Subject: Humpback Whales in the Winter

Tom Ford (tjfketos@devo.ultranet.com)
Wed, 4 Dec 96 08:32:32 -0500

>>Where do humpback whales migrate to in the winter months??
Dear Mike Phelps,
     
     Simply put most humpback whales migrate to warmer waters in the 
winter. Winter, you must remember ,  comes in two flavors, northern and 
southern. In the northern winter humpbacks move southward toward the 
equator. Conversely , southern hemisphere whales move northward toward 
the equator in the southern winter. These movements are temporal 
opposites. The northern whales move north to feed at the same time 
southern whales move north to reproduce and vice versa.

     In the Western Atlantic humpbacks move to the area of the West 
Indies. The best known areas are Silver Bank , north of the Dominican 
Republic and the Mona Passage off of Puerto Rico. In the Pacific , whales 
from Alaska move generally to Hawaii. While whales from the central to 
northern California coasts move to Baja Mexico and the Islas De 
Revillagigedo, there are known crossovers of individual whales from both 
northern Pacific areas to the southern Pacific sites. 

     The Pacific also has the only known regular crossing of the equator 
in these migrations. Whales from the Antarctic feeding area have been 
shown to migrate to the Islas De Gorgonas off Ecuador. There has been no 
identified interaction between Northern hemisphere populations with 
Southern population whales. 

     This is an example of how a simple question can have a very complex 
answer. The best questions are simple ones.  Thank you . 

     Dr. Tom Ford