Following the launch of Secrets of the Whales on Disney+, National Geographic Live kept the giants of the sea top of mind with a virtual event today. Previously recorded at Grosvenor Auditorium in Washington D.C., an excerpt from a talk with Marine Biologist Dr. Asha De Vos recapped the explorer’s earliest breakthrough discovery. This story took viewers back to 2003 off the coast of Sri Lanka, Dr. Asha De Vos’ home country.

After finding an unorthodox pod of blue whales, six of them that were remaining in a small spot the size of a soccer field. They typically take large migrations between cold feeding areas and warm breeding areas. She thought she was going to be the first person to document blue whale reproduction.

Instead of witnessing blue whale reproduction, she found a floating pile of blue whale poop, which meant that the whales were feeding nearby. Upon further research, Dr. Asha De Vos found that this pod of blue whales were smaller than usual, pygmy blue whales who stay in the Indian Ocean and don’t migrate far for food. They have a different dialect than other blue whales and different behaviors, including feeding on X instead of just krill.

The biggest threat to these whales is shipping vessels, with blue whale sightings matching the high traffic shipping lanes. They have been found dragged into port on bows or washed ashore with propeller gashes. Dr. Asha De Vos is campaigning for shipping lanes to be altered and ships to enter the ports of Sri Lanka at reduced speeds to help save the species.

You can view the entire presentation below.

How Finding Blue Whale Poop Changed My Life

?Throwback from Nat Geo HQ in DCJoin us as we revisit some of the best talks in recent years from our main stage in Grosvenor Auditorium at National Geographic headquarters.Today we have Dr. Asha De Vos speaking about how finding blue whale poop changed her life.#natgeolive

Posted by National Geographic Live on Thursday, May 6, 2021