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Carousel Feeding

Orcas coordinate their movements, and possibly communicate, as they herd schools of herring into tight masses and then slap their tails to stun the fish before eating them. To study this behavior (called “carousel feeding”), MIT/WHOI graduate student Ari Shapiro worked with a research team in Norway. They used D-tags digital recording devices developed by WHOI researchers Mark Johnson and Peter Tyack. D-tags, affixed temporarily to whales with suction cups, track the whales’ movements and record the sounds the whales make and hear in the oceans. The movement and sound sequences in the video were generated by data collected from D-tagging. Note the water whooshing over the tag as the orca flukes into position and the tail slap at the end of the sequence. (Animation by Jack Cook, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

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