Understanding minke whale migration, feeding, and population structure in the North Atlantic

Minke whales are common in the North Atlantic, but there are huge gaps in scientific knowledge about the species. Through collaboration with Mériscope, we will attach satellite tags to minke whales that feed in the St Lawrence Estuary (SLE) in the summer to track where they migrate throughout the rest of the year. At the same time, we will collect tissue samples from the SLE minkes, which we will analyze in comparison with minke whales across other parts of the Atlantic. By looking at their genetics, we can identify differences and connectivity between groups, and using other chemical signals in their tissues, we can shed light on the whales’ diet, which in turn can provide information about the larger ecosystem. Overall, having a better understanding of minke whale biology will be essential both to their conservation and to understanding how climate change is affecting the North Atlantic marine landscape.

Haley Land-Miller
Faculty Supervisor: 
Melissa McKinney
Partner University: