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whale

This tag is associated with 15 posts

The Biological Big Bang: Testing the hypothesis that sperm whales use auditory bursts to stun prey and other proposed feeding strategies.

Article Fais, A., Johnson, M., Wilson, M., Soto, N. A., & Madsen, P. T. (2016). Sperm whale predator-prey interactions involve chasing and buzzing, but no acoustic stunning. Scientific reports, 6, 28562. Background Sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) are big. To put it in perspective, an adult or bull sperm whale is longer on average (52 ft.) […]

After the Phase Out: Can Banning Toxic Chemicals Rescue Pilot Whales?

When it comes to persistent pollutants, all roads lead to the ocean. Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) is a chemical that has recently gained attention due to its toxic effects and widespread presence in drinking water. PFOS from human products has also become widespread in ocean waters and the creatures who live in them. PFOS was banned […]

What killer whales tell us about menopause

Killer whales, or orcas (Orcinus orca), are amazingly intelligent and social animals. What can they tell us about the evolution of menopause? Brittney G. BorowiecBrittney is a PhD candidate at McMaster University in Hamilton, ON, Canada, and joined Oceanbites in September 2015. Her research focuses on the physiological mechanisms and evolution of the respiratory and […]

Let’s Ghost Fishing for Halloween!

Ghost fishing is ghastly because it creates underwater graveyards for wildlife. The authors covered here wrote a new review of gear entanglement among mammals, reptiles, and sharks. Find out what they discovered by reading today’s post! Rebecca FlynnI am a graduate of the University of Notre Dame (B.S.) and the University of Rhode Island (M.S.). […]

Do algal blooms kill whales?

Since 2005, southern right whale calves have been found dead in historic numbers off the Patagonian coast in Argentina. Scientists investigate whether harmful algal blooms may be to blame. Brittney G. BorowiecBrittney is a PhD candidate at McMaster University in Hamilton, ON, Canada, and joined Oceanbites in September 2015. Her research focuses on the physiological […]

Young whales build baleen out of ribs

Juvenile bowhead whales put off gaining length and undergo severe bone loss to invest in growing their massive heads and baleen plates. Brittney G. BorowiecBrittney is a PhD candidate at McMaster University in Hamilton, ON, Canada, and joined Oceanbites in September 2015. Her research focuses on the physiological mechanisms and evolution of the respiratory and […]

If You Must, Adjust? Polar Bears Leaving Sea Ice in the Arctic

Everyone knows that polar bears have become the poster children for species threatened by climate change. And it’s for good reason that they are. Polar bears rely on sea ice for access to prey, finding mates, and creating dens. The persistence of the species depends on the state of sea-ice and more generally a healthy […]

In the Heart of the Sea: Following the Song of Humpback Whales to Study Migration

Every year, humpback whales journey across the ocean. Using passive acoustics to study whale song, scientists are able to follow the path of humpback whales and learn about their migratory patterns. Read (and listen) to find out more! Aditi TripathyHello! I am an undergraduate student majoring in Marine Biology with a minor in Acoustics at […]

Decomposition in the Deep Sea

Whale carcasses that fall to the seafloor provide large amounts of food to deep-sea environments. Though ecologically important, little is known about whale falls and the communities they harbor in the vast Atlantic Ocean – all information comes from the Pacific. What happens to large mammals that sink to the bottom of the Atlantic and […]

Tiny plastic pieces accumulate in a huge marine filter-feeder

Scientists find microplastic pieces in the intestines of a baleen whale for the first time. Lis HendersonI am studying for my doctoral degree at the Stony Brook University School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences. My research addresses fisheries and climate change in the Northwest Atlantic. In my free time, I like to cook and spend […]

Untangling the issues with longline fishing

Longline fishing has been used for decades as a way to catch large amounts of commercial fish. Though effective in capturing target fish, longlines unintentionally snag and kill millions of other marine species. Aside from being caught themselves, marine mammals (i.e. dolphins and killer whales) may eat target fish off the hooks and destroy fishing […]

The Antarctic minke whale foraging strategy

Filter feeding whales face a body size and feeding strategy trade-off in foraging efficiency. Researchers from the Marine Mammal Institute at Oregon State University studied the foraging strategy of one of the smallest filter feeding whales, the Antarctic minke whale. Lis HendersonI am studying for my doctoral degree at the Stony Brook University School of […]

Whale Watching: Fun for Us, Stressful for Them

Whale watching is a popular activity around New England, especially in the summer, but this new study suggests we’re doing more than just watching – we’re actually stressing these whales out and making them swim faster and breathe more often. Erin McLeanHi and welcome to oceanbites! I recently finished my master’s degree at URI, focusing […]

Ear wax holds untold treasures for whale researchers

Ingested contaminants, along with hormones, are preserved in the whale’s earplug. Unlike muscle and blubber, ear wax does not allow rapid biodegradation of compounds. This wax builds up in laminar layers throughout the whale’s lifetime, producing a timeline of the whale’s existence, much like tree rings. Zoe RugeI have a M.S. from the University of […]

Intense Weight Loss by Migratory Humpback Whales Could Increase Health Risks Posed by Pollutants

Australian and Norwegian researchers measured levels of pesticides and PCBs in southern hemisphere humpback whales to find out whether extreme weight loss during migration could have unforeseen consequences for the species. Carrie McDonoughI am the founder of oceanbites, and a postdoctoral fellow in the Higgins Lab at Colorado School of Mines, where I study poly- […]

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