How are the Whales Responding to Fewer Tourists in the Waters off Juneau, AK: Summer Survey is Underway to Learn More - Post 3

July 22, 2020

Scientists hope to establish a baseline estimate of humpback whale abundance in waters around Juneau, AK and learn more about the impacts of human activities on the whales.

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Killer whales hunting near shore, a mother and calf humpback seem nervous—erratic movements—long dives. Photo: NOAA Fisheries

This is a collaborative effort with the University of Alaska Southeast, University of Alaska Fairbanks, NOAA Fisheries Alaska Regional Office, and Alaska Fisheries Science Center/Auke Bay Laboratories.

July 22, 2020

Day two was a little slower. Now we have to make sure that we don’t biopsy the same whales we got yesterday. It takes more time. We are seeing a lot of the same animals. A well known local whale named Sasha (also known as AK Whale because of the “AK” mark on her fluke) has a calf that is breaching, an easy skin sample. We aren’t targeting calves, but now we will be able get the gender of this one.

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Sloughed skin from a breaching calf, a good source of genetic information. Photo: NOAA Fisheries.

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