The Guardian: Sperm whales in 19th century shared ship attack information

The Guardian: Sperm whales in 19th century shared ship attack information. “Using newly digitised logbooks detailing the hunting of sperm whales in the north Pacific, the authors discovered that within just a few years, the strike rate of the whalers’ harpoons fell by 58%. This simple fact leads to an astonishing conclusion: that information about what was happening to them was being collectively shared among the whales, who made vital changes to their behaviour. As their culture made fatal first contact with ours, they learned quickly from their mistakes.”

Beached Whale Blow-Up: Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Florence Exploding Whale (Oregon Historical Society)

Oregon Historical Society: Beached Whale Blow-Up: Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Florence Exploding Whale. “On the morning of November 12, 1970, KATU news directors asked reporter Paul Linnman and cameraman Doug Brazil to cover an unusual story taking place on the Oregon coast. A 45-foot sperm whale had washed up on the beach near Florence, Oregon, a few days prior, and the Oregon Highway Division was left to come up with a plan on how best to deal with 8 tons of rotting whale flesh. What caught the attention of the news room in Portland, however, was not the whale itself but the plan of how to best dispose of the carcass: dynamite.” The subsequent video is one of the early viral videos of Internet culture and is why I’m including it here.

Watching over whales: Online tool detects whales and ships in California’s Santa Barbara Channel in near real-time (University of Washington)

University of Washington: Watching over whales: Online tool detects whales and ships in California’s Santa Barbara Channel in near real-time. “Whale Safe combines several technologies: an underwater acoustic system that automatically detects whale calls; near real-time forecasts of whale feeding grounds; and whale sightings by scientists reported through a mobile app. These sources of information are combined into a daily ‘Whale Presence Rating’ on the Whale Safe website — an indicator that describes the likelihood of whales from ‘low’ to ‘very high.’”

Paradise regained then lost: Med mammals mourn lockdown end (AFP)

AFP: Paradise regained then lost: Med mammals mourn lockdown end. “When Europeans retreated into their homes to observe strict stay-at-home rules to contain the coronavirus, dolphins and whales on the Mediterranean coast basked and thrived in a hitherto unknown calm. But the return of tourists, noisy boats and heavy sea transport with the end of lockdowns in France and other Mediterranean littoral countries has signalled the return of danger and harm caused by human activity for underwater creatures.”

The Irish News: Citizen scientists track humpback whale travels with help of social media

The Irish News: Citizen scientists track humpback whale travels with help of social media . “Humpback whales are known to make vast migrations between their breeding and feeding grounds, and are increasingly being seen in UK seas. Now the first ever confirmed record of a UK-sighted whale hundreds of miles away in its summer feeding grounds in the high Arctic has been revealed, after its picture was spotted on Facebook by volunteer ‘citizen scientists’.”

Idaho State University: Idaho Museum of Natural History researchers receive grant to digitally scan bones of California blue whale

Idaho State University: Idaho Museum of Natural History researchers receive grant to digitally scan bones of California blue whale. “The Idaho Museum of Natural History and Idaho State University received a $20,000 award from the National Science Foundation in January to scan the entire skeleton of a blue whale that washed ashore in California. The skeleton is at the Noyo Center for Marine Science in Fort Bragg, California.”

King5: Young orca’s death inspires health database for surviving whales

King5: Young orca’s death inspires health database for surviving whales. “After an intervention to save a dying killer whale calf, one veterinarian is compiling electronic medical records for all of her family members. J50 was declared dead after a month of efforts by scientists to administer antibiotics and even try to feed her. The young whale looked severely emaciated, but no one was sure exactly why. In the aftermath, one of the team members is compiling a database for the whales that survive her.”

Mystic Seaport: World’s Most Comprehensive Whaling History Database Released

Mystic Seaport: World’s Most Comprehensive Whaling History Database Released. “Mystic Seaport, in partnership with the New Bedford Whaling Museum, has developed the world’s most comprehensive whaling history database… Researchers, genealogists, students, teachers, and history buffs alike will find it to be the most robust and useful repository of whaling history documentation and scholarship. The data presented combines many sources including logbooks, journals, ship registers, newspapers, business papers, and custom house records. Users will be able to find and trace whaling voyages and ships to specific logbooks, as well as the list of crew members aboard most of the voyages.”

South Coast Today: New Bedford Whaling Museum collection boasts treasures not often seen by public

South Coast Today: New Bedford Whaling Museum collection boasts treasures not often seen by public. “The key to that semi-locked door into the museum’s massive archives was provided by Whaling Museum Director of Collections D. Jordan Berson, a paper conservator by trade, and the featured speaker at the meeting last Thursday at Russells Mills Schoolhouse. Berson brought along a slideshow featuring some of the hundreds of items on permanent or rotating display at the downtown museum these days, such as the scrimshaw, harpoons, whale skeletons, and the portraits of ships and sea captains that most folks bring home as memories of a visit there. But more interesting were the slides of the thousands of square feet of storage space used to house that portion of the huge historical collection that generally never goes on display and probably never will.”

Now Available: Database of Over 127,000 Men Who Went On Whaling Expeditions Out of New Bedford

Now available: an online database of men who went on whaling expeditions out of New Bedford, Massachusetts. That’s over 127,000 people and spans 1809-1927. “The searchable list includes the sailor’s name, age, job title, home state or country, and in some cases notes physical characteristics, including skin and hair color. It lists men from 33 states, two U.S. territories and more than 100 foreign nations.”

Project Underway to Transcribe Whaling Logbooks

Scientists and historians need your help to transcribe whaling logbooks. “The project, called Old Weather: Whaling, is led by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The whaling museum is transcribing and digitising its own logbooks, as well as original data sources from the Nantucket Historical Association, Martha’s Vineyard museum, Mystic Seaport in Connecticut, and the New Bedford free public library. The digitised logbooks are being posted online so ordinary ‘citizen-scientists’ can help researchers sift through the vast amounts of information.”