USGS biologist Sarah Schoen said the project started about five years ago when a major heat wave, known as “the blob,” hit the ocean. Around the same time, there was a die-off of an estimated million common murres — a northern seabird — from Alaska down to California.
It took five and a half hours and 10 people to take photos and notes, collect tissue samples and examine the whale for signs of trauma.
According to NOAA, over 180 gray whales have washed up dead along the West Coast so far this year. But each new specimen adds a little more clarity for scientists.
Marine mammal responders have wrapped-up efforts to try and disentangle a southeast humpback whale after removing more gillnet from the animal late last week.