Friend of the show Jeremy Goldbogen is doing fieldwork this summer off the coast of California, tagging blue whales and other large cetaceans as part of his postdoctoral work with Cascadia Research Collective. His work with his colleagues is revealing the fine-scale underwater movements and behaviors of large cetaceans, which has implications for understanding their ecology, physiology and evolution, too. (See Jer's publications, for more details).
You can follow Jeremy and his colleagues, as they live blog from their research vessel, right offshore at SEA Blog:
In the last few days we have had a number of our suction cup acoustic tags slide around and ultimately off blue whales that we have tagged. This isn't new or entirely unexpected, given that these animals, like all cetaceans, shed layers of skin quite rapidly. Attaching anything to animals that have had tens of millions of years to become streamlined to live and move in water is no trivial feat, especially with suction cups on animals shedding skin. We have managed to overcome this in many instances and have gotten a large amount of data already in the first full week of SOCAL-11, but we have lost a few tag attachments with tags sliding off.