About, by Jessika Raisor:
This is a project created by artists Jessika Raisor and Ryan Powell – it is a pitch for a narrative song and video about a whale called Theresia. The research and scientific collaboration come from Lisa Kettemer in Norway.
We started this project too late to create the final product and so decided to create a “pitch” document to show how we envision this project moving forward instead. We are all extremely excited about the continuation of telling this story of whale migration.
I’m a PhD student in the Arctic of Norway, and I study animal migration. Here I focus on humpback whales in Northeast Atlantic, which is somewhat of a mystery population – they spend most of their lives very far from people – in the Arctic and on the high seas. But around 2011 some of them started to stop on migration from the Arctic and feed on herring in the fjords of Norway before heading all the way to the Caribbean, their breeding grounds. That’s when researchers at my university had the chance to take samples and track them with satellite tags.
We followed one whale for almost a full year – this is the first time we have detailed information on the year-round movement of any humpback whale! My first paper will be focusing on this very special whale, which we called Theresia. She was pregnant when we tagged her (I did a pregnancy test in the lab for her) and returned with a calf one year later in the same fjord where we had tagged her! I’m looking at the energetics demands of this journey and the time it took to complete.
Jessika, Ryan and I found each other on Lifeology. I loved the first movie they made and we agreed to try and win the challenge so there could also be a movie about this special whale. We started with a pitch because of limited time, and are hoping we can complete the full song and film with additional funding.
We’re hoping that Theresia will be able to take people on her journey all the way through the ocean, introduce her calf, and show viewers the stops along the way. Were looking to establish a connection to the time she’s spending in the Arctic and on the high seas – where people will never see her. Both are rapidly changing ecosystems that many people don’t know much about! At the same time we hope to show how we’re studying these super mobile animals.