Insights into humpback whale use of entire ocean basins gained through two large, international studies

November 3, 2021

David Mattila, Secretariat to the International Whaling Commission and Center for Coastal Studies

Long-term studies of humpback whales in two key habitats within the United States Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), were essential to the establishment of two national marine sanctuaries (Stellwagen Bank and the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale national marine sanctuaries). These studies also provided the foundation and inspiration for two unprecedented, ocean-basin studies of humpback whales in the North Atlantic Ocean (YONAH project) and the North Pacific Ocean (SPLASH project). The results of the two projects have provided new insights into the complex lives of humpback whales and their use of entire ocean basins. In addition, the two areas have become focal points for understanding how humans impact whales throughout all oceans, and have stimulated actions to reduce those impacts.

This discussion will focus on the similarities and differences of humpback whales in Hawai‘i and the Atlantic.