Safeguarding the seas: Unique, historic effort identifies, tracks whales, adds to knowledge base
BAR HARBOR, MAINE — Staff at Allied Whale, the marine mammal research organization at College of the Atlantic, entered the image of the 8,000th humpback whale into its photographic database recently.
The milestone is the latest in a ground-breaking program that uses photographs of natural markings and patterns to identify and track marine mammals. The effort has led to incalculable advances in the study of the behavior and migratory patterns of north Atlantic humpback whales, as it allows researchers to identify and track them in their natural habitat using the unique tail patterns on each of the whales’ flukes.
Thirty-seven years ago, in 1977, students and faculty at College of the Atlantic published a slim volume containing the black-and-white photographs of 120 humpback whales collected by researchers from around the north Atlantic, according to Peter…
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