Subject: Whale migration

S. Jones (
Wed, 18 Nov 1998 12:49:20 -0800 (PST)

On Tue, 17 Nov 1998 wrote
> Bete,
>     Thanks for responding.  My students have to show the following:
>  1.  Find a problem.
>  2.  Research it.
>  3.  Form a hypothesis.
>  4.  Test hypothesis/Collect data/must be in metrics
>  5.  Conclusion
>    Again...she is so enthusiastic about the whale migration...would like to be
> able to say ok to this one.   Thanks again...frustrated science
> teacher...Cinda
Dear Cinda,

There is probably the most information on the gray whale migration down
the Pacific coast of North America.  The Whalnet page has a satellite tag
on one right whale that your student could look at.  But, I am not sure
how much information she can get for an entire project.  If she wanted to
do a project on the gray whale migration, here is a potential scenario:

1.  The gray whale population was once on the Endangered Species List.
2.  It was removed from the list in 1994 because the population has almost
grown to its level before commercial whaling began.
3.  The migration is from Alaska (where they feed) to Baja (where they
mate and have their young).  This occurs every year.  The southbound
migration is approximately December - early February, northbound migration
is early February to early April.
4.  The Mexican government is endorsing the development of salt mines that
could affect the habitat the gray whales need for breeding and mating.

Your student could look at the potential implications that the development
of these mines might have on the population.

There is a lot of literature available on this subject.  Environmental
groups such as the National Resources Defense Council have info. on their
web pages.  Although I would suggest going to the library to find info. on
the whales and the migration.

Hope this helps you with your student.