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OR&R Lecture Series: Dr. Chris Barker on Tracking Whale Carcasses

JUNE 1, 2020 — "Towards thee I roll… to the last I grapple with thee” - Captain Ahab’s last words in “Moby Dick.”  On Thursday May 28, OR&R’s weekly lecture series YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW featured Dr. Chris Barker of the Emergency Response Division discussing the art and science of tracking whale carcasses. 

Map of whale search
Image credit: NOAA.

Like a good sleuth in a detective mystery, Dr. Barker helps the NOAA Marine Fisheries Service determine the location of a ship strike by “hindcasting” a whale’s drift over several days or even weeks. Conversely, Chris helps officials in California decide where to tow and release whales bodies having died of natural causes such that they do not eventually land on a state shoreline. Grim business, to be sure, but the questions from the nationwide audience came fast and furious and ranged from applications for search-and-rescue to whale population tracking.

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Lecture series poster.
Image credit: NOAA.
Last updated Monday, June 8, 2020 10:41am PDT