Right Whales

Right Whale Breaching

The North Atlantic right whale is one of the most endangered large whales in the world, an estimated 350 remain. The Right Whale research group at the New England Aquarium has been studying the species in its habitat along the eastern seaboard of the US and Canada since 1980. Aquarium researchers seek to identify the distribution, behavior, migration patterns, reproductive rates, genetic information, and causes of mortality.

GIS has proven to be a useful tool for right whale researchers to study geospatial relationships between this species and their environment. Using the 30 year sighting history of this species, we are working to protect this critically endangered species from shipstrikes and fishing gear entanglement, the two leading causes of mortality. Specifically, researchers are studying geospatial distributions and movements of right whales and potential conflicts with shipping traffic (Shipping Lanes), measuing the compliance of vessel regulations to protect the whales from ship strikes (Vessel Monitoring), studying the spatial and temporal overlap of lobster fishing and right whales (Fishing and Whales in Maine), and locating the places where our adopted whales have been seen over a season (Sponsored Whales).

Fluking by ship

For more information about the North Atlantic Right Whale and the New England Aquarium’s Right Whale Research Project please visit these sites:

Right Whale Research at the New England Aquarium

North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium

The North Atlantic Right Whale Catalog


To learn more about other projects, visit the main "Projects" page.