Maren Anderson: 2017 Research Grantee “View Into Vocalizations” - American Cetacean Society

Event at The Bay Model Visitor Center


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Wintering humpback whales can be found in the coastal waters off of the Hawaiian Island Chain where they remain from January through April for their breeding season. This population expends a great deal of energy in activities which includes competing for mates, mating, calving, and feeding / raising their offspring prior to the first migration back north. During our next field season, we plan to focus on studying mother and calf humpback groups (which may include escorts). We will expand upon our past research and will investigate social interactions between
mothers and calves/escorts, profile underwater behaviors (including the spatial behavior known as laterality), and investigate age and sex class activity budgets. We will also examine calls known as social sounds and their biological significance, and identify any behavioral and acoustic vulnerabilities based on the breeding season behaviors, and assess how this affects ship strike potential. We plan to continue the R&D we began in 2015 with the new tagging technology that furthered our research goals. We propose to use non-invasive suction-cup tags to tag mother and calf pairs in order to gain better understanding of their underwater behaviors and vocalizations. Very few first year Hawaiian humpback whale calves have been tagged and no mother calf pair tag results are have been published. We successfully obtained these data in 2015 using both conventional tags and a new tag we self-designed. In conjunction with our underwater videography research techniques and our past datasets, the data from additional field work and tagging will allow us to work to develop the first underwater behavioral ethogram for Hawaiian humpback whales.

About Maren Anderson
Maren holds a BA in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Colorado at Boulder, CO. She is the director of experiential education at the Drew School and teaches Ecology, Genetics, Evolution and Marine Biology. Outside of school and during the summers, Maren studies whales in various parts of the Pacific Ocean, and volunteers with The Nature Conservancy to restore threatened species of coral in the Caribbean.





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