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Satellite Tracking

Why did animal X stop transmitting?

Gulf of Maine humpback whale satellite tagging project: 2013

A project of CCS in conjunction with the partners and sponsors detailed below.

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NameSpeciesLife StageRelease DateLast LocationDays Transmitted
Gunslinger Humpback WhaleAdult2013-07-312013-08-2828
Nimbus Humpback WhaleAdult2013-07-242013-11-30129
Palette Humpback WhaleAdult2013-08-042013-10-1471
Pixar Humpback WhaleAdult2013-08-042013-09-2249
Reaper Humpback WhaleAdult2013-07-292013-08-068
Tracer Humpback WhaleAdult2013-07-292013-09-2558
Wizard Humpback WhaleAdult2013-07-232013-09-1756

Click on an animal's name for maps and more information.


Satellite-monitored radio tags have yielded important information for the conservation and management of large whales. Tags provide far greater detail on large whale movements and habitat use than more traditional studies, and past tagging projects have revealed the existence of entirely unknown whale habitats. However, it is not uncommon for tags to stop transmitting within days to months of deployment, and follow-up studies on the individuals have been limited. Further work is needed to improve the scientific and conservation value of this technology.

In this study, satellite tagging and its effects are being examined among Gulf of Maine humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae). This is among the best studied humpback whale populations. Its strong fidelity to particular feeding sites, long feeding ground residency and strong overlap with observer effort that are expected to result in repeated sightings of tagged animals, and a maximized resighting potential in future years. The project will also produce new information on humpback whale movement and habitat use in relation to the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary.

Project Partners

The project is being undertaken by multi-institutional team with expertise in whale behavior, ecology, anatomy, physiology, telemetry and wound healing processes. It includes collaborators from the following institutions:

Australian Antarctic Division (AAD)

Cascadia Research Collective (CRC) .

The Marine Mammal Center (MMC) .

National Marine Mammal Laboratory (NMML)

Research is being performed under NOAA scientific permit #14245.

Project Sponsors

Primary research funding comes from NOAA and Exxon through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. This is a project of the National Oceanographic Partnership Program (NOPP).

  • The presentation of data here does not constitute publication. All data remain copyright of the project partners. Maps or data on this website may not be used or referenced without explicit written consent.

SEATURTLE.ORG collaborates with Argos to help scientists and conservationists manage and analyse their valuable animal tracking data.

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