The drastic decrease in tourism in 2020 has had positive impacts both for whales and the scientists who study them. Scientists previously found that, when surrounded by whale watching boats, whales call out less and they call out louder -– an alteration of their social behavior. Without tourist boats, scientists have an unprecedented opportunity to study the whales in more natural conditions. This year “we’re going to see how these humpback whales are interacting with their environment instead of how they’re interacting with us,” said researcher Michelle Fournet. “It’s the first time in human history we’ve had the technological ability to listen to these whales in a meaningful way without us interfering…. It’s a really really big deal."

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