Whales become a fixture at Buoy 10; Oregon State scientist says they're hungry too

Humpback whales, it seems, are coping with dwindling marine resources by moving inland. A sharp decline in the Pacific's krill (small shrimp) have them shopping for alternatives. "They're hungry," said Bruce Mate, director of the Oregon State University Marine Mammal Institute in Newport and one of the world's leading whale scientists. "They wouldn't be there if there wasn't something to eat."

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DNA Study of Southern Humpback Finds Calving Ground Loyalty Drives Population Differences

“Our increased understanding of how whale populations are structured can help governments and inter-governmental organizations like the International Whaling Commission improve management decisions in the future,” said Dr. C. Scott Baker of Oregon State University’s Marine Mammal Institute and a member of the South Pacific Whale Research Consortium that contributed to the study.

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How to Attach a Video Camera to a Humpback Whale

“You’ve just put an instrument on the biggest animal that’s ever lived, and you got the most incredible view while doing it,” said Ari Friedlaender, a marine ecologist at Oregon State University who says he has become so proficient at tagging whales that he doesn’t even notice the boat rocking. “Afterwards there’s kind of an adrenaline rush.”

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New video shows how blue whales employ strategy before feeding

Blue whales didn’t become the largest animals ever to live on Earth by being dainty eaters and new video captured by scientists at Oregon State University shows just how they pick and choose their meals.

“Modeling studies of blue whales ‘lunge-feeding’ theorize that they will not put energy into feeding on low-reward prey patches,” said Leigh Torres, a principal investigator with the Marine Mammal Institute at Oregon State, who led the expedition studying the blue whales. “Our footage shows this theory in action.”

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Whale’s-Eye View of Antarctica

Dr. Ari Friedlaender has been in Antarctica attaching suction cup tags and cameras to humpback and minke whales to study their feeding behavior. 

“We have some wonderful data on different feeding strategies from rolling lunges near the surface, to bubble net feeding, to deep foraging dives lunging through dense patches of krill,” said Dr Ari Friedlaender, an associate professor from Oregon State University and lead scientist on the whale study.

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Maui's dolphin survey winds up

Associate Director Scott Baker was in New Zealand in February to continue a multi-year population survey of the critically endangered Māui dolphin.

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Movement to protect marine mammals

Scott Baker, Associate Director of the MMI, was one of the invited members of an expert panel to designate Important Marine Mammal Areas (IMMAs) in the South Pacific. The meeting was hosted by The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) an intergovernmental organization based in Apia, Samoa. The IMMAs are intended to help with the spatial management and conservation of whales and dolphins in this vast region.

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MMI scientists present at Sharing the Coast conference

The Marine Mammal Institute will be well represented at this year's Sharing the Coast Conference in Waldport, OR. Leigh Torres will be providing the keynote address at 6:30 pm, Friday, March 3, 2017. Dr. Torres will discuss the latest in research into the lives of gray whales and other marine megafauna inhabiting our coastal waters and ways in which citizens can help scientists monitor whale populations. Her presentation is free and open to the public.

On Saturday, March 4, Jim Rice, coordinator of the Oregon Marine Mammal Stranding Network, will give an overview of the state’s marine mammal populations and explain how citizens can engage in tracking these populations through reporting stranded animals, alive or dead. The theme of the conference is citizen science.

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Whale lovers can support Marine Mammal Institute with new license plate

A new license plate featuring a gray whale and her calf likely will be available to Oregon drivers by summer 2017. This project is sponsored by the Oregon State University Marine Mammal Institute and enthusiasm for it is running high, said Bruce Mate, director of the institute. “Everybody I’ve shown the plate design to has loved it,” said Mate, whose institute will receive $35 from the Oregon Department of Transportation every time a vehicle owner spends $40 to buy the plate. The money will go toward whale research, graduate student education and public outreach. The institute needs to turn in an “expression of interest” from at least 3,000 vehicle owners stating they plan to buy the plate.

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New tag revolutionizes whale research -- and makes them partners in science

A sophisticated new type of tag on whales that can record data every second for hours, days, and weeks at a time provides a view of whale behavior, biology and travels never before possible, scientists from the Marine Mammal Institute at Oregon State University reported today in a new study. This “Advanced Dive Behavior,” or ADB tag, has allowed researchers to expand their knowledge of whale ecology to areas deep beneath the sea, over thousands of miles of travel, and outline their interaction with the prey they depend upon for food. It has even turned whales into scientific colleagues to help understand ocean conditions and climate change.

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