We travel around the world to increase our understanding of the North Atlantic right whale and guide our efforts to protect this critically endangered species from the threat of extinction.
Every summer and fall, large numbers of right whales congregate in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean to feed and breed. We operate a seasonal field station out of Lubec, Maine, on the coast of the Bay of Fundy between Canada and the United States.
Southeast Calving Grounds Aerial Surveys
The coastal waters off Georgia and Florida are the only known North Atlantic right whale calving grounds in the world. Between December 1 and March 31 every year, we fly aerial surveys over this region is an effort to locate and count all right whale mother and calf pairs.
Great South Channel Right Whale Surveys
We conduct annual boat-based surveys in the Great South Channel. A major commercial shipping and fishing area near Cape Cod, this region is also considered a critical habitat for North Atlantic right whales. The waters within the Great South Channel are extremely productive, and support an incredible density of marine life, including North Atlantic right whales. Many of the right whales that visit the Great South Channel are often not seen again for the rest of the year. This means that our sightings from the Great South Channel may be the only known sightings for some right whales alive today.
Auckland Islands Right Whale Expedition
We traveled to the Auckland Islands in 2007 to look for the Southern right whale. Unlike their Northern cousins, Southern right whales are recovering well from historic whaling, and their populations appear to be growing rapidly in recent years. We investigated the biology and human impacts on this isolated population by observing the whales, recording scars and other evidence of boat-strikes, and collecting biopsy samples. We anticipate that our results will help us better understand why the North Atlantic right whale is recovering so slowly while the Southern right whale is doing so well. Read our blog documenting the expedition.