Taking the flukes out of whale tracking

Photo happywhale.com

The increasingly personal science of whale tracking will be the subject of the Saturday, Sept. 22, meeting of the American Cetacean Society’s Oregon Chapter at Newport Public Library.

In a presentation titled “Sharing the Science: What 2,500 Whale Watchers are doing for Research,” guest speaker Ted Cheeseman will explore how whale science has become personal, accessible and, hopefully, more powerful.

At the center of Cheeseman’s presentation is new technology that could allow scientists to individually track almost every single humpback whale in the Pacific Ocean.

“A growing team of citizen scientists collaborating with researchers through the web platform Happywhale, have now identified more than 16,000 individuals from the Antarctic to Alaska” he said. “We are more quickly identifying entangled whales, learning if individuals who have suffered entanglements survive.”

Cheeseman, who developed the Happywhale platform, grew up in California, the son of a naturalist and zoology professor. He began whale watching at a very young age and has been leading wildlife- and marine mammal-focused tourist expeditions more than two decades. He is currently a PhD student studying humpback whales.

The presentation, which is free and open to all, will start at 10 am at the library, 35 NW Nye Street.

For more information, contact Joy Primrose at marine_lover4ever@yahoo.com or 541-517-8754.

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