Along for the Glide

From January through March 2020, Jupiter Research Foundation conducted a passive acoustic survey of the waters of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument using the autonomous wave glider “Europa.” Along its journey, the wave glider listened to the monument’s humpback whales. It traveled a whopping 2,627 nautical miles over the course of 67 days—that’s equivalent to the roundtrip distance from Washington, D.C. to Denver, Colorado! The results suggest that whales use the waters of the monument extensively as a breeding habitat during the winter and spring months.

a humpback whale mother and calf
The waters of Hawai‘i provide critical winter breeding grounds for humpback whales. Photo: Jason Moore/NOAA under NOAA Permit #15240
awave gluider floats on calm waters
Jupiter Research Foundation’s Wave Glider, Europa, can listen to life underwater in a minimally invasive way. Photo: Marc Lammers/NOAA