This week, the team had 11 encounters in 22 hours with belugas. Two boats were on the water to continue the photo-identification. On board one of them were Robert Michaud and Valeria Vergara, who were undertaking a passive acoustic protocol on the sounds of newborn belugas. GREMM founder Robert Michaud speaks about this new project.

This week: “We are working again with a longtime collaborator and we are relaunching a project that is particularly dear to us. During my stay as resident researcher at the Vancouver Aquarium in 2007-2008, I discovered the work of Valeria Vergara who was studying communication development in beluga newborns. Valeria notably used the recordings we had made in the St. Lawrence to demonstrate the alert function of the first cries learned by young belugas. This week, we are working together in the Saguenay Fjord to assess the possibility of studying the impact of noise on communication between mothers and their calves. In the first few weeks of life, the calves’ “contact” cries are emitted at relatively low frequencies that are potentially more easily masked by the sound of boats. This is a challenging project, but an important one. We managed several very good recordings this week… The pilot project is conclusive. Funding remains to be secured to ensure the kick-off of the project next summer. At the present time, we believe that we will need two or three seasons to conduct this new study.”

Click on the map to navigate with the Bleuvet and discover the highlights of the week! Although this map is only available in French, the image it illustrates goes beyond language.


Yogi – adopted in 1988 by Bell Canada;
Pacalou– adopted in 2006 by Pascale Cauchi;
Pure Laine – adopted in 2014 by Cynthia Fish;
Miss Frontenac – adopted in 2008 by Fairmont Le Château Frontenac;
Blanche – adopted in 2014 by the municipality of Tadoussac;

and DL1508, DL9018…

The complete list of identified belugas requires meticulous efforts to match individuals, which will be undertaken after the field season.

BLV120820_1123Property of the GREMM and the St. Lawrence National Institute of Ecotoxicology, the Bleuvet is a research boat dedicated to the research program on St. Lawrence belugas. Managed by GREMM scientific director Robert Michaud, the Bleuvet crew is composed of Michel Moisan, Tim Perrero and Simon Moisan.

Field Notes - 25/9/2015

Équipe du GREMM

Led by scientific director Robert Michaud, the research team of the Group for Research and Education on Marine Mammals (GREMM) studies St. Lawrence beluga whales and large rorquals (humpback, blue and fin whales) at sea. The Bleuvet and the BpJAM leave the port of Tadoussac every morning to gather valuable information on the life of the whales of the St. Lawrence Estuary.

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