BAR HARBOR — College of the Atlantic’s Allied Whale, a pioneering marine mammal research group, has launched an online store. Whale fans now can pick up Allied Whale-branded beanies, T-shirts, water bottles, wall art and more. All are locally sourced, ecologically friendly, fashionable ways to help support important marine mammal research efforts.
Two years in the making, the Allied Whale store at coa.edu funds Allied Whale’s seal, turtle and whale stranding response efforts on the Maine coast, photo identification operations worldwide and crucial research projects, said organization director Sean Todd, the Steven K. Katona Chair in Marine Sciences at COA.
“Marine mammals act as a sentinel species for our environment. However, fundraising for such research is very challenging,” Todd said. “One way the public can help is by purchasing Allied Whale merchandise. All of the profits from our store go directly towards our research efforts to preserve these species.”
College of the Atlantic’s Allied Whale has spent four decades photographing distinctive individual markings on the undersides of whale tails. Scientists worldwide now use this technique to study the biology, life history, migrations and population structures of many species of whales and dolphins.
The store features artwork by Maine artist D.D. Tyler and naturalist Matt Messina, a 2016 graduate of COA, who illustrated a Gulf of Maine field guide for his COA senior project. The store is at coa.edu/alliedwhale.
Recent Allied Whale projects have helped advance understanding of foraging and molecular ecology, marine mammal-fisheries interactions and bioacoustic communication. Allied Whale curates several internationally collaborative photo ID collections, including the Antarctic humpback, North Atlantic humpback, and North Atlantic fin whale catalogs.
Purchases from the Allied Whale store fund ongoing student research efforts as well as College of the Atlantic’s Edward McCormick Blair Marine Research Station on Mount Desert Rock.
Allied Whale is federally authorized to respond to marine mammal strandings from Rockland to the Canadian border. The group helps rescue harbor seal pups in spring and ice seals in the winter, responds to whale beachings and is responsible for all stranded sea turtles in Maine.
All merchandise on the site is sourced in Maine and New England and shipped in recyclable and biodegradable packaging from EcoEnclose.