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Out & About: Learn About Whales in Hanover

  • Iain Kerr, CEO of the Ocean Alliance, will discuss whales and share photographs during a talk at Hanover High School on Thursday, Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. (Christian Miller photograph)

  • Iain Kerr, CEO of the Ocean Alliance, will discuss whales and share photographs during a talk at Hanover High School on Thursday, Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. (Christian Miller photograph)

  • Iain Kerr, CEO of the Ocean Alliance, will discuss whales and share photographs during a talk at Hanover High School on Thursday, Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. (Christian Miller photograph)



Valley News Calendar Editor
Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Hanover — Upper Valley residents will have a chance to learn about whales and a nonprofit organization that is devoted to helping the ocean-dwelling mammals and the ocean at the Hanover Conservancy’s annual meeting Thursday night at Hanover High School.

Refreshments will be served at 6:30 p.m. The talk will begin at 7 p.m.

Iain Kerr, CEO of the Ocean Alliance, will discuss whale research and conservation efforts, including his invention of the Snotbot, a custom-built drone that that flies into a whale’s exhalation (the snot that comes from a whale’s blowhole) and collects biological data using a petri dish that hangs from it.

“It’s pretty special,” said Linde McNamara, a Hanover resident who is the director of development for Ocean Alliance.

While New Hampshire has a little over 18 miles of coastline and Vermont has none at all, everyone is impacted by the health of the oceans, McNamara said.

“Everything is interconnected, and it’s so important for people to know what’s going on in our oceans,” she said. “This is something that I think everybody in the whole Upper Valley should come and see.”

Fin whales, sperm whales, humpback whales and dolphins can all be seen in the Atlantic Ocean.

The Ocean Alliance was founded in 1971 by biologist Roger Payne, a South Woodstock resident. The nonprofit organization is based in Gloucester, Mass.

Kerr will also share photographs and participate in a Q&A after the presentation. He shared the following surprising facts about whales via email.

■A blue whale’s tongue can weigh as much as an adult elephant

■Sperm whales are the Olympians of natural world: They are the loudest animal on the planet, have the largest brain of any animal that has ever lived and are the largest toothed predator of any animal that has ever lived.

■The whale family — or infraorder Cetacea — includes dolphins and porpoises. So all dolphins are also, technically, whales.

■Cuvier’s beaked whale has been recorded diving to depths of more than 2 miles and can hold its breath over two hours, making it the deepest (and longest) diving mammal on the planet.

■Many gray whales migrate between the waters of Russia and Mexico each year: a distance of 14,000 miles. This is the longest migration of any mammal species and is the equivalent distance to swimming between New York and Los Angeles more than 5 times in one year.

Editor’s note: For more information about the talk, visit HanoverConservancy on Facebook or visit hanoverconservancy.org. To learn more about the Ocean Alliance, visit whale.org.