Coastal Bend Audubon Society Meeting
Conference Room 127
6300 Ocean Drive, Corpus Christi, TX 78412
Larry D. McKinney, Ph.D., Director of Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies, will be giving a presentation entitled: "There Be Whales in the Gulf of Mexico - Who Knew?"
Doors open at 6:30, presentation starts at 7:00.
This event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.
There be Whales in the Gulf of Mexico – Who Knew...
The Gulf of Mexico may not be the first place you would think to find any whales but surprisingly there is a rich, if not widely known, history and occurrence of the oceans largest mammals across America’s Sea, as many call the Gulf. The “Yankee Whalers” of New England pursued whales into the Gulf over a one-hundred-year period from 1780’s to 1880’s. All the charismatic whale megafauna of the oceans, including blue whales, humpback whales and right whales have been sighted in the Gulf but are so rare as to be dismissed from a discussion of Gulf whales. Altogether, there are 21 species of whales, dolphins and porpoise (collectively known as Cetaceans) that could be called common to the Gulf of Mexico. If you have ridden the ferry between Port Aransas and Aransas Pass you probably have seen the common bottlenose dolphin leaping and even summersaulting in the ferry’s bow wake. Other Cetaceans, like the pygmy and dwarf sperm whales, are secretive - surfacing only briefly before diving after squid, hopefully their own size. Large, or relatively small, in either size and population, the whales, dolphins and porpoise of the Gulf of Mexico face an uncertain future. The Deepwater Horizon, significantly affected many of these iconic animals, from dolphins to sperm whales. To what extent, it is difficult to fully know, perhaps only time will tell. Other challenges exist. For animals, whose primary means of seeing is hearing, what is the effect of an increasingly industrialized Gulf? Our Gulf is a busy place, yet a beautiful one. It is a place where the environment and economy both coexists and contends. For this long-lived, highly intelligent and mostly social charismatic megafauna we know as whales, surfing this balance means life and death. Our responsibility as citizens of the Gulf is to make this possible. We all have a contribution to make and hopefully this presentation will provide an informative and factual base for thoughtful and positive action.