The study area
The calm and protected lagoon waters of Baja California offer the perfect calving and nursing spot for the gray whale (Eschrichtius robustos) eastern population. To reach these spots, this baleen whale species face every year one of the longest migrations of any animals, counting on the energy reserves accumulated in their thick blubber during the summer months spent in the productive Arctic waters.
What makes Laguna Ojo de Liebre, Laguna San Ignacio and Bahía Magdalena so special is considered to be the possibility of protection for the calves and the lactating females from predators and the temperate waters.
In this project will be evaluate if and how the habitat environment influences the physiology of gray whales during their stay in the Mexican waters. Satellite data will give an indication of how physical variables work in the northern and in the southern lagoons, Ojo de Liebre and Bahía Magdalena respectively. Stable isotopes and fatty acids will be traced along the food webs and in the baleen whale species for possible comparisons.
The expected results will allow to make further considerations about the niche occupied by the gray whales and possibly show new aspects of their ecology, which would need to be treated with adequate new conservation measurements.