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Images: Eavesdropping on Whales' Mealtime Conversation

Researchers aboard the sailboat Iolaire watch a close group of killer whales in the Tysfjord, in northern Norway. The researchers, including MIT/WHOI graduate student Ari Shapiro, were there to study the whales'unusual behavior when feeding on schools of herring. (Photo by Jesper Jensen)

MIT/WHOI Joint Program student Ari Shapiro prepares a D-tag, a digital recording device that will be attached to a whale. (Photo by Matt Villano)

Jesper Jensen prepares to affix the D-tag temporarily and harmlessly to a whale via a long pole and suction cups. (Photo by Michael deRoos)

The D-tag sticks to a whale with suction cups and records the whale's movements and the sounds the whale makes and hears for a period of hours, then falls off and floats to the surface, to be recovered. (Photo by Sanna Kuningas, University of St. Andrews)

Killer whales, known as orcas, come into the waters of Norwegian Tysfjord in late autumn, following herring schools. (Photo by Sanna Kuningas, University of St. Andrews)

Below deck on Iolaire, researchers take a break and warm up after hours in the cold, salty air. Geoff Magee (left) served as the boat's skipper. (Photo by Michael deRoos)

Tysfjord is home to fishing villages and ecotourism as well as herring, whales, and whale researchers. The Iolaire, owned by prominent orca researcher Tiu Similä of Finland, carried researchers from eight nations during this project. (Photo by Matt Villano)