The Humpback Whale Studies Program is the longest continuous research program at CCS. It is also one of the most detailed and long-term studies of a baleen whale population. The overarching goal of our work is to advance understanding of humpback whale biology, population status and human impacts. We maintain scientific collaborations with researchers and their institutions worldwide. The program also provides information and data to state, federal and international managers of this species.


The cornerstone of our research is the Gulf of Maine humpback whale population, which has been under continuous study since the 1970s. CCS is the only institution to routinely monitor this population across its feeding range in both U.S. and Canadian waters. Our Gulf of Maine Humpback Whale Catalog is a synthesis of more than three decades of research on unique individuals. It combines detailed data on life history, behavior, spatial distribution, human impacts and laboratory studies such as molecular genetics. The catalog is the foundation of our Gulf of Maine research and is meticulously curated and updated to maintain its unique scientific value. New techniques for determining pregnancy, health, age and relatedness in large whales are also being developed and ground-truthed with these data.


CCS images taken under NOAA permit #16325