NECWA has a collaborative research and internship program with Bridgewater State University. Much of the research has been in collaboration with John C. Jahoda, Professor Emeritus, and Dr. Kevin Curry, Professor, in the Biology Department at Bridgewater State University.
Dr. Jahoda has been studying marine mammals off the coast of Massachusetts since the mid 1970's. During this time Dr. Jahoda has enjoyed collaborations with many investigators and agencies involved with marine mammal research and conservation including the National Marine Fisheries Service, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies.
Dr. Jahoda's research interests center around the ecology and behavior of marine mammals, including the behavior of humpback whales. Research under Dr. Jahoda's supervision and guidance has provided many insights into the lives of marine wildlife that come to our New England waters to feed each season. His efforts have also provided educational opportunities for many Bridgewater State University undergraduates as well as local teachers through their participation in internship programs and research programs such as Project SWIMS.
Project SWIMS was a National Science Foundation funded project that involved 5 to 8 grade teachers in marine mammal research and involved the International Wildlife Coalition. Dr. Jahoda established a marine mammal internship program at Bridgewater State College in the mid 1970s. The current BSU / NECWA internship program is the descendent of this earlier program.
Dr. Curry has been collaborating with NECWA on research pertaining to the aging of ocean sunfish carcasses that strand on Cape Cod beaches each fall and early winter. Although ocean sunfish are classified as the heaviest bony fish in the world, their otoliths are extremely small and are non-calcified. Therefore, these structures can not be analyzed using standard aging techniques for bony fish. Dr. Curry and his research students are working with NECWA on an alternate aging protocol for this species that focuses on the visible banding pattern in the center or centrum of the vertebra.
During this time, Plymouth Whale Watching has provided the primary research platform for this long term and important study of marine mammals. NECWA has broadened this research to include other species of marine wildlife including basking sharks and ocean sunfish. This collaboration between NECWA, Bridgewater State University and Plymouth Whale Watching provides important long-term, research opportunities on the marine wildlife of Cape Cod Bay and Massachusetts Bay, including the waters of the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary.
To see how you can help support these types of research and educational activities, please visit our donation page. Your support will help NECWA continue its collaboration with Bridgewater State University to provide Biology undergraduates with real-life experiences in the field of marine sciences.