NOAA Teams with Sea Semester to Study Humpbacks

WOODS HOLE – Scientists from NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center are continuing humpback whale research with the help of undergraduate students in the Caribbean.

For the last six years, a scientist from the center’s marine mammal acoustics group has joined one of the annual at-sea portions of a Sea Education Association course.

This year, Genevieve Davis, a marine mammal scientist with NOAA, will join 20 students and SEA Chief Scientist Jeff Schell aboard the SSV Corwith Cramer to record underwater sounds from whales in the area.

Recordings will also be made of ocean noise at reefs along the islands of Puerto Rico, St. John, the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas and Jamaica, along with the Silver Bank Humpback Whale Sanctuary.

Davis says the project is an opportunity for the students to learn more about the marine mammals seen during the voyage, along with collecting sound data from the region.

The college students recently completed the six-week onshore component of the course in Woods Hole and departed for warmer waters last week.

Davis will board the vessel in Jamaica for the 3 week return trip to Woods Hole. The vessel is scheduled to return to the Cape on March 23.

Humpbacks migrate to the Silver Bank area north of the Dominican Republic in the winter during breeding season.

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