Whale researchers on Vancouver Island are part of a comprehensive new scientific report tracking humpback whales in the Pacific.
Lead author Ted Cheeseman says it collects data about most living whales in the Pacific. It identifies nearly 28,000 individual whales, and was compiled by 69 authors.
The North Island-based Marine Education and Research Society was one of the contributors.
It’s difficult to track migratory marine species such as humpbacks, which spend half the year in warm waters around Mexico and Hawaii, and the other in the north, near Vancouver Island. The report, published in the journal Nature, collects photos, radio telemetry and genetic sequencing data to better help track whales.
Cheeseman says it’s already helping researchers “better understand and protect these whales and the oceans they (and we) depend upon.”
The data can be viewed through the HappyWhale project, where tourism operators and individuals can also submit their own photos and information about whale encounters.