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Diagnosing Leviathan: Adventures of a Whale Veterinarian

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With support from: Lowell Institute
Date and time
Thursday, June 09, 2016

In the late 1990s, the number of calves born to highly endangered North Atlantic right whales plummeted, declining to only 1 calf in 2000. Seeking to understand why right whales were not having more calves, research veterinarian Dr. **Rosalind "Roz" Rolland** developed a variety of new ways to study health and reproduction in 50-ton whales in the wild. Since the beginning of the new millennium, Dr. Rolland has pioneered methods for measuring an array of hormones in whales using novel samples including feces, respiratory vapor, and baleen. She has overseen the creation of an approach to monitoring whale health using photographs, and studied red tides and disease. Her research has led to many adventures including an expedition to the sub-Antarctic Auckland Islands, and training as a scent detection dog handler. Dr. Rolland presents her work on whale health and what whales tell us about ocean health, including some of her adventures along the way. (Photo: [Flickr/Penn State](https://www.flickr.com/photos/pennstatelive/4950441945/in/photolist-8xsiVk-fNPMf-a6xiV "Right Whale Mama"), image cropped)

Rosalind M. "Roz" Rolland, DVM, is Director of Ocean Health and Senior Scientist at the New England Aquarium. She is also a member of the Research Faculty at UMass Boston's College of Science and Mathematics, and her areas of expertise include the impact of urbanization on whale ecology and conservation, anthropogenic contamination and its impact on whales, and fishery-whale population interactions. Dr. Rolland has conducted extensive research on whale health, and she co-edited the book \_The Urban Whale: North Atlantic Right Whales at the Crossroads\_ (2007).