Humpback whale catalog
The Center for Coastal Studies has studied individual humpback whales since the 1970s. We curate the Gulf of Maine Humpback Whale Catalog which contains detailed information on individuals, including age, gender, relatedness, reproduction, behavior, distribution and human impacts. These data serve as a powerful tool for increasing scientific knowledge and facilitating the management of this species. The latest achievement was the development of the first pregnancy test for humpback whales, based on Gulf of Maine females known to have been pregnant. Read our scientific publications for other examples of how these data have been used.
Our Gulf of Maine Humpback Whale Catalog is based on our own directed research cruises that span the feeding range of this population, from the waters off Nantucket to Nova Scotia. However, it also benefits from the hard work of collaborating NGOs and whale watching companies that collect data on local segments of this population (learn more here).
On a larger scale, we collaborate with other North Atlantic researchers and the North Atlantic Humpback Whale Catalog (NAHWC), which facilitates photo-identification studies of humpback whales across all of the feeding and breeding grounds in the North Atlantic.
Finally, the Gulf of Maine Humpback Whale Catalog has been greatly enhanced by the work of our long-term molecular geneticists (and adjunct scientists), Drs. Per Palsbøll and Martine Bérubé at the University of Groningen.