#2: The team begins to arrive...

The summer migration of researchers has begun! The first wave of researchers is settling into the field station in Lubec, Maine. We are excited about the various research projects happening here this year- five in total! Thanks to funding from Irving Oil and the Island Foundation, we will be conducting our usual surveys into the Bay of Fundy on the R/V Nereid to collect photographic, genetic, and behavioral data on right whales. This is our 34th year - making it one of the longest, uninterrupted studies of any of the great whales! Later in the season, another team from the New England Aquarium will arrive to conduct work on collecting blows from right whales for hormone analyses.

Researchers appreciating the size of an adult right whale.

Within the next few days, a team from Syracuse University and the Northeast Fisheries Science Center will arrive to conduct their 4th season of mother/calf behavior and acoustic work in the Bay. They have already documented some mother calf pairs earlier in the year on the calving ground in the southeast US and in the spring feeding area in Cape Cod Bay.

The 2012 acoustic team leaving dock in the early morning.

Right whales are known to occur in other areas in Canadian waters. With funding from the Habitat Stewardship Program from Environment Canada, teams from the Canadian Whale Institute and New England Aquarium will be conducting surveys south and east of the Bay of Fundy to improve our understanding of other Canadian right whale habitats. An aerial survey team will be flying surveys between Roseway Basin and Bay of Fundy, as well as east of Roseway Basin. Roseway Basin has been an important habitat for right whales in the past, but surveys in the area have been sparse in recent years. The aerial work will be complimented by a team from Lubec heading out for several vessel based trips throughout the season. There has been a lot shifting in right whale movements this year- so it is a perfect year to have added these components to our research. There is a lot to look forward to- so stay tuned!

What will we find this year? Photo: Yan Guilbault

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