Research

Galapagos Science Center team first to tag blue whales

Blue whales are rising in population globally, but little data has been collected regarding their movements and habits in the Galapagos.

Blue whale flukes are shown occasionally when the whales are going for a dive, which is also a way of identifying individuals.
Blue whale flukes are shown occasionally when the whales are going for a dive, which is also a way of identifying individuals. (Image courtesy of Center for Galapagos Studies)

In late September 2021, Galapagos Science Center researcher Dani Alarcón set off on an excursion to attempt something that had not been done before — tagging blue whales in the Galapagos waters. Blue whales are thought to be rising in population globally, yet surprisingly little data has been collected regarding their movements and habits, especially in Galapagos. That is, until now.

In collaboration with Hector Guzman, an expert in megafauna movements and experienced researcher on tagging marine mammals from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Alarcón and her team recently returned from a 10-day excursion in the tropical waters surrounding the Galapagos where they are the first researchers to ever successfully tag a blue whale in the Galapagos. The research team managed to tag 10 blue whales in total — enabling a variety of data to be collected moving forward to better understand migratory patterns of the largest animal to ever exist.

Read more about the whale tagging program.