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Hope Spots

Samantha Schwann | United States

Location: Mo’orea, French Polynesia
Estimated global population: 84,000

Experiencing a remarkable comeback after a global hunting moratorium in 1985, the humpback whale now faces an uncertain future due to more modern threats: entanglements, ship strikes, pollution, and climate change.

Every fall, humpbacks make the long migration from Antarctica to the warm waters of Mo'orea, French Polynesia to mate and give birth. The water reverberates with the low pitch of whale song, consisting of remarkably complex sequences that can last up to an hour. Males compete for precision in delivery, and it is a different song each year.

These images are selections from a three year project documenting ecologically unique areas of the ocean known as Hope Spots.  These areas may be small or large but are of such significance that their protection has a measurable effect on global ocean health.  Locations documented within the project were areas of significantly high biodiversity, connected via migrational corridors, and containing concentrated populations of at risk species. 



Samantha Schwann




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