Research of humpback whale song expert Adam Pack featured in virtual screening of documentary, to be followed by live Q&A, Nov. 18

Adam Pack is conducting research on the leeward side of Maui, inside the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, to collect data on whale song to determine if there is a correlation between the quality of the song and the fitness of an individual whale.

Adam Pack underwater with camera and whales.
Adam Pack photographs whales. Courtesy photo.
Adam Pack with snorkel and mask.
Adam Pack

A professor of psychology at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo who specializes in marine mammal behavior will be featured in an upcoming episode of the series Changing Seas on public television.

South Florida PBS and the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary will present a free virtual screening of “Mystery of the Humpback Whale Song” on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020, at 3:00 p.m. EST. Registration is required.

After the screening, guests can participate in an online discussion with experts Adam A. Pack with UH Hilo and Marc Lammers with the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.

“The film features the research Marc and I have been conducting over several years to investigate male humpback whale song in Maui waters,” says Prof. Pack.

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Episode description

Each year, approximately half of the North Pacific humpback whale population migrates roughly three thousand miles from its feeding grounds in Southeastern Alaska to its breeding grounds in Hawaiʻi. While there, the male humpbacks perform their elaborate and haunting song. But what does it mean? And what is the purpose of this beautiful display?

To find out, scientists are conducting research on the leeward side of Maui, inside the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. They collect data on the amplitude of an individual’s song, as well as his size and testosterone levels, to determine if there is a correlation between the quality of the song and the fitness of an individual whale. The scientists are also deploying acoustic suction cup tags on humpback whales to learn how the animals spend their time throughout the day.