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Whale Research Expeditions
in Hervey Bay

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| Photo-Identification | Genetic Data | Collaboration | DNA Analysis | Habitat Monitoring |

Long-term Photo-identification survey
of Humpback whales in Hervey Bay

Owl Claw in 1994Owl Claw was first photographed in Hervey Bay by Trish in 1994 (Above).

He was resighted and photographed annually between 1994 and 1998. He was seen again in 2000 and 2003.

In 1995, 1998 & 2003 (Below) he was observed in the role of an Escort. This suggests he is a male however gender remains to be confirmed from either observation or through DNA analysis.

Owl Claw in 2003

The photo-identification survey was commenced in 1992 and is being undertaken by Trish and Wally Franklin to provide data for a long-term study of the behaviour, social dynamics and ecology of Humpback Whales in Hervey Bay.

The study was approved by the Queensland Environment Protection Agency is being conducted under a scientific permit (WISP037498060).

Trish Franklin's observations and photo-id data of the Hervey Bay Humpbacks from 1992 to 2005, plus historical work by Wally Franklin has already made a significant contribution to documenting the recovery of the East Coast of Australia Humpbacks following near extinction by commerical whaling in Antarctica
(Paton et al 2011) and (Clapham et al 2009)

Trish has taken, digitised and analysed over 75,000 Photo Identification data images of the Hervey Bay Whales. Her Fluke Catalogue consists of over 2821 individuals from the Hervey Bay Humpback Group. This is the largest digital data archive available on the East Coast of Australian Humpback Group.

The data from the long-term photo-identification survey is the basis of Trish Franklin's PhD investigating the 'Social and ecological significance of Hervey Bay to the eastern Asutralian humpback whales'.

Also see Trish's recent publication:
(Franklin et al 2011 Marine Mammal Science)

Eastern Australian humpback Whales are being studied off Byron Bay by Dr. Dan Burns & Dr David Paton and off Ballina by Dr. Dan Burns. They are Collegues at the Southern Cross University Whalr Research Group.

A collaboration between Dan Burns, Dave Paton, Trish Franklin and Wally Franklin involving pooling of photo-id data from Hervey Bay, Byron Bay and Ballina for the years 1999 to 2005 has provided data to investigate:

  • The abundance and recovery of Eastern Australian Humpback whales, see:
    Paton et al 2011

  • The migratory movements of humpback whales photgraphed off the eastern coast of Australia, see:
    Burns et al 2014
Also collaborative photo-identifcation studies with scientist from the South Pacific Whale Research Consortium have yielded new insights into the migratory bvehaviour of eastern Australian Humpback whales, see:
  • Photo-identification confirms that humpback whales from eastern Australia migrate past New Zealand but indicates low levels of interchange with breeding grounds of Oceania, see: Franklin et al. 2014

  • Antarctic waters near the Balleny Islands are a summer feeding area for some eastern Australian Humpback Whales, see: Franklin et al. 2012
Balleny sighting 2006

Hervey Bay sighting 2005

Byron Bay sighting 2004

Each of the fluke photgraphs above are of the same individual humpback whale.

TOP photo was taken near the Balleny Islands in Antarctica on the 14th February 2006.

CENTRE photo was taken in Hervey Bay on the 26th September 2005.

BOTTOM photo was taken off Byron on the 26th July 2004 (Franklin et al 2007)

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