Study: Earlier Spring Means More Right Whales in Cape Cod Waters

Right whale #4550, a juvenile female born in 2015, photographed in Cape Cod Bay by the Center for Coastal Studies aerial survey team on January 6, 2020. CCS, NOAA permit #19315-1.

BOSTON – A new study from the New England Aquarium shows that North Atlantic right whales spent more time in waters by Cape Cod the earlier that spring weather arrived.

The study found that during years with earlier springs, Cape Cod Bay had more right whales. This suggests that the mammals could be taking a cue to move from regional temperatures.

Scientists with the New England Aquarium found that years with earlier springs had lower densities of zooplankton prey. Because of that, they worry that effects of climate change could be creating a disproportionate number of predators compared to prey.

That imbalance, scientists fear, could be another detriment to the health of the endangered North Atlantic right whale–a species that already is burdened with factors such as boat strikes and fishing gear entanglements.

About Brendan Fitzpatrick

Brendan, a recent graduate from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, is one of the newest members of the NewsCenter team. When not on the beat, you'll probably find him watching Boston sports.
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