The Urban Whale

Front Cover
Scott D. Kraus, Rosalind M. Rolland
Harvard University Press, Feb 15, 2007 - Nature - 543 pages

In 1980 a group of scientists censusing marine mammals in the Bay of Fundy was astonished at the sight of 25 right whales. It was, one scientist later recalled, “like finding a brontosaurus in the backyard.” Until that time, scientists believed the North Atlantic right whale was extinct or nearly so. The sightings electrified the research community, spurring a quarter century of exploration, which is documented here.

The authors present our current knowledge about the biology and plight of right whales, including their reproduction, feeding, genetics, and endocrinology, as well as fatal run-ins with ships and fishing gear. Employing individual identifications, acoustics, and population models, Scott Kraus, Rosalind Rolland, and their colleagues present a vivid history of this animal, from a once commercially hunted commodity to today’s life-threatening challenges of urban waters.

Hunted for nearly a millennium, right whales are now being killed by the ocean commerce that supports our modern way of life. This book offers hope for the eventual salvation of this great whale.

 

Contents

Right Whales in the Urban Ocean
xvii
NearAnnihilation of a Species Right Whaling in the North Atlantic
35
Right Whales Tell Their Own Stories The PhotoIdentification Catalog
71
Surveying for Discovery Science and Management
101
Enormous Carnivores Microscopic Food and a Restaurant Thats Hard to Find
134
High Investment Low Return The Strange Case of Reproduction in Eubalaena Glacialis
168
Right Whales Past and Present as Revealed by Their Genes
196
The Inner Whale Hormones Biotoxins and Parasites
228
The Entangled Lives of Right Whales and Fishermen Can They Coexist?
376
Running the Gauntlet Right Whales and Vessel Strikes
405
Right Whales and Climate Change Facing the Prospect of a Greenhouse Future
432
The Big Picture Modeling Right Whales in Space and Time
456
The Urban Whale Syndrome
484
Permit Information
510
Opportunistic Contributors to the Right Whale Catalog
512
Other Resources
514

External Perspectives on Right Whale Health
269
Acoustic Communication Social Sounds and the Potential Impacts of Noise
306
Listening to Their World Acoustics for Monitoring and Protecting Right Whales in an Urbanized Ocean
329
Right Whale Mortality A Message from the Dead to the Living
354
Acknowledgments
517
Contributors
521
Index
527
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