Each year, whales move thousands of miles between critical habitats–distinct areas of the ocean that are ideal for breeding, socializing, giving birth, and feeding. For example, some humpback whales give birth off the coast of Mexico during the winter and travel to Monterey Bay in the summer to feed. These migrations are becoming more dangerous due to factors including climate change; noise, plastic, and chemical pollution; shipping traffic; and drilling. To support protection of vulnerable whale communities, scientists from UC Santa Cruz and partner research institutions have mapped the main migration paths of whales between their ocean habitats, dubbing them “blue corridors.” Identifying the blue corridors illuminates all the different industries and locations that the whales intersect with on their journeys and will hopefully guide an international and collaborative approach to ocean and marine mammal stewardship.
As part of our continued efforts to safeguard and better understand the migratory movements of whales, members of the Bio-telemetry and Behavioral Ecology Lab deployed to the Gulf of Tribugá (Golfo de Tribugá) in collaboration with our partners at Fundación Macuáticos Colombia and Dr. Natalia Botero-Acosta, to deploy satellite-linked tags in humpback whales to track their southbound migration back to the Antarctic Peninsula. Although the migratory connection between Colombia and Antarctica has been known for a long time, the frequency of sightings of mothers with calves in the breeding grounds tends to be much higher than in Antarctica. This leads us to ask, where do the whales with calves go?
To keep updated with the migration of the whales we tagged this breeding season, follow the map below.
All media and scientific work was collected under appropriate National Marine Fisheries (NMFS) / Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) and Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) permits.