2014 - the beginning
In 2014, a team from the Royal Ontario Museum helped salvage one of two blue whales that died in the Gulf of St. Lawrence ice pack and washed ashore on the west coast of Newfoundland, Canada. This recovery was only the first step in bringing the whale to its new home at the ROM, with plans to turn this tragic event into an opportunity to enhance our understanding of the world's largest animal.
How big is the whale?
Blue whales are the largest animals that have ever lived. This particular female specimen is 80 ft long.
Dave facilitated connections with the Mingan Island Cetacean Study and Richard Sears, which were instrumental for the ROM to collaborate with field biologists studying blue whales in the wild. Dave built partnerships with several other key organizations, including:
communicating the project to the public
Dave has worked closely with his Environmental Visual Communication (EVC) students to cover the ongoing Blue Whale Project, providing them with unprecedented access in order to produce high quality videos, photography, and blog posts. EVC graduate Vincent Luk traveled to Quebec with Dave to spend 7 days on the open waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence to learn all about whales from experts; videos and photos from this learning experience will be included in the upcoming ROM exhibition.
The engaging narrative and multimedia developed by EVC students has resulted in huge media exposure for the project, and increased public interest in the endangered species.
The ROM's Blue Whale Project has captured the interest of both local and national media; hundreds of stories have followed the journey from recovery to the upcoming mounting of the skeleton at the ROM.
PROJECT TO EXHIBITION
The Blue Whale Project culminates with the upcoming 2017 ROM exhibition Out of the Depths: The Blue Whale Story. As part of the Core Curatorial Team, Dave has played a crucial role in how the story of Earth's largest animal will be communicated to visitors. In addition to co-authoring the official guidebook, Dave assisted with the development of all exhibition text panels, and led all content related to conservation biology and Marine Protected Areas.
Opened: March 11, 2017
Out of the Depths: The Blue Whale Story retells the story of nine blue whales that died in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in 2014, and the resulting opportunity for research and conservation. The exhibition will feature the enormous skeleton of one of the recovered blue whales and tell the story of the world's largest animal has evolved, the size of its heart, and more. Gain insight into the decline of blue whales, what's being done to protect them, and how the ROM is using DNA to unlock some of the secrets of these elusive creatures.