Posted by: Colin Battersby | July 1, 2010

Researchers on the humpback highway

During daylight hours until the end of July, if you look up from Frenchman’s Beach at Point Lookout on North Stradbroke Island, researchers will be clustered on a platform there indulging in one of life’s marvels – whale watching.

Biologists and marine mammal experts from around the world are currently completing this year’s Australian East Coast Humpback Whale Survey, which is undertaken by the Cetacean Ecology and Acoustics Lab (CEAL) from the University of Queensland.

“It’s an excellent spot here at Straddie,” says UQ whale researcher Dr David Paton to 612 ABC Brisbane’s Anne O’Keeffe.

“It’s one of the best whale watch spots in the world – we’re right on the edge of the migratory corridor.”

Currently, whales are completing their northern migration, migrating from their feeding grounds in Antarctica up to their breeding grounds in the Great Barrier Reef.

“We’re now at the peak of the migration and we’re getting 100-plus whales a day coming past,” says Dr Paton.

Already this season, researchers have counted more than 900 whales, and spotting them is relatively easy from the viewing platform at Frenchman’s Beach.

“It’s the equivalent to counting sheep come through a gate,” says Dr Paton.

“We know that the bulk of the animals – over 90 per cent – are visible from land at this point on the coast.”

via Researchers on the humpback highway – ABC Brisbane – Australian Broadcasting Corporation.


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