University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa PhD student Fabien Vivier may have experienced the trip of his lifetime recently as part of a three-week expedition to Antarctica. The Hawaiʻi Institute for Marine Biology Marine Mammal Research Program student was part of a team that sailed from Chile to Antarctica to measure and observe humpback and fin whales. Vivier collaborated and operated drones as part of a large-scale research project led by Ari Friedlaender, whose Friedlaender lab is based at University of California, Santa Cruz.

During eight days in Antarctica, the team measured and observed 16 humpback whales and two fin whales. They also collected audio data and tissue samples from killer, minke, humpback and fin whales. At the end of the Antarctic expedition, the team also spent three days in the Falkland Islands, where Vivier photographed other incredible wildlife including penguins, seals and dolphins.

Vivier posted a blog about the expedition, which includes a video and photos, and wrote, “I was fortunate to visit 12 magnificent Antarctic locations. The sunrises and sunsets were mind-blowing. The wildlife encountered was fantastic and I was able to encounter countless new species…”

All research activities were conducted in accordance with the following permits: NMFS-23095, ACA-2020-011 and IACUC-Friea1706.

Two orca and an iceberg

See more stunning videos from the UH Marine Mammal Research Program