Monitoring humpback whales to higher perceive them –

Monitoring humpback whales to higher perceive them –

A staff of scientists is deploying satellite tv for pc monitoring beacons on humpback whales off Reunion Island, the place they arrive to breed in summer time. The target is to higher perceive the actions of those cetaceans.

The 12 months 2022 is especially favorable to see the numerous humpback whales current in Reunion. That is additionally the proper time to launch Miromen II, an Argos satellite tv for pc beacon operation. The operation is led by the scientific affiliation Globice, which specializes within the research and conservation of cetaceans.

“Our goal is to have a really exact follow-up of the routes taken by the whales between the replica space of ​​Reunion and their feeding space in Antarctica. This enables us to have an concept of ​​their migratory route” , explains in this system Tout un monde of the RTS Violaine Dulau, president of Globice.

“Figuring out these routes is necessary to find out if maritime site visitors will have an effect on these migratory routes. Additionally it is necessary to know the place they feed to attempt to perceive the results of human actions and international warming on these populations.”

>> Learn additionally: On the UN, nonetheless no settlement on a treaty to guard the excessive seas

Delicate operation

Inserting an Argos beacon of about 20 cm on the again of a cetacean about fifteen meters lengthy is a uncommon and delicate operation. “We do that on a shifting boat, with a shifting animal, so you must be effectively synchronized”, describes Amy Kennedy, specialist in putting beacons on whales.

Beacon set up is completed with a shifting boat, on a shifting animal, you must be synchronized

Amy Kennedy, whale tagging specialist

She specifies that the operation requires a really exact place. “You can’t place the tag anyplace. It have to be very excessive on the whale’s physique, slightly below or above the dorsal fin. It’s this very particular place that can permit the tag to emit for a very long time.”

Many surprises

As soon as the mission is completed, the whale’s journey might be adopted in actual time on a display. Violaine Dulau is impatient to see the secrets and techniques that these beacons will reveal: “That is our second main beacon deployment marketing campaign.”

“The primary mission in 2013 had many surprises in retailer for us. We thought that the moms stayed in Reunion, close to the coast, with their younger. However we noticed that they traveled rather more within the Indian Ocean than what we imagined. It’s due to this fact not excluded that we are going to nonetheless have new surprises in 2022.”

>> Learn additionally: A turtle swims 37,000 kilometers to cross from Africa to Australia

Combat in opposition to international warming

Moreover the truth that the humpback whale is a protected species, it may also be an asset in opposition to international warming. “Giant cetaceans, equivalent to humpback whales, blue whales or sperm whales, play an necessary position within the ocean, as a result of they assist retailer carbon”, explains Jean-Marc Gancille, from Globice.

“They produce cumbersome excrement loaded with iron and nitrogen which is able to fertilize phytoplankton, which shops carbon. This carbon is then ingested by zooplankton, which is the idea of the food plan of huge whales and which due to this fact find yourself of their physique and can even penetrate their skeleton. When the whales die, they’ll sink to the underside of the ocean and completely sequester this CO2.”

Lola Fourmy/ash

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