Dive deep into the biology and ecology of beluga whales—some of the world’s most charismatic marine mammals. These highly social cetaceans migrate and feed in large pods that can number into the hundreds and even thousands, including an annual summer gathering of more than 3,000 at the mouth of the Churchill River in Manitoba. Learn all about these small white whales, including the species’ evolutionary journey and specific adaptations to survive in frigid northern waters. Find out how belugas rely on sea ice and other changing elements of the fragile Arctic ecosystem, and why they migrate to more southern estuaries during the warmer months. Expedition Leader and biologist Eleanor Edye will detail the belugas’ many unique characteristics and behaviors, including the astounding repertoire of sounds that have earned these vocal whales the nickname “canaries of the sea.” Eleanor will also describe the conservation challenges and opportunities that different beluga populations face, with a special focus on the Western Hudson Bay population near Churchill.
Originally presented July 12, 2021
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