#1: To the Bay of Fundy... and Beyond!

This August marks the beginning of our 36th field season in the Bay of Fundy—can you believe it?! For months, members of the team have been figuring out logistics and details for this season. Equipment has been inventoried, organized and ready to be packed into our truck. With scattered right whale sightings in the Bay of Fundy and elsewhere, we're chomping at the bit to get on the water and see who is around.
Organizing camera gear for three expeditions!
Our team will congregate at our field station house in Lubec, Maine, before splitting up to survey three different habitats during the months of August and September. As usual, our Bay of Fundy surveys on R/V Nereid will occur as frequently as the weather allows during those two months. These important surveys that allow us to collect genetic, photographic and behavioral data on right whales are made possible through generous funding provided by Irving Oil and the Island Foundation.

To pack: big squishy pile of safety float coats and suits (the paper mache "Calvin" will stay behind to keep our coworkers on land in check).
The R/V Shelagh will cruise offshore to Roseway Basin for two trips lasting approximately two weeks in duration. This is our third year of these surveys in collaboration with the Canadian Whale Institute, which play a role in a larger collaborative effort that uses new technologies to find right whales.

Collecting a plankton sample on Roseway Basin last year.

We wish we could survey the Gulf of St. Lawrence—over the span of one month, three right whale carcasses were found in the region's waters. Two of the three carcasses were identified (Catalog #2320 "Piper," and Catalog #3923), but cause of death was has not been determined for any of the whales. Unfortunately, we have limited knowledge of how this region is used by the whales, and there are little to no protective measures to protect right whales when they are there.

We're excited for the field work that awaits us, and we hope you are excited to follow the details of our season here on the blog! You can also follow us on Twitter @rightwhalescoop, and join our Facebook group "NEAq Right Whale Research Program."