SOCAL-BRS is now operational for our second field phase of 2015. We are working with several research vessels including the Truth out of Santa Barbara and have been searching the coastal and offshore waters for our focal species. These include endangered blue and fin whales as well as beaked whales and Risso’s dolphins. Again, you can find much more information about our objectives and methods in the SOCAL-15 Public Summary linked from the SOCAL-15 page in the drop down menu on the SOCAL-BRS main page.This blog will serve to provide short updates of our field progress.
The first few days have seen a few good things, but honestly a fair amount of area covered without a lot of focal animals. The very warm surface ocean temperatures you may have been reading about almost certainly has a lot to do with that and we are simply not seeing many large whales feeding in areas where we commonly see them. This is proving a little challenging, but the approach on this project has always been to have contingency areas and focal species. Accordingly, we have moved to some slightly more offshore areas. Yesterday we tagged a Risso’s dolphin but the tag was off quickly and today we had some good success in managing to tag an adult fin whale with an acoustic and movement recording tag (see below – credit: J. Calambokidis taken under NMFS permit # 14534).
We hope to move a little further offshore tomorrow to search some new areas with relatively good weather. If we stay out there our communications are quite limited, but we will update the blog with more information. In the meantime, please do check out the rest of the site for some of our work, including the many recent papers announced and linked from the site resulting from our experimental research on this project.