Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Whales For The Saving: Research Demonstrates Need For Speed Restrictions

Date:
October 31, 2007
Source:
Dalhousie University
Summary:
There are less than 400 of them left in the world, and many of them travel to Canadian waters each year to feed. The North Atlantic Right Whale is one of the most endangered whales in the world. New research is helping ensure these whales are protected from vessel strikes when they make their annual trek to the Roseway Basin on the Scotian Shelf.

Northern right whale with calf.
Credit: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission/NOAA

Dal research demonstrates need for speed restrictions to protect North Atlantic Right Whales in Canadian waters. There are less than 400 of them left in the world, and many of them travel to Canadian waters each year to feed. The North Atlantic Right Whale is one of the most endangered whales in the world.

Related Articles


Now, research by Dalhousie student Angelia Vanderlaan and Oceanography professor Christopher Taggart is helping ensure these whales are protected from vessel strikes when they make their annual trek to the Roseway Basin on the Scotian Shelf.

In October 2007, Transport Canada announced that a proposal submitted by the federal government to protect these whales has been adopted by the International Marine Organization (IMO).

The IMO has designated the Roseway Basin (located 20 nautical miles south of Cape Sable Island) as a recommended seasonal Area to be Avoided (ATBA). Research conducted by Ms. Vanderlaan, third-year PhD Oceanography student, had a direct impact on the establishment of this protected area.

"We pulled together numbers to try to determine the relative probability of ships striking whales," says Ms. Vanderlaan. "That information was used to design the ATBA so that the risk of a collision was minimized."

Right whales are especially vulnerable to being struck by vessels, due to their behaviours and characteristics. They are black in colour, with no dorsal fin, making them hard to see. The whales also spend extended periods of time near the surface of the water and tend to be especially slow to respond to approaching vessels, if at all.

Ms. Vanderlaan says the best part about doing research like this is to see the 'real-world' results. "Through similar types of analyses, we were able to help move shipping lanes in the Bay of Fundy. It's very gratifying to know that the work you are doing is making a difference."

"The quantitative analysis itself is fun, but what's really pleasing is actually being able to have an impact on critical habitat issues," says Dr. Taggart. "The research makes a difference in how we deal with these and other conservation issues."

Their research is having an international as well as local impact. The paper, "Vessel Collisions with Whales: The Probability of Lethal Injury Based on Vessel Speed," by Ms. Vanderlaan and Dr. Taggart, was published in Marine Mammal Science earlier this year and is being cited in a court case in Hawaii concerning a high-speed ferry and potential humpback whale strikes. Their work is also being used to mediate a dispute between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the White House regarding vessel speed in certain areas of the American east coast.

"It's interesting times for us," says Dr. Taggart, also noting the work of first-year Masters of Oceanography student Kim Davies.

Kim is working in collaboration with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans on a project to address feeding conditions for the right whale in Roseway Basin area – another important issue concerning right whale population recovery.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Dalhousie University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Dalhousie University. "Whales For The Saving: Research Demonstrates Need For Speed Restrictions." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 October 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071027112213.htm>.
Dalhousie University. (2007, October 31). Whales For The Saving: Research Demonstrates Need For Speed Restrictions. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071027112213.htm
Dalhousie University. "Whales For The Saving: Research Demonstrates Need For Speed Restrictions." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071027112213.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) In Africa's only biosafety level 4 laboratory, scientists have been carrying out experiments on bats to understand how virus like Ebola are being transmitted, and how some of them resist to it. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 27, 2014) A British palaeontologist has discovered a new species of dinosaur while studying fossils in a Canadian museum. Pentaceratops aquilonius was related to Triceratops and lived at the end of the Cretaceous Period, around 75 million years ago. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) Tryptophan, a chemical found naturally in turkey meat, gets blamed for sleepiness after Thanksgiving meals. But science points to other culprits. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) The iconic piano from "Casablanca" and the Cowardly Lion suit from "The Wizard of Oz" fetch millions at auction. Sara Hemrajani reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins