BC Whales
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Research Projects

Research Projects


SWAG hydrophone project 

In collaboration with the Gitga'at First Nation and WWF-Canada we recently installed a state-of-the-art long baseline hydrophone array in the coastal waters of Squally Channel, west of Gil Island. This array consists of four hydrophones which acoustically monitors a terrain of about 200 km².

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In 2019 we launched a drone-based project, adopting this astounding new and quickly developing technology to study humpback and fin whales non-invasively and from the air. The emerging technology that would compound the value of our long-term efforts the most is drone-based genetic sampling and photography.

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BC Humpback catalogue

In collaboration with MERS and the Pacific Wildlife Foundation, we are building a coast-wide identification catalogue for humpback whales. This project will enable us to understand the broader picture in regards to habitat use and social relationships of humpback whales. 


Coastal Marine Surveys 

During the summer of 2017, we performed an abundance study on humpback whale, fin whale, and orca populations along the northern coast of BC. Special effort was directed towards humpback whale bubble-net feeding behaviour.


Land Based Surveys

For the past 18 years we have been collecting land based data on the occurrence, frequency and behaviours of whales from our land based research platforms. Each hour between sunrise and sunset our researchers conduct a 20 minute scan using large binoculars (BIG EYES) and record all mammal sightings, boat traffic, weather conditions and sea state from each of our research locations.


BC Hydrophone network

The BC Hydrophone Network is a collaboration between BC Whales, Pacific Wild, the Pacific Orca Society (OrcaLab) and the Saturna Island Marine Research & Education Society (SIMRES), each of which operates its own system of hydrophones and research labs on the north, central and south coasts of British Columbia, Canada.