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Humpback whales swimming
Mother humpback and calf.

The Marine Mammal Research Program (MMRP) at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and UH Hilo collaborated earlier this year with other groups to quantify the bioenergetic demands of humpback whales migrating between Alaskan foraging grounds and Hawaiian breeding grounds.

MMRP doctoral students at the Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology in the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) will apply expertise in utilizing drones and leading technology to measure whales.

Researchers releasing a drone
With colleague Jens Currie, Lars Bejder releases a drone to study humpback whales off Maui. Photo credit: HIMB Marine Mammal Research Program

Other participants were the Pacific Whale Foundation, University of Alaska Fairbanks and Alaska Whale Foundation.

“This unique collaboration has provided excellent opportunities to sample a high number of humpback whales early and late in the breeding season and across different age categories,” said Lars Bejder, MMRP director. “The 2019 Hawaiʻi sampling season is done for the year, and we will return to Maui from January to March 2020.”

Based on a joint press release with the Pacific Whale Foundation.

—By Marcie Grabowski

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