#142 Show Notes | Protecting & Conserving Antarctica’s Marine Mammals with Ari Friedlaender, PhD

What is Episode 142 all about?

Antarctica’s rich waters attract animals from near and far to feast on a bounty of available prey. From tiny zooplankton to large penguins, baleen and toothed whales take advantage of the surplus in food and gorge to their belly’s desire.

Cetaceans are not the only creatures drawn to the world’s most remote continent in the summer months. Tourists, researchers, and commercial fishing boats travel to the region to witness, study, and exploit the explosion of life. As our oceans face increasingly intense pressures, it’s vital that we understand the lives of Antarctica’s marine mammals to ensure they are protected and conserved for millennia to come. 

But considering Antarctica’s notoriously harsh conditions and inaccessibility for most of the year, how does one study these important species? How do we go about answering relatively simple ecological questions, such as, what species are found in the area? Why are they there? When are they there? How do they forage? Where do they go when they leave? And, most importantly, how are they faring in today’s ever-changing climate? Today’s guest has been asking these same questions for many years and shares his decades of knowledge with all of us.

To learn about Antarctica’s cetaceans, I sat down with Ari Friedlaeder, PhD, professor of Ocean Sciences and Marine Sciences at UC-Santa Cruz, and the principal investigator at the Friedlaeder Bio-Telemetry & Behavioral Ecology Lab.

Ari and I explore the foundational years of his life, including how his sports background helped him become a better marine biologist, when and how whales entered his life, the magical opportunity that began his career in Antarctica, all things Antarctic cetaceans, the discoveries he’s made about whales through the use of innovative tech, how he started his relationship with the tourism industry, the costs and benefits of tourism in Antarctica, if the region’s fisheries should be shut down or modified, lots of stories in the field, and how he’s now shifting his focus to mentoring students and spending time at home with his wife and young children.

I learned so much from Ari and I’m sure you all will, too. Please enjoy this exploratory conversation with Ari.

Listen to this episode.

#142 | Protecting & Conserving Antarctica’s Marine Mammals with Ari Friedlaender, PhD

Watch this episode on YouTube.

Ari in the Field

Ari’s Websites

Resources Mentioned in the Show

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