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In 1980 a group of scientists censusing marine mammals in the Bay of Fundy was astonished at the sight of 25 right whales. It was, one scientist later recalled, "like finding a brontosaurus in the backyard." Until that time, scientists believed the North Atlantic right whale was extinct or nearly so. The sightings electrified the research community, spurring a quarter century of exploration, which is documented here.
The authors present our current knowledge about the biology and plight of right whales, including their reproduction, feeding, genetics, and endocrinology, as well as fatal run-ins with ships and fishing gear. Employing individual identifications, acoustics, and population models, Scott Kraus, Rosalind Rolland, and their colleagues present a vivid history of this animal, from a once commercially hunted commodity to today's life-threatening challenges of urban waters.
Hunted for nearly a millennium, right whales are now being killed by the ocean commerce that supports our modern way of life. This book offers hope for the eventual salvation of this great whale.
* Preface * List of Marine Species * Abbreviations * Right Whales in the Urban Ocean Scott D. Kraus and Rosalind M. Rolland * Near-Annihilation of a Species: Right Whaling in the North Atlantic Randall R. Reeves, Tim D. Smith, and Elizabeth A. Josephson * Right Whales Tell Their Own Stories: The Photo-Identification Catalog Philip K. Hamilton, Amy R. Knowlton, and Marilyn K. Marx * Surveying for Discovery, Science, and Management Moira W. Brown, Scott D. Kraus, Christopher K. Slay, and Lance P. Garrison * Enormous Carnivores, Microscopic Food, and a Restaurant That's Hard to Find Mark F. Baumgartner, Charles A. Mayo, and Robert D. Kenney * High Investment, Low Return: The Strange Case of Reproduction in Eubalaena glacialis Scott D. Kraus, Richard M. Pace III, and Timothy R. Frasier * Right Whales Past and Present as Revealed by Their Genes Timothy R. Frasier, Brenna A. Mcleod, Roxanne M. Gillett, Moira W. Brown, and Bradley N. White * The Inner Whale: Hormones, Biotoxins, and Parasites Rosalind M. Rolland, Kathleen E. Hunt, Gregory J. Doucette, Lora G. Rickard, and Samuel K. Wasser * External Perspectives on Right Whale Health Rosalind M. Rolland, Philip K. Hamilton, Marilyn K. Marx, Heather M. Pettis, Carolyn M. Angell, and Michael J. Moore * Acoustic Communication: Social Sounds and the Potential Impacts of Noise Susan E. Parks and Christopher W. Clark * Listening to Their World: Acoustics for Monitoring and Protecting Right Whales in an Urbanized Ocean Christopher W. Clark, Douglas Gillespie, Douglas P. Nowacek, and Susan E. Parks * Right Whale Mortality: A Message from the Dead to the Living Michael J. Moore, William A. Mclellan, Pierre-Yves Daoust, Robert K. Bonde, and Amy R. Knowlton * The Entangled Lives of Right Whales and Fishermen: Can They Coexist? Amanda J. Johnson, Scott D. Kraus, John F. Kenney, and Charles A. Mayo * Running the Gauntlet: Right Whales and Vessel Strikes Amy R. Knowlton and Moira W. Brown * Right Whales and Climate Change: Facing the Prospect of a Greenhouse Future Robert D. Kenney * The Big Picture: Modeling Right Whales in Space and Time Lance P. Garrison * The Urban Whale Syndrome Scott D. Kraus and Rosalind M. Rolland * Appendix A: Permit Information * Appendix B: Opportunistic Contributors to the Right Whale Catalog * Appendix C: Other Resources * Acknowledgments * Contributors * Index
Scott D. Kraus is Director, Edgerton Research Laboratory at New England Aquarium. Rosalind M. Rolland is Senior Scientist/Policy Analyst, Global Marine Programs and Research at New England Aquarium.
[T]his book deserves to be studied with care by all marine biologists, but certainly read as well by everyone concerned with the cavalier relationship we have with the wildlife with which we share the planet. -- Arthur Westing Brattleboro Informer 20070308 Some readers might be put off by a book of nearly 600 pages written by a group of 35 scientists, but they shouldn't be, at least in the case of The Urban Whale. Those who have seen a whale, or hope to see one someday, will find much of interest in this comprehensive resource on North Atlantic right whales...[T]here are captivating descriptions of right whale behavior and clear, concise summaries throughout this book, as well as 32 pages of color photographs and illustrations. -- Lee Bumsted Gulf of Maine Times 20070701 In all, the authors have done an admirable job in putting this volume together. It is a visual delight, with a nice section of color plates in the Lentex, and well reproduced black and white illustrations throughout. The book succeeds in being a valuable reference to those in the field, by providing a useful summary of our current knowledge. It also serves as a valuable work for students, both undergraduate and graduate, by providing them with promising avenues of study that could be undertaken to advance our state of knowledge. It is also a powerful tool for managers who need this compendium at their fingertips...[It] should be on the shelf of everyone with an interest in this highly endangered and urbanized whale species. -- Mason Weinrich Marine Technology Society Journal 20070401 Whales depend on sound for intraspecies communication, and according to one of the studies republished in this book "the chance of two animals hearing each other today has been reduced to 10 percent of what it was one hundred years ago." Add imprecise (but real) threats such as general habitat loss and degradation, and, of course, climate change, and you begin to understand why the North Atlantic right whale is under siege. Will we stand by and watch the last of the great whales vanish? Scott D. Kraus and Rosalind M. Rolland, who wrote the final chapter of The Urban Whale, are not optimistic, but they are not without hope. -- Richard Ellis Times Literary Supplement 20070928 The book has been superbly edited, and to my mind each chapter is as clear, concise, informative, and downright pleasant to read as the next. While it is certainly a science treatise written by the world's experts on the species, there is much intelligently summarized information, and very little in the way of primary figures and tables to bog us down. Instead, black and white photos are sprinkled throughout, and a color plate section occurs in the middle, to illustrate the whales themselves, their behavior, research techniques, and aspects of habitat such as temperature and chlorophyll. Each chapter begins with a personal vignette, in logbook fashion, of an experience with a particular whale, a thought about conservation management needs, or a similar non-scientific treatise. These notes lend a personal, almost romantic, air to the text...I recommend The Urban Whale for all those interested in whales, problems of fishing and shipping, and marine vertebrate conservation. I also recommend it to students and educators who wish to discover first-hand how superb thought and editing can produce one of the finest books on a marine mammal I have read in quite some time. -- Bernd Wuaut&rsig Quarterly Review of Biology 20070901