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Monterey Bay Cetacean Project
Our marine biologists collect valuable data on
the marine mammals sighted during our whale watch trips. This data collection
contributes to our understanding of the behavior, ecology, distribution, and
relative abundance of each species. In addition, select species of whales and
dolphins are photo-identified by distinct natural markings, which provides
researchers with information on movements, residency patterns, population
estimates, association patterns, and life history parameters.
Photo-identification work is focused on Humpback Whales, Blue Whales, Killer
Whales, Pacific White-Sided Dolphins, and Risso's Dolphins.
Photo-identifications of Humpback Whales and Blue Whales are contributed to Cascadia Research Collective, a non-profit research group based in Olympia, WA. Cascadia holds the catalogs for the California populations of Humpback
Whales and Blue Whales. Through this photo-identification work, they have
estimated the populations of these whales for California. Both of these whale
species are endangered and this research is critical to determine population
trends and indications of possible recovery.
We hold the Killer Whale
catalog for California and continue to photo-identify all Killer Whales we see
in Monterey Bay as well as document their predatory behavior and social structure.
We also have compiled catalogs of individually distinct Pacific White-Sided
Dolphins and Risso's Dolphins, and we continue to photo-identify each
The information collected on these trips is combined with our Oceanic Society
research project on whales and dolphins in Monterey Bay.