Tiny House Is Mobile Whale Research Base

Tiny House Is Mobile Whale Research Base

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A new take on marine research? An eco-friendly tiny home will double as a base for two traveling scientists this summer.

Tiny house_Northern lights

Tracking migration patterns and behaviors of whales and dolphins along Canada’s Gulf of St. Lawrence, two marine researchers devised an ingenious way to mobilize their base of operations while raising awareness for everyday green living: A tiny-home science station.

From June to September, wildlife biologists Katy Gavrilchuk and David Gaspard – both Montreal-based biologists – will be living in, working out of, and giving talks from their Big Whale Tiny House over the course of a 670-mile journey from Montreal to the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

The 160-square-foot, 13-foot-tall tow-behind home – which the two built themselves with the help of family and friends beginning last October – will hold all research equipment and provide a living space for the researchers.

towing tiny home

“Typically what these researchers will do is rent out hotels and houses along the migration routes they expect whales and dolphins to follow,” said Angie Maddox, a representative for Atlas Roofing, which is a primary sponsor of the biologists’ eco-conscious dwelling.

“Unfortunately, they often can’t accurately predict exactly where the animals will be at any given time. This mobile tiny home let’s them track whales and dolphins on the fly.”

By going the “tiny research base” route, the pair expect to save $3,000 on housing and food costs alone. The research itself will be conducted by boat, which the pair are towing separately.

Tiny Home Trend

The primary purpose of the research will be to track migration patterns of North Atlantic baleen whales and dolphins, and measure contaminant concentrations, hormone levels, diet, and genetic relatedness of their populations.

While the pair could also buy an RV for their purposes, the tiny home generates a lot of buzz and creates a highly visible “vehicle” for the duo’s mission of sustainability and ecologically conscious living.

According to their blog, Gavrilchuk and Gaspard aim to learn more about the lives and habits of whales and dolphins, and “build something that can lead by example and show others what can be accomplished with a small budget and a strong motivation.”

With limited space between frame and wall, the Big Whale Tiny House needed thin, ultralight insulation
With limited space between frame and wall, the Big Whale Tiny House needed thin, ultralight insulation

Along their expedition through Quebec, the pair will be giving town talks on the feasibility and importance of downsizing and reducing individuals’ carbon footprints.

Their tiny home integrates roof-mounted solar panels and high-efficiency, lightweight, flame and water-resistant insulation manufactured through sustainable practices.

To follow Gavrilchuk and Gaspard’s trek and learn more about their tiny home, visit their website.

Adam Ruggiero
Adam Ruggiero is an all-sport activity junkie - from biking, running, and (not enough) surfing, to ball sports, camping, and cattle farming. If it's outside, it's worth doing. Adam graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in journalism. Likes: unique beer, dogs, stories. Like nots: neckties, escalators, manicured lawns.