The two major human threats to the North Atlantic Right Whale are commercial shipping and fixed fishing gear. We have partnered with the University of New England to search for new tools to help mitigate these hazards to the status of the right whale.

Study Area

Bay of Fundy Conservation Area and 2005 New England Aquarium Survey Effort
Bay of Fundy Conservation Area and 2005 New England Aquarium Survey Effort and
2005 right whale sightings as an example of effort and sightings from summer surveys.

Sightings per Unit Effort Animation

Animation of 8-day Sightings per Unit Effort from 1998-2000.
Animation of 8-day Sightings per Unit Effort from 1998-2000.

Sea Surface Temperature Animation

Sea Surface Temperature Animation
Animation of 8-day Chlorophyll-a concentrations from 1998-2000,
with Sightings per Unit Effort greater than zero outlined in red.

Chlorophyll Animation

Chlorophyll Animation
Animation of 8-day Sea Surface Temperature from 1998-2000, with
Sightings per Unit Effort greater than zero outlined in red.

Remote sensing technology has become an important resource for marine scientists because it allows us to gather data from large geographic areas without having to physically go there.

Through the use of data collected on satellites, we can examine Sea Surface Temperature and Chlorophyll-a data to help predict the locations of right whales. Our goal is to use remotely sensed data to determine environmental proxies for the distribution and geographic timing of this species in their known habitat areas.

Using variables that can provide a link to feeding patterns that do not directly measure the prey is not an easy task. Consequently, we have decided to use a test area to develop the methodology to be applied elsewhere, if possible. We are using the Bay of Fundy as our test case area and are developing models to help predict the timing of right whales in and out of the Bay during the summer and fall from 1998 through 2000.

For more information about this project please contact Kerry Lagueux.