Citizen Science: Dr. Jorge Urban & Humpback Whale Research

Dive with a Purpose and Study Humpback Whales with Dr. Jorge Urban on the Quino El Guardian Liveaboard!

March 15-24, 2017

Dr. Jorge Urban

Humpback Whale Research

Enjoy two dives a day experiencing all of the magic the Socorro Islands has to offer - giant Manta rays, seven species of sharks, Jacks and more.  Then spend the afternoon in inflatables following humpback whales.

The primary work will be photo-identification of the humpback whales with the photograph of the ventral side of the flukes (tail) and collection of skin samples and songs recordings

Dr. Urban also involves divers on the photograph selection and cataloging of the whale identification photos and the process to prepare and store the skin samples.

With the photo-id catalog, it is possible to do abundance estimations, establish movements, residency, and birth rates of the whales. The skin samples will be used to do genetic, physiology and contaminant studies. The songs will help to understand the reproductive behavior and differences among populations.

Dr. Urban has extensive data that has been collected over the last 20 years of research which he will share at daily presentations to the divers. Presentations will be limited to a maximum of one hour each and subjects will include: Diversity and evolution of the whales, a summary of his past photo ID and genetic work to define movements and distinguish their populations in the North Pacific, reproductive strategy of the whales, new techniques in the study of the whales, and challenges of the whale’s conservation.

You can download the flyer here:  Citizen_Science_Urban_2017_rev3



Dr. Jorge Urbán is a Professor of the Department of the Coastal and Marine Sciences of the Autonomous University of Baja California Sur at La Paz, B.C.S. were he has worked for 30 years. He received his Ph. D. from the National University of México (UNAM). He began his research on whales since 1982, when he initiated the first long term study on humpbacks in Mexico. Jorge has presented papers on this topic at more than 70 international meetings, and has written more than 100 scientific publications about the great whales and dolphins of the Gulf of California. He has special interest on the fin, humpback and gray whales, as well of beaked whales from the Mexican Pacific. From 1991 to 1993 he was president of the Mexican Marine Mammologist Society (SOMEMMA).  He is chairman of the Subcommittee of Whale-watching of the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission, and member of the Cetacean Specialist Group of the IUCN.  He currently is advisor of four PhD and 6 Master students and serves on dissertation committees of 6 others. He is the founder and leader of the Marine Mammal Research Program of the UABCS.