The History of Understanding Whales in our Waters
By Dr. Brent Tibbatts
Guam Department of Agriculture Division of Aquatic and Wildlife Resources (DAWR)
Abstract: While whales have existed in the ocean surrounding the Mariana Islands for centuries if not millenia, scientists are just now collecting enough data to start determining that our waters hold significance for over twenty species of dolphins and whales, five of which are endangered. These marine mammals range from the commonly known and sighted spinner dolphins to false killer whales and humpback whales. For them, our waters are important resting, feeding, breeding, and birthing grounds. The history and breadth of their presence and our knowledge about them are an important part of understanding our islands, our ecosystems, and why they are worth protecting.