Population Trends of the Humpback Whale

In the 1870s, the population of Humpback Whales was an estimated 125, 000. By the early 20th century their population was drastically decreased due to whaling. In the 1980s the Humpback population was estimated at 5,500 whales. Using the Population Growth and Decay equation, we found that by the 1980s this number should have been drastically higher. Assuming that Humpback Whales live to be 30 years old and reproduce four times during their life span, and the population as we said was 125,000 in 1870, the population should be, according to our calculations, 18,379,174 Humpback Whales in 1980.

Nn = N0Q^n

N0 is the initial population - 125,000

Nn is the population after n generations - our variable

Q is the number of offspring per generation - 4

n is the number of generations - 3.6, or 1980-1870=110 years / 30 years (one generation)

Nn=125,000 (4) ^3.6 = 18,379,174 Humpback Whales


Luckily, since the 1980s the Humpback Whale population has increased by 100% and was estimated at 11,000 whales in the year 2000. This is due to increased awareness of the harm done to these species through boating accidents, lose netting, and hunting in the past.