Research identifies blue whale habitat in the Northern Indian Ocean
Date: February 8, 2017
Source: NOAA Fisheries West Coast Region
Scientists know a great deal about blue whales off California, where the endangered species has been studied for decades.
But they know far less about blue whales in the Northern Indian Ocean, where ships strike and kill some of the largest animals on Earth.
Now a research team has found a way to translate their knowledge of blue whales off California and in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean to the other side of the world, revealing those areas of the Northern Indian Ocean where whales are likely to be encountered. The team of scientists from NOAA Fisheries and the Sri Lankan Blue Whale Project published the findings in the journal Diversity and Distributions.
The Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission included the results of the study when assessing a shift in busy shipping lanes off the south coast of Sri Lanka that will reduce the danger to whales in an important feeding area.
"Small changes in shipping routes can be a very effective way to address a serious conservation issue with minimal inconvenience to the shipping industry, but rely on a good understanding of the relationship between whale distribution and habitat," said Russell Leaper, a member of the Scientific Committee. "This study makes an important contribution towards that understanding."