientist with the Wood’s Hole Oceanographic Institution. This research evaluates whether North Atlantic right whales are growing in healthy ways by using drone images to measure them and compare them from year to year.
This team has a research permit to conduct research on this critically endangered species. For everyone without a research permit, the law says they must stay at least 500 yards away from North Atlantic right whales.
Meet Captain Regina
Regina Asmutis-Silvia is the Executive Director of Whale and Dolphin Conservation-North America and has her USCG 100-ton near coastal Master's License.
Regina has been active in whale conservation, research, and education for over 30 years, with a focus on North Atlantic right whales. Regina leads WDC’s North Atlantic right whale program, with a focus on solving the problems of vessel strikes and accidental entanglements in fishing gear.
She is a Massachusetts native, a walking encyclopedia of whale information, and obsessed with Keith Richards.
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