Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae)

Species >> Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae)

Based on past genetic and photo-identification data, humpback whales in the North Pacific show site fidelity to distinct feeding areas to which they return annually including an area that encompasses the waters off Washington and southern British Columbia. This represents one of the smaller North Pacific feeding areas both geographically and numerically. Combined with its transboundary status and busy shipping-lane traffic through this area from both US and Canada ports, this is an important but complicated area for management.

Individual ID mark-recapture studies are critical to our understanding of marine mammals, yet gathering, processing and identifying individuals in images remains exceptionally labor and cost intensive.

Bio-logging approaches to study the biology of free-ranging animals often focus on audio, movement, or video, but rarely are these different data streams integrated. Here we custom engineered a tag to measure the fine-scale kinematics of cetaceans while simultaneously recording animal-borne video from dual cameras. The movement sensors included a pressure transducer, tri-axial inertial sensors (accelerometers, magnetometers, gyroscopes), and a paddle-wheel speed sensor.