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Marine Research, Education and Conservation

We are about half way through our 2023 season. We began with installing a soundtrap acoustic recorder off the Kohala coast in January. It will be recording constantly through the summer. This will help us describe the habitat usage patterns of humpbacks, inform us about anthropogenic noise level, and maybe even pick up spinner dolphin whistles.

Our 2022 Newsletter is now available

HMMC has finished our 2022 field season which took place between January and March. We continued our scan sample data collection and augmented it with acoustic data collection to compare with the visual counts. The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation and the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary helped make this possible. Mahalo! During our research season we had several outreach events, including meeting with over 100 people at our informational booth at the 2022 Wiliwili Festival.

Whale Tales 2022 happened virtually from March 26-27. HMMC had a global check-in and Chris Gabriele presented a talk about Glacier Bay whales.

The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation awarded a grant to HMMC for their proposal "Monitoring Long-term Distribution and Abundance Trends in Humpback Whales off the Kohala Coast of Hawai'i Island". This work will add acoustic monitoring to our longterm visual whale counts.

HMMC has published an article describing 19 years of shore counts in Marine Mammal Science. It describes the rise in local humpback numbers over time and the sudden drop in 2016. The paper discusses how warmer waters in Alaska leads to lower humpback whales numbers in Hawai'i.

HMMC's own Christine Gabriele was recently published an article on the decrease in underwater sound levels during the COVID-19 pandemic in Glacier Bay National Park. You can also see her interviewed by French TV.

Christine Gabriele was featured in the documentary The Year the Earth Changed. She described the changes in the soundscape of Glacier Bay National Park brought on by the pause in vessel traffic. She also described recording possible mom and calf calls

HMMC's own Yin, aka Suzanne Yin, has been named to the inaugural class of Society for Marine Mammalogy Fellows for her consistent collection of high quality cetacean abundance and behavior data. We are so proud of her!

February 2020: Chris Gabriele gave a lecture on "Humpback Whales in Glacier Bay National Park: Navigating Oceans of Change" at the Mokupāpapa Discovery Center in Hilo

December 2019: Chris Gabriele and Adam Frankel presented speed talks at the World Marine Mammal Conference in Barcelona

June 2019: Cornell published an article on our collaboration with Katy Payne and Annie Lewandowski

May 2019: HMMC Data presented at Marine Mammal Commission meeting in Kona

September 2018: Chris Gabriele and others discuss the recent changes in humpback whale numbers

March 2018: Our research into the causes of dermal nodules or "bumps" on humpback whales is featured in Science News!

April 19, 2018: Adam Frankel presented research on predicting humpback acoustic exposure to vessel noise at NOAA headquarters.

The paper describing the work can be downloaded here

News and Publications

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Education and Outreach

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    Presentations to Students

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    Local Public Talks

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    Professional Presentations

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    Pu‘ukoholā Sharks

Get Involved

Mike Hoffhines was part of the University of Hawai‘i Whale Research Project in the 1990's. While he was a Computer Engineer by trade, he remained interested in marine mammals and frequently returned to help HMMC in the field collecting data. He was always a shining light and a talented scientist. Sadly, we lost Mike to cancer in 2013. We all miss him, his humor, and his love for the ocean and its inhabitants

Hawai'i Marine Mammal Consortium
P.O. Box 6107
Kamuela, HI 96743