We have moved to www.ashadevos.com

The material on this site is the copyright of Asha de Vos. Photographs should not be used without the express permission of the photographer. For more information contact whalessrilanka@gmail.com

Thursday, October 17, 2013


SO much fun stuff going on at www.ashadevos.com including rolling out results from the last few years of research. Head over -- don't be shy!

Friday, August 9, 2013

We are moving!

Dear Friends,

Thank you for your support over the last few years...don't panic, I'm not closing shop! I'm just moving to www.ashadevos.com! The new blog is still under construction (but please make yourself at home, browse and enjoy!). I am hoping to have some guest bloggers come on board, and try a few new things -- so please keep following!

Thesis submission coming up very soon and I am very excited!! Then I have a fair bit of travel before I take up my new position at the University of California, Santa Cruz...I will continue to work with these incredibly unorthodox whales even through that appointment.

More to come..

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The end is nigh!

Hello Friends,

I want to apologise for neglecting my blog and, inadvertently, all of you, over the last few months. I am on the home straight with my thesis and will be submitting in the next few weeks. I am working really hard to produce great quality science to increase our knowledge about the wonderful blue whales in Sri Lankan waters. Once the results are published, you will be the first to know, so please don't lose heart - I promise you the wait will be totally worth it. Once I have that out of the way I will get back up to speed with my backlogged stories and marine thoughts. 

I also have to apologise for the fact that blogger has suddenly decided to kill all the images I had on my blog. It now looks a bit sad and neglected to say the least. The good news is that I am shifting my blog to a new platform very very soon......and I promise the pictures will be up there sooner rather than later. 

I want to leave you with a very short note on some recent science about blue whales and military sonar. No, it is not good news. Researchers in California have just published the results of the first direct measurements of any kind of baleen whale to mid-frequency sonar signals. They found that while not all the whales responded to the sounds, and definitely not all of them responded in the same way, whales were seen to respond in some conditions by modifying their behaviour and temporarily avoiding areas where sounds were produced. The real problem is that this behavioural modification could potentially cause them to alter diving behaviours and even avoid important feeding areas. No, not good news at all.....

CITATION: "Blue whales respond to simulated mid-frequency military sonar," Jeremy Goldbogen, Brandon Southall, et al. Proceedings of the Royal Academy B, July 3, 2013. DOI -10.1098/rspb.2013.0657

More soon and thank you for your patience!

Monday, June 3, 2013

No news is good news and fabulous sardine run

Dear Friends-of-the-Sri-Lankan-Blue-Whale-Project,

I am sorry for the long silence but I want to tell you that it will be worthwhile. At the moment I am working really hard to get my PhD thesis done after which I will excitedly share my findings with you all. For now, enjoy this video by Charles Maxwell, and send lots of good luck vibes for my thesis defence that takes place this Thursday June 6th 2013 at 4pm. If you are anywhere near by, please feel free to come along and find out about all the science I have been doing over the last 3.5 years. Its been an incredible journey thus far and its only just beginning. Thanks for standing by my side and cheering me on! Together we can!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Bow riding killer whales off Mexico: CNN

Seems like the killer whales off Mexico have a penchant for bow-riding. Photos of bow-riding killer whales were captured twice last year in Loreto in Baja California (http://www.grindtv.com/outdoor/post/killer-whales-put-on-rare-and-amazing-show-for-boaters-off-mexico/) and then yesterday CNN circulated this story about a couple celebrating their anniversary off La Paz Mexico who witnessed the same. Wow! Watch the video here: http://edition.cnn.com/video/?/video/us/2013/04/29/pkg-killer-whales-swim-alongside-boat.wfla#/video/us/2013/04/29/pkg-killer-whales-swim-alongside-boat.wfla

I had a quick look around and it seems there is a video of bow-riding killer whales from Canada back in 2006 too (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0biz6z_tFI). Rest assured, this is rare, but what a phenomenal experience it must've been!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Video of Orcas vs. Sperm whales in southern Sri Lanka

INCREDIBLE! Orcas battling sperm whales off Sri Lanka

What a way to break my silence....(and apologise for the lack of activity here. I have heaps of stories lined up so stay tuned). This one is hot off the press and definitely worth checking out - look at the images!!! Unfortunately I was nowhere near the incident, despite this being my stomping ground, but wow wow wow!!!


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Why are blue whales so big?

Meet Asha the puppet

Ever wondered why blue whales are SO big? Wonder no more! In this neat animation we strive to answer that very question - so watch on! 

Animated by my friends at Cognitive Media with a story written and narrated by myself as part of the very cool TED Ed initiative.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Incredible blue whale footage

Filmed by my friends at Scubazoo in our beautiful waters! How is it that such a majestic creature roams our planet and we know so little about them and how to take care of them so others will have these same opportunities to marvel?

P.S. This Valentine's day lets step outside our comfort zone and vow to love our oceans better. We need it more than we understand. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Research spotlight: What is a CTD?

Ever wondered how field biologists measure salinity and temperature in the water column??? We use a nifty instrument called a CTD, which in regular english is a Conductivity Temperature Depth recorder (Click here for a more detailed description: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conductivity,_temperature,_depth). CTDs come in a range of sizes and limitations. We have chosen a small, portable instrument because we have limited space on the boat and have to hand cast. Its no easy task dropping about 6 kgs on a line down to 100 m and then bringing it back up safely but the prospect of answering questions and unravelling new mysteries helps us forget the calluses on our hands and sore biceps!

We hope you enjoy the first in our Spotlight series that highlights the different techniques used in the field to answer the questions swimming in my head...stay tuned for more!