Biologist, Whose Research Shows Whales Don't Try To Avoid Ships, Speaks On South Coast

Jul 12, 2017

There are concerns about whales being hit by ships off the South and Central Coasts.  Now, a leading research biologist, who will be speaking on the South Coast, finds that whales don't try to get out of the way of ships.  

John Calambokidis with Cascadia Research in Washington state has spent much of his time studying whales along the South Coast where they’re abundant. He uses new research methods -- including video from tags on blue whales -- to better understand their underwater behavior.

He says he’s found that these whales tend to take little action to avoid ships.

“It seems to be a threat they haven’t really evolved or adapted for dealing with. So, part of their vulnerability is that they don’t seem to get away from these ships,” Calambokidis said.

He has also learned through the tags about blue whales’ behavior at night.

“We find that they spend twice as much time at the surface where they would be vulnerable to being hit by a ship at night compared to the day,” he said.

Calamabokidis spoke at the Channel Islands National Park Visitor Center in Ventura Harbor as part of the park’s free lecture series.