Please check out a recent story in a local SOCAL newspaper (The Daily Breeze) on the SOCAL-BRS research project.

See the link below as well as the lead-in to the article


Scientists can’t yet definitively say why whales and dolphins strand themselves — or whether human activities are always to blame. But they are closing in on some answers and, in the process, seeing a fuller picture of how marine mammals interpret their environment.

The initial findings of a years-long study of whales that have been tagged in the Southern California Bight (the curved coastline from Point Conception to San Diego) have turned up a few surprises, while also generating new questions about the lives of these massive, but largely mysterious animals.

“We have a mixed message,” said Brandon Southall, a lead biologist on the Southern California Behavioral Response Study (SOCAL-BRS) team trying to understand how whales react to certain noises. “Some of them have responses and some don’t, but it looks like the responses really depend on what the animal is doing.”

Southall and 17 other researchers on the SOCAL-BRS team on Thursday completed a 10-day stint on the ocean five miles out from San Pedro, buzzing around in inflatable motor boats tagging 80-foot-long whales and smaller dolphins.