Marine Ecotourism and Humpback Whales

23 Aug

Hervey Bay’s Humpback Whale Watching season kicked off again in early August.  Each year thousands of people from around the world to head to Hervey Bay where these creatures of the deep take time out of their migration schedule to socialise in the warm waters off Fraser Island – one of only two places in the world where they do this.

In early September PhD Student and Humpback Researcher Melinda Rekdahl will present a series of guest lectures at Kingfisher Bay Resort on Hervey Bay’s visiting Humpback Whales.  August 2010

Humpback whales are part of the order Cetacea which contains two sub orders; sub order Odontoceti (toothed whales) and sub order Mysteceti (baleen whales).

Humpback whales are found in all oceans around the world and are well known for their large annual migrations, the longest migration of any mammal, traveling several thousands of kilometers to mate and give birth in warm tropical waters.

There are two distinct populations of humpback whales that migrate up the east and west coast of Australia with limited amounts of interchange of individuals between populations.

The east Australian humpback whale population is the most well studied population in the world while on migration which is mainly due to the whales’ close proximity to the coast of Australia on their way to and from their winter breeding grounds.

The east Australian humpback whales are presumed to breed off the coast between central and northern Queensland though the exact location is still unknown.

Humpback whales are well known for their complex songs that males will produce as a reproductive display. Humpbacks also produce a complex array of social sounds, which they produce in close range social interactions, and these are produced by both males and females.

These sounds are thought to play and important part in the lives of humpback whales and a lot of research is currently focused on the function and complexity of these different sounds.

Humpbacks also produce a number of different social sounds that both males and females produce when in social groups. During my presentations at Kingfisher Bay Resort I will focus on our current understanding of humpback whale behaviour and communication and will focus on how and why humpbacks produce these sounds.

I will also talk about some of the exciting research that we are doing on the function and complexity of the social communication of the population that are migrating past our coastline here in South-East Queensland.  Hope to see you there.

To learn more about Melinda’s special guest presentations – visit

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Posted by on August 23, 2010 in Guest Bloggers


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