Scientific techniques

In order to study whales in their natural environment, researchers have had to innovate.

Aerial surveying

How many whales are there? Counting whales is no easy task! To do so, scientists conduct aerial surveys. From high in the air, whales are clearly visible when they surface to breath. They only remain ...

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Analysis of stable isotopes and fatty acids

What did the whales eat? Humpback whale surface feeding Photo credit: © GREMM To understand the diet of a cetacean species, researchers can collect a sample of its feces or analyze the stomach conten...

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Biopsy

An ounce of whale to learn tons Cut of a beluga biopsy Photo credit: © GREMM Genetic secrets, accumulated pollutants and even diet are examples of data that can be collected thanks to a tiny piece of...

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Carcass recovery network

Reading the carcasses When a whale dies, its carcass is often carried by the currents and tides and can wash up on the beach. Scientists study these carcasses in order to know the pollutants and disea...

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Dosage of progesterone

In the females’ bellies Fin whale and its calf Photo credit: © GREMM Progesterone is a steroid hormone secreted by the ovary in female mammals. By analyzing the blood, saliva, eye secretions, f...

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Marine acoustics

Listening in order to see Marine acoustics uses sounds to study the submarine environment. There are active acoustics and passive acoustics. Active acoustics Active acoustics allows to “see̶...

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Photo-identification

Whales have a face! Minke whale Hang Nail Photo credit: © ORES, Ursula Tscherter Every whale is unique. Observe the natural marks such as the pigmentation, colouration and the shape of the dorsal fin...

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Telemetry

Diving into the third dimension Whales only spend 10-20% of their time at the water’s surface. This is often all scientists have to study them. In the St. Lawrence, scientists use satellite and ...

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