While studying veterinary medicine at Cambridge, Michael J. Moore’s professors often made reference to marine mammals in their physiology lectures. For Michael, these lessons sparked a passion for these animals which has never died. This fascination notably led him to participate in studies of humpback whales in Canada, after which he began his veterinary career in the United States.
During his practice, Michael J. Moore enjoyed his interactions with his clients, whom he describes as “endearing folks.” However, his thoughts were always circling back to the scientific research community: “I always dreamt of using my curiosity to make discoveries and challenge the status quo.” It was this quest that drove him, after earning a joint doctorate at MIT and WHOI in Massachusetts, to switch careers and pursue his first love: studying whales and marine life.
For years, this researcher sampled stranded whale carcasses, in addition to occasionally taking part in disentanglement operations at sea. Initially focused on the pathophysiological reasons behind whale mortality, his interest has since shifted to physical traumas. From the early 2000s, he developed a particular interest in North Atlantic right whales, which are now the focus of much of his research.
His current projects include monitoring flounders in Boston Harbour and studying the impact of wastewater discharged in the region on these populations. The researcher developed this program in 1986 as part of his Ph.D. work. “This is the thesis that will never die,” he says jokingly. He is also conducting a photogrammetry study on North Atlantic right whales. This technique allows researchers to monitor whale health and fitness by taking the animals’ measurements using aerial photographs. Additionally, Michael actively works with the fishing industry to educate the community on issues related to right whale conservation. He also contributes to the development of acoustic fishing gear, i.e. ropeless tackle that has the potential to reduce or even eliminate the entanglement of marine mammals.
In addition to having authored numerous scientific articles, Moore published in 2021 a biographical work entitled We Are All Whalers. It is a touching testimony to the precarious situation of the North Atlantic right whale, as well as the role that everyone plays in the conservation of these giants of the seas.