Study unveils AI technology reveals 7,000 humpback whales deaths discovery.

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Article Summary


  • Approximately 7,000 humpback whales in the North Pacific Ocean died between 2012 and 2021 due to a marine heatwave.
  • A study used AI technology to match and identify humpback whales, showing a 20% decline in population during the period.

In a groundbreaking study published by Royal Society Open Science, scientists revealed that approximately 7,000 humpback whales in the North Pacific Ocean perished between 2012 and 2021 as a result of a damaging marine heatwave. The study, which combined marine biology with artificial intelligence technology, saw the humpback whale population decline by 20% during this period due to the effects of the prolonged heatwave. This marine heatwave, which lasted from 2013 to 2021, raised water temperatures and led to decreased ocean productivity globally.

The study, led by Dr. Ted Cheeseman, utilized AI-powered automated image recognition to analyze data from 30,000 individual humpback whales across 200,000 encounters, a feat made possible by the AI technology. This method allowed for a more comprehensive analysis of humpback whale populations in the North Pacific, showcasing the substantial decline over the years. The study also highlighted the pivotal role of the Happywhale platform, where researchers and citizen scientists contributed photos and data to further research efforts.

Senior research biologist John Calambokidis emphasized the impact of climate change on long-lived marine species like humpback whales, noting the importance of conservation and protection measures. While humpback whale populations have shown signs of recovery following the ban on commercial whaling in 1986, the study underscored the dire consequences of climate-driven changes on these majestic creatures.

Despite the increase in humpback populations along the U.S. West Coast, the overall trend indicates a decline linked to climate-induced shifts in the marine ecosystem. The study shed light on the broader implications of marine heatwaves, such as food shortages for various marine species, highlighting the urgency of addressing these environmental challenges.

As researchers continue to explore the aftermath of the marine heatwave, the study serves as a warning sign of the profound impact of climate change on marine life and ecosystems. By leveraging AI technology and collaborative efforts, scientists aim to better understand and protect vulnerable species like humpback whales in the face of ongoing environmental changes.

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