Hurtigruten Expeditions partners with the California Ocean Alliance to study and protect whales in Antarctica


Whale research to gather evidence supporting our understanding and management of whale behavior in Antarctica

SEATTLE, July 13, 2021 / PRNewswire / – Hurtigruten Expeditions, the global leader in exploration travel and advocate for sustainable travel, strengthens its partnership with the California Ocean Alliance (COA), a research, conservation and education organization, to better understand and protect whales and other marine mammals in Antarctic.

Hurtigruten Expeditions strengthens its partnership with the California Ocean Alliance. Photo credit: Genna Roland

A pilot test was launched in late 2019, but was halted due to the pandemic. As the Hurtigruten expedition restarts on 2021/2022 Antarctic season, scientists from the California Ocean Alliance will be part of several Antarctic crossings aboard the MS Roald amundsen, the world’s first electrically powered hybrid expedition cruise ship.

The team will collect acoustic data to study ambient noise conditions, the myriad of sounds emitted by marine animals and the influence of human presence on the soundscape. Researching the behavior of different whales in close proximity to humans will allow Hurtigruten and other cruise liners to adapt to ensure they minimize interference with whales.

“Our research will be one of the most difficult we have ever carried out, in one of the most difficult regions of the world. So to have a partner like Hurtigruten who supports us is a huge gift to us. With this research we can create tailored programs so that guests can have close encounters with whales while ensuring minimal impact on the different whale populations in Antarcticsaid Dr. Ari Friedlaender, researcher associated with the University of California, Santa Cruz, and director of research for the California Ocean Alliance.

Offering small-ship adventures to some of the planet’s most spectacular and fragile destinations, Hurtigruten Expeditions has long-standing partnerships and relationships with some of the world’s leading scientific institutions to ensure more sustainable exploration and contribute to the science and research.

“90% of the oceans remain unexplored. We are determined to change that by creating a better understanding of the areas we explore. The data collected during our research partnership with California Ocean Alliance, and the many others we are doing with other partners, to be used for executive decision making on future environmental issues, so this is a win-win solution for all of us, ”said Hurtigruten Expeditions CEO Asta lassesen

Passengers still have access to scientists on board all Hurtigruten Expeditions cruises. All Hurtigruten Expeditions ships feature a state-of-the-art science center, overseen by the cruise industry‘s only chief scientist, Dr. Verena meraldi.

“Ambient sound research has not been properly conducted in Antarctic before, so we are incredibly excited about this partnership and that we have the right tools for the scientist to be able to conduct his research by already offering the quietest vessels in Antarctic. We hope this will be a long-term partnership that benefits all parties, but especially the whale and wildlife populations of Antarctica, ”said Dr Meraldi, Chief Scientist, Hurtigruten Expeditions.

Hurtigruten Expedition’s cutting-edge science program includes a wide range of citizen science research projects that guests are encouraged to participate in during their wait cruise. The orientation of the project depends on the destination, and for Antarctic, it includes the study of the penguin population, the study of leopard seals or the research on the distribution of seabirds, among many other programs.

The well-equipped onboard science centers feature museum-style exhibits and activity areas providing guests with hands-on experiences to complement the conference program.

The California Ocean Alliance team will work alongside Hurtigruten’s expedition teams to provide unique educational opportunities for passengers through lectures, demonstrations and real-time analysis of scientific data. As part of the research, scientists will also take biopsy samples of whale skin and fat to assess individual animal health, population growth rates and stress levels.

“Our scientists will also share their findings with the guests on board, allowing them to participate in the science in real time, and during our presentations they will educate as they go, which will be a truly unique experience,” added the Dr Friedlaender.

Scientists from the California Ocean Alliance will be aboard the MS Roald amundsen departures January 11, January 27, and February 12, 2022.

All of Hurtigruten’s sustainability initiatives are available here:

For more information please contact:
Anders Lindstrom
Head of Public Relations and Communications, Americas

Please visit Hurtigruten’s online media center here, where you can download high-resolution images, videos and view our archive of press releases.

About Hurtigruten Expeditions – the world leader in exploration travel

Hurtigruten Expeditions is the world’s largest and most important expedition cruise company. With sustainability and exploration at heart, we offer great adventures on small ships – taking you to some of the most spectacular regions on our planet.

Tracing our roots in the great explorers and the golden age of exploration, curiosity, a sense of adventure, love for our planet and the art of exploration are deeply rooted in our DNA.

With Hurtigruten Expeditions, you can join fellow explorers on adventures in over 30 countries and over 250 destinations, including Antarctic, Alaska, Northwest Passage, Greenland, Iceland, Svalbard, Norway, British islands, South America, Caribbean, and more.

Hurtigruten Expedition’s fleet of seven custom-built small-size vessels includes the world’s first hybrid battery-powered cruise ships – and a variety of green technologies to make exploring in a more sustainable way.

On board, you will join our team of experts. Handpicked for your adventure, they will join you in exploring wildlife, nature, local communities and more, taking full advantage of our onboard science center and abundance of expedition equipment – in making sure we can take you where the big ships can’t.

As generations of explorers have done before us, we are always on the lookout for new adventures and new areas to explore, and new adventures to embark on. Join us – and explore more!



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