Travels with blue whales to learn secrets of the deep

Olympia marine mammal researcher John Calambokidis is one of the few people in the world who has been within an arm's length of the largest creature to ever inhabit the Earth: the blue whale.

Calambokidis was part of a team of three scientists supported by the National Geographic Society who participated in a scientific expedition off the coasts of California and Costa Rica in the fall of 2007 and January 2008 to learn more about blue whale migration patterns, feeding and breeding behaviors, and threats to their survival. Their findings are featured in a National Geographic documentary that airs Sunday on the National Geographic Channel.

Calambokidis has been working to unravel the mysteries of the blue whale since his first encounter with one in 1986 in the Gulf of the Farrallones north of San Francisco during a humpback whale survey.

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