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2023: Saved by the Whales: Science, Art, and Public Outreach

From late 2013 through 2016, an intense marine heat wave swept the northeastern Pacific Ocean. Ecological disruptions were identified throughout the ocean food web, and drops in abundance and reproduction were observed in the humpback whale population that migrates through this geographic area. The Saved by the Whales team – made up of scientists and artists with decades of experience in humpback whale song research and public engagement – will study the impact of the heat wave on the structure and complexity of humpback whale song, a critical breeding display. Following completion of the research, the team will re-engage the public’s curiosity with the songs of the humpback whales against the threat of climate change by using multiple and diverse media spanning disciplines – from bioacoustics to music, documentary filmmaking to art installation, scientific articles to popular nonfiction.

Investigators: Annie Lewandowski and Katy Payne (Cornell CALS/Lab of Ornithology)

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