Whale Trust Maui would like to thank the Makana Aloha Foundation for their unwavering support over the years. Since we first met them at Whale Quest Kapalua (now called Whale Tales), they have generously supported our mission. For the last two years, they have been the host sponsor for our annual Whale Tales event on Maui, helping us to raise over $75,000 for whale research during the last two years alone. We are especially grateful for their friendship, generosity and support, not only of Whale Trust Maui, but also of the Maui community in general.
Whale Trust Maui Blog
Annual Benefit Tournament takes place on Saturday, January 30th at King Kamehameha Golf Club
(Maui, Hawaii) January 5, 2016 – For the 11th consecutive year, international whale research organization Whale Trust Maui invites the public to “tee off for whale research” on Saturday, January 30th, 2016 at 8:00 a.m. in a scramble competition format golf tournament sponsored by Mercedez-Benz of Maui and hosted at the King Kamehameha Golf Club. The event features continental breakfast, awards luncheon with a guest speaker, and $5,000 in cash prizes. Registration deadline is January 28th but teams are entered on a first come, first serve. Registration forms can be downloaded here.
With stunning bi-coastal views, scramble competition format, lunch in the stunning Frank Lloyd Wright clubhouse, cash prizes for men’s and women’s teams, and a new Mercedes on display for a lucky hole-in-one, it promises to be an exciting day on the course
The King Kamehameha Golf Club is located at 500 Honoapi‘ilani Hwy in Wailuku and is the only private 18-hole golf course on Maui. All proceeds benefit the research and education programs of Whale Trust Maui.
“What better way to spend a morning than playing one of Maui’s most spectacular golf courses while raising money to help support whale research right here in our own backyard,” says, Meagan Jones, co-founder of the organization.
To find out more about sponsorship opportunities and to receive help in registering your team, please contact Program Coordinator, Emily Machernis at email@example.com or call (808)572-5700.
About Whale Trust Maui:
Whale Trust Maui is a Maui-based non-profit organization whose mission is to promote, support, and conduct scientific research on whales and the marine environment, and broadly communicate the findings to the public. Its founders are passionate scientists and explorers who believe that science—the quest for answers to the most intriguing questions about our natural world—lies at the heart of environmental education and conservation. Whale Trust Maui’s research programs focus on exploring the natural communication, behavior patterns, and social organization of whales. But Whale Trust Maui seeks to do more than fund groundbreaking field research on our earth’s largest marine mammals. Results from Whale Trust Maui’s field research are the basis for a broader program of outreach and education that involve the public, educators, and a new generation of researchers whom Whale Trust Maui hopes to inspire. For more information, visit www.whaletrust.org or call (808) 572-5700.
The WHALE TALES 2016 Presenter Lineup has been announced!
SUSAN CASEY, award-winning journalist and ocean lover, is the author of three New York Times bestsellers, most recently, Voices in the Ocean: A Journey into the Wild and Haunting World of Dolphins. Formerly editor of O, The Oprah Magazine, Susan also worked on Outside magazine’s editorial team, producing the blockbuster stories Into Thin Air, The Perfect Storm, and Blue Crush.
JIM DARLING, Ph.D. has led research programs on humpback and gray whales for over 35 years, and is a cofounder of Whale Trust Maui. Since the mid-1990’s, Jim has focused on describing the social function of humpback whale song. This year, Jim will present his latest findings on the similarities and differences of humpback whale songs across the Pacific Ocean.
BETH GOODWIN has spent more than 30 years identifying marine mammals throughout the Eastern Tropical Pacific. Presently she is the Vice President of Hawaii Operations for The Jupiter Research Foundation, a non-profit scientific research organization developing marine technology to better monitor the world’s oceans.
RALPH LEE HOPKINS travels to the world’s wildest places with Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic; he is the Director of Expedition Photography for the National Geographic fleet. He’s photographed expeditions from the Arctic to the Antarctic and his work appears regularly in National Geographic publications. His most recent book is Nature Photography: Documenting the Wild World.
ED LYMAN is Large Whale Entanglement Response Coordinator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). From Maui, he coordinates community-based response efforts surrounding entangled large whales around the state, in Alaska and along the U.S. West Coast. Ed has participated in over 70 disentanglements. He also works with fishermen to create “whale-safe” gear and fishing practices.
GREG MACGILLIVRAY has produced and directed many of the most successful films ever shown in IMAX® theatres, including Everestand the Academy Award-nominated films The Living Sea and Dolphins. With 37 giant screen films to his credit, MacGillivray has shot more 70mm film than anyone in cinema history. Greg will present his latest film, Humpback Whales, at Whale Tales.
JOHN MORAN is a research fisheries biologist with the Recruitment, Energetics, and Coastal Assessment program at the Auke Bay Lab in Juneau, He is the principal investigator for the Gulf Watch Alaska long-term monitoring program funded by the Exxon Valdez oil spill Trustee Council, monitoring the impacts of recovering humpback whale populations on herring populations.
CHUCK NICKLIN is an Emmy-Award winning cinematographer and photographer with over 40 years of underwater cinematography experience and film credits that include: The Abyss, The Deep, Never Say Never, Gentle Giants of the Pacific, Nomads of the Deep, and In the Company of Whales. Chuck’s new book, Camera Man, was released in 2015 and chronicles his adventurous life and career.
FLIP NICKLIN is a world-renowned underwater photographer who has spent his 40-year career specializing in the photography of marine mammals, especially whales and dolphins. He is a contributing photographer at National Geographic magazine and is a cofounder of Whale Trust Maui.
KENNETH O’BRIEN has spent his career sharing the science and wonders of nature and has taught environmental education in Alabama, Colorado and Washington. When he is not serving as a naturalist and expedition leader aboard ships in Alaska and Hawaii, he works with long-time colleague Fred Sharpe at the Alaska Whale Foundation investigating the historical ecology of North Pacific whales.
FRED SHARPE, Ph.D. has been conducting award-winning research into the behavior of humpback whales—particularly bubble net feeding– for more than 25 years. He is co-author/illustrator of Wild Plants of the San Juan Islands, Birding in the San Juan Islands andVoyaging with the Whales. Fred is principal investigator with the Alaska Whale Foundation and volunteers with the Alaska Stranding Network.
JONATHAN STERN, Ph.D. is a faculty member at San Francisco State University where he studies marine ecosystems with an emphasis on cetaceans. He is a leading expert on minke whales, and recently charted the amazing recovery of harbor porpoises in San Francisco Bay. Jon will be discussing the potential impacts of environmental change on recovering populations of humpback whales.
OLGA VON ZIEGESAR began studying the humpback whales of Prince William Sound in Alaska in 1980 and has gained a unique perspective on this relatively small and stable group of humpback whales. She has documented each individual and followed their long-term associations and social groups over 30 years and will present the results of her study with colleague, Beth Goodwin.
MARTY WOLFF is a fine art photographer who specializes in marine life, especially the humpback whales off Maui. He is the exclusive photographer for Maui Whale Watch magazine. His art can be found in shops and galleries on Maui as well as the other islands. He will talk about the critical role of art in marine conservation.
“The Future of Whale Research”
Up and Coming Whale Research from the Next Generation, featuring:
YAIYR ASTUDILLO-SCALIA is pursuing a PhD degree with concentration on cetacean studies at Arizona State University, where she conducts research on humpback whales in Maui, Hawaii in collaboration with Whale Trust Maui. Her doctorate research focuses on how hormones may correlate with behaviors commonly observed on Maui’s breeding and calving grounds.
MAURICIO CANTOR is a PhD candidate at Dalhousie University, Canada, under the supervision of Dr. Hal Whitehead, studying the interplay between society and culture of sperm whales off the Galápagos Islands. His research aims to describe patterns in non-human societies, reveal the potential mechanisms that generate them and model the spread of information through populations.
MERRA HOWE developed an interest in acoustics and marine mammals shortly after graduating from Vassar College with a degree in Biology. She worked in Kona and in Alaska, where she studied beluga whales. She currently is pursuing a Marine Biology degree at the University of Hawaii-Manoa, focusing on using acoustics as a conservation and management tool for threated cetacean populations.
LAUREN SHOEMAKER fell in love with whales and ecology as a six-year-old on a Maui vacation, where she heard humpbacks singing for the first time. Now, Lauren is a PhD candidate at the University of Colorado Boulder studying ecological phenomena ranging from sperm whale social structure and the evolution of cetacean’s body size to processes that promote biological diversity in grasslands.
With Special Guests:
DR. RACHEL CARTWRIGHT is the lead researcher of the Keiki Kohola Project, a locally based, non-profit research organization. Rachel began her career in whale research as a naturalist working here on Maui, and was always drawn to the youngest whales, the Keiki Kohola. Rachel’s research focuses on early development in baleen whales; she holds a PhD in Conservation Biology, teaches bio-statistics at Cal State University Channel Islands, and continues to run the Keiki Kohola Project research program. The mission of the Project is to ensure that humpback whale mother and calf pairs are fully protected during their time in Hawaiian waters. To this end, the KKP team conducts management-oriented research to help preserve this region as a nursery, where humpback whale mothers can safely raise their young calves.
DR. MEAGAN JONES GRAY has been leading whale research and education programs in Hawaii for over twenty years. Her commitment to bridging marine science with education and conservation programs around whales and their natural environment helped lead to the founding of Whale Trust Maui, where she now serves as the executive director. For the last 20 years, Meagan has worked in and between these two disciplines, leading and working on cetacean research programs in Hawaii, Australia, Africa, Alaska, Canada and in the South Pacific, while creating and developing marine education and interpretation programs for schoolchildren, college students, naturalists, and the general public. In 1997, Meagan was honored with a national award from the National Marine Educator’s Association for her work in marine education. Her research focuses on the natural behavior and communication of whales, especially as it relates to reproduction. In addition to her work with Whale Trust Maui, she is currently working with the University of Hawaii Maui College to help develop four-year degree opportunities in the marine sciences.
DR. MARC LAMMERS, is a co-founder and the President of Oceanwide Science Institute. He is also an Associate Researcher at theHawaii Institute of Marine Biology and is on the Graduate Faculty of the University of Hawaii’s Marine Biology Graduate Program. He holds a B.A. and a Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Hawaii. His research interests are diverse, but generally focused on marine bioacoustics, cetacean behavior and the effects of anthropogenic activities on marine life. Marc is an active collaborator with many researchers in Hawaii and around the world, and is a teacher/mentor to undergraduate and graduate students. He has worked on projects focused on a variety of topics and marine organisms, including dolphins, whales, corals, fish and turtles.
JASON STURGIS, is an independent cameraman who has been filming wildlife since 2002. He grew up in Gardnerville, Nevada, but spent time on the British Columbia coast and Maui where he learned to dive at age 8. He got his start working for Whale Trust on Maui, Hawai’i, documenting whale behavior both above and below the surface. Jason has been an avid diver for over 25 years and his love of the ocean that led him to pursue camera work and documentary filmmaking. Jason runs his own production company, Open Ocean Productions, and his work has been featured on the National Geographic channel, Animal Planet, Discovery Canada, NDR Germany, Dan Rather Reports, ABC’s Pacific Adventures, and NBC’s Today show. In 2007, Jason joined the Board of Directors of the Institute of Nautical Archeology. He currently is based in Victoria, British Columbia where he lives with his wife and baby girl.
Featured Artists and Photographers:
DOUG HOFFMAN’s black and white Humpback & Sperm Whale portraiture has received international acclaim. His work can be found in galleries, book & museums. For the last decade, he has led dozens of photographic whale expeditions to Tonga. He is based on Maui.
Sherri Reeve Designs
(Maui, Hawaii) December 7, 2015 – “Imagine a heartbeat,” says Dr. Jim Darling, Research Biologist of Whale Trust Maui, describing the series of low frequency sounds known as “pulse trains” he recorded near humpback whales off the coast of Maui, Hawaii. These mysterious sounds are the subject of a recently published paper in the Journal of Acoustic Society of America (JASA), the result of studies supported Whale Trust and the National Geographic Society.
At around 40 Hz, the sounds are much lower frequency than typical humpback whale sounds (80-4000Hz). While other large whales and some land mammals such as elephants are known to use very low frequency sounds (even infrasounds below human hearing) this is the first report of their potential existence in humpbacks.
Just above the lower threshold of human hearing (20 Hz), these sounds can be easily masked by ocean waves, vessel noise or the more typical sounds of nearby humpbacks during their busy winter assembly off Maui. Darling describes them as “ethereal” and difficult to hear except on exceptionally quiet, calm days at sea.
If these mysterious sounds can be conclusively linked to the humpbacks, this would add a whole new dimension to the already complex repertoire found in this species’ communication.
“The first time I heard them, or realized I heard them, was in 2005 when recording social sounds from an active group of eight whales,” explained Darling. “Although I have recorded samples since, it took a long and particularly good recording of a male-female pair in 2013, to convince me they were real.”
Humpback whales are well-known for singing long, complex songs, for shorter grunts groans, whistles and throbs called “social sounds”, and even for sounds resulting from physical slaps made by flukes and flippers or bubble trains. Separate underwater video taken at the same time as the 2013 sound recording showed no bubble production or other behaviors that might provide a ready explanation.
Recorded only a few times each year off Maui over the last decade, Darling cautions that while we cannot be 100% certain the humpbacks produced these sounds, on this last instance, they were recorded within 100 meters of the whales. Any fluctuation in volume appeared to match the whales’ approach to the boat, and no other species of whales were known to be in the area at the time.
Adds Darling, “We have a long way to go on understanding this – but its does remind of us of how very, very little we know about these animals.”
Dr. Jim Darling will be one of the renowned featured presenters at Whale Trust’s 10th Annual Whale Tales educational event, held from February 12th – 15th, 2016 at The Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, Maui. Darling will share his latest findings into the similarities and differences of humpback whale songs across the Pacific Ocean. Presentations are free and open to the public.
About Whale Trust Maui
Whale Trust Maui is a Maui-based non-profit organization whose mission is to promote, support, and conduct scientific research on whales and the marine environment, and broadly communicate the findings to the public. Research led by Whale Trust Maui scientists has been featured in documentaries on the BBC, the Discovery Channel, National Geographic International, National Public Radio, the Today show, PBS, NHK (Japanese National Broadcasting) and in National Geographic magazine (1999, 2007). The team is also featured in the IMAX film Humpback Whales 3D (2015).
For more information visit: https://whaletrust.org
LINK to full research article: http://scitation.aip.org/content/asa/journal/jasa/138/5/10.1121/1.4935070
To schedule an interview with Whale Trust Maui, please contact us.
Humpback babies are born into some of the most beautiful water in the world—the warm, glimmering blues of the subtropics. Typically 4 to 5 meters in length, they are, like any baby animal, cute, endearing and a little out of control. They spend most of their first few weeks traveling with their mothers as they navigate through encounters with one or many males. They alternate between bouts of energetic flipping and flopping around the mother, then resting quietly tucked under her flipper or chin, or riding (slipstreaming) above her mouth. They have challenges with coordination and diving. Sometimes they cannot reach the depths where their moms are resting and end up flopping back to the surface, floating up tail first. Often the calf will twirls its body and swim upside down.
They are also very curious. They have no fear of boats or researchers, with mothers often having to retrieve them from their explorations. While their curiosity makes them fun to watch and easy to interact with, it also puts them at risk for collisions which is one of the reasons it is so important to practice safe boating practices while whale watching.
Mothers with a young calf are often found resting. Typically, the mother lies in a horizontal position approximately 15 to 50 feet deep and the calf will position itself directly below the mother’s chin or tucked under a flipper. The calf needs to breathe at shorter intervals than the mother and therefore rises to the surface alone every few minutes to blow and inhale three or four times while swimming in a circular pattern above its mom. The calf then dives back down to its mother. There is frequent touching between mother and calf.
Though grown humpbacks feed only in the summer feeding grounds, calves must feed in Hawaii and rely entirely on their mother’s milk. Calves nurse throughout their first winter, and through much of their first year of life. They can nurse either stationary or while moving—a skill that serves them well when migrating. The process of weaning is believed to begin between six and ten months of age on the summer feeding grounds, where more solid food is taken, and ends with separation from the mother after the first feeding season.
Like other baby mammals, newborn humpbacks love to play! Mimicry of the mother, or the male escort, is common newborn behavior in Hawaii and includes breaches, spy hops, tail throws and other common adult behaviors. They also play with objects in their environment such as sticks, boats or even a diver! They do now, however, play with each other, and seem to be prohibited from doing so by their mothers.
At Whale Trust we are lucky to have the most dedicated, hard working and loyal supporters an organization could ask for. Sophie Greeno is no exception to this rule. From pre-event planning meetings, to spreading the word about the work we do to jumping in last minute to do whatever is needed during the hectic Whale Tales weekend, Sophie is always willing to be an advocate and true supporter of Whale Trust.
We are truly grateful for her support, dedication and passion for the work we do. Thank you Sophie!