Marine Mammal research program

Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology has been conducting whale drone research to learn about migration patterns and any behavioral observations.

Check out the research that the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology has captured with drones!

Through the Marine Mammal Research Program, The Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology has been researching all kinds of marine mammals. Most of that research is conducted with drones to get a good view of the behavior and activity of the wildlife. 

The Marine Mammal Research Program has tons of different resources! In order to learn the most about the wildlife but to also keep them safe in any way possible. 

They have specific projects that they research to continue to learn about the marine mammal wildlife. Primarily in Hawaii, however they are tracking migration patterns in other locations as well. 


Wildlife from a different perspective

mom and calf whale

Their projects


These are the specific projects conducted by The Marine Mammal Research Project

Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology

1. Humpback Whales, climate change and prey availability.

2. In-situ calibration of UAV photogrammetry.

3. Population Biology of Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins.

4. Free – ranging Hawaiian Monk Seal underwater acoustic behavior.

5. Conservation biology of gray whales on their breeding grounds.

6. False Killer Whales, Short – Finned Pilot Whales and anthropogenic sound.




Here in San Diego, we see different kinds of whales each season. Some of the specific data that The Marine Mammal Research Program is collecting can be used during our whale watching seasons.

Humpback Whales, climate change and prey availability is an important research topic that would greatly benefit our company. Fall is a prime season that Humpbacks are in the area of San Diego.

The Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology is conducting their research on the knowledge that the Humpback sighting numbers have reduced in Hawaiian and Southeast Alaskan areas. Prioritizing climate change, food availability, and shifts in habitat use, they are trying to determine the reasoning for the lower numbers of Humpback Whales. 

When Humpback Whales are in San Diego, they are usually feeding. The findings of the Marine Mammal Research Program will be interesting compared to our observations. If they are feeding as much, if there is a drastic number switch, or if nothing has changed at all are all things we can tell from so much time spent on the water

We will be taking notes throughout the year for when we see Humpback Whales, where we see them, and what they are doing. We will compare this information to what the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology has concluded as well. 


How does this relate to adventure whale watching?

Conservation biology of gray whales on their breeding grounds is another great important topic that we, at Adventure Whale Watching could use throughout the year. 

Gray Whales are in San Diego from about Mid-December through the end of March. They are traveling from Alaska to the warm Mexican waters to mate and give birth.  

Gray Whales usually stay pretty close to shore, as they use shore as their navigation. Which means we see them relatively close at about 3-5 miles off-shore on average. Here at Adventure Whale Watching, we see tons of Gray Whales every year. 

The Marine Mammal Research Program is wanting to use their data that they collect to see how much humans impact their behavior and  migration patterns. Whale watching is one of the top things that they are focusing on to see if it has any direct influence. 

We will be monitoring this research topic closely to see how much humans have an affect on Gray Whales. Depending on the patterns and behaviors that we witness, we will be able to determine what we could do to help Gray Whales in their natural habitat. 




Marine mammals research program mission statement


The mission of the MMRP is to be the preeminent academic institution for marine mammal science, conservation, and management serving Hawaiʻi and other Pacific Island Communities. Our pathway to success is through empirical and applied research that supports science-based management, innovation, collaborations and knowledge transfer.”

 Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology

 Check out their website for more in depth details about their research!




“MMRP Hawaii.” Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, 2018, hhtps://