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brenda rone  

The North Pacific Right Whale Research Cruise scheduled for the month of August in the Gulf of Alaska is designed to locate, photograph, and hopefully satellite-tag a critically endangered North Pacific right whale. This cruise represents one leg in a four-month Collaborative Large Whale Survey that is being conducted along the west coast by the Southwest Fisheries Science Center and the Alaska Fisheries Science Center aboard the NOAA Fisheries research vessel Reuben Lasker. Brenda Rone (pictured left) is NOAA Fisheries affiliate and chief scientist on the cruise.

August 14, 2015

Hello All. In about an hour we will be turning onto our next transect within the historical high density right whale catch stratum and will be losing internet access for the rest of today and likely most of tomorrow. This offshore area has been very interesting. We launched the skiff last night on a blue whale but it proved too evasive to work. However, we had another chance first thing this morning further down the track. We were able to photograph and biopsy sample two individuals. As of 4:30 today, we have now sighted a whopping 9 blue whales!

blue whale

A rare blue whale.  The largest whale on earth.  NOAA Fisheries scientists saw an amazing nine blue whales during a historic cruise in search of the critically endangered North Pacific Right whale in the Gulf of Alaska. Photo credit: NOAA Fisheries. Collected under Permit No. 14245-03.

With the nice weather window over these next 2 days and the impending 30 knots predicted this weekend, we continue to press on searching within this historically important right whale habitat.

Additional species sighted are killer whales, sei whales, sperm whales, humpback whales and Dall's porpoise. We have not had an acoustic detection of right whales in this area......yet.

Stay tuned.....

NOTE:  Biopsy sample:  Scientists collect tissue samples so they can evaluate the health of the whale seen.  Tissue samples also help scientists identify individual whales and what families they belong to.

Read more about this important cruise. Listen to a recording of a right whale call. Check out some photos! Check back here for updates on what Brenda and our other scientists see while on the cruise.

 

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