Saturday, January 26, 2008

Aerial Survey- 26 January 2008

The aerial survey team waited patiently for the winds to die down on Saturday morning and then seized the brief opportunity of calm weather to get up in the air for a survey. An acoustic buoy had picked up right whale calls in Cape Cod Bay the night before, so we were eager to find and photograph the whale or whales in the area. Right whales are individually identifiable based on the callosity pattern on their head. Callosities are areas of raised cornified skin that become covered in cyamid crustaceans, often called “whale lice”. Aerial photographs of right whales can be compared to a catalog of known individuals curated by the New England Aquarium. Once a match has been made to the catalog, demographic information on the whale can be retrieved such as the age, sex, and recent sighting history. Unfortunately we did not have an opportunity to match whales to the catalog this weekend. The entire Cape Cod Bay was surveyed in absolutely beautiful sighting conditions, but no whales were seen.

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