The endangered North Atlantic Right Whale migrates north every year — usually, under the watchful eye of researchers and scientists. But because the pandemic shut down all non-essential businesses, including the New England Aquarium, conducting field research on the mammal has come to a halt.

Phillip Hamilton, a researcher with the Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life at the New England Aquarium, told Emily Rooney on WGBH News’ Greater Boston Thursday, the state’s stay-at-home order has made tracking challenging.

“We’ve been staying at home and doing our research on the computer…. There are lots of complications, it’s dizzying,” Hamilton said.

According to Hamilton, only about 400 North Atlantic Right Whales are thought to be alive today. He said the population is so small, researchers can track their movements just by taking pictures.

“They’re naturally tagged. So, we can tell the whales apart just like you can tell a person apart. They have marks on the tops of their heads like people’s faces and each one is distinct,” Hamilton explained. “By taking photographs of them over and over again, we can track them just by knowing who they are.”

Hamilton also mentioned that social distancing requirements will most likely hinder both the ongoing research of the animal and New England’s whale watching industry.

“Your guess is as good as mine whether or not they can do some social distancing on the large whale watch boats that will allow those to continue,” he said.

Over the last few years, Hamilton explained that the Right Whale population has altered their feeding habits, due to climate change.

“[Climate change] has put them into higher risk in some places. So actually, the number of deaths has gone up. There have been 30 deaths in the last 3 years and just 12 births,” Hamilton said.