Cassia Foley

McGill University
M.Sc. candidate

Supervisor: Virginie Millien
Hector Guzman, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
Start: 2018-09-04
End: 2020-08-15


Investigating the effects of climate change on the migration patterns of humpback whales and assessing vessel collision risk
The humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae, is a philopatric, migratory species with a range distributed along continental coasts and tropical oceanic islands. Through the use of species distribution modelling, I am examining how climate change is expected to affect the whales’ migration paths and distributions in the Southern Hemisphere. Additional to the negative implications associated with a changing climate, marine mammals are particularly vulnerable to a number of human-induced stressors including by-catch incidental to commercial fisheries, industrial noise, and ship-shrike. To address this issue, I am also investigating the risk that vessels pose to these whales as their distribution ranges shift to track current climatic conditions.