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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 25, 2015

Good morning!

  Pacific white-sided dolphins
Pacific white-sided dolphins.

We've spent the last few days surveying the remainder of the inshore transects and moving on to the offshore. We have been in a substantial and confused swell the entire time, compliments of the last gale. As you can imagine, it's been a bit taxing but everyone here continues to give 150%.

Rainbows sprinkled the survey area and you better believe we searched at the bottom of every single one for a right whale. Whales have been sparse and difficult to ID given the seas. Sightings have consisted of fin whales, Dall's porpoise, and Pacific white-sided dolphins. A majority of the unidentified large whales were probable fin whales. Acoustics continues to detect blue whales, fin whales and sperm whales. Rewards for enduring these sloppy seas: two nights of northern lights and a fantastic evening encounter with Pacific white-sided dolphins!

Today we are surveying offshore transect 4-5. Seas are calm and the swell has settled a bit. We will then head back to Barnabas Trough to give it one more shot before heading for Kodiak.

Team Lasker

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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