Marine Mammals


Public Talk: Tracking Humpback Whales in Antarctica

Dan Zitterbart

Humpbacks migrate thousands of miles to their feeding ground in the Southern Ocean, yet nothing is known about how these whales find the krill that they consume. WHOI scientists joined an expedition aboard cruise ship Polar Latitudes to study the feeding habits of humpback whales on the Antarctic Peninsula. Using Zodiacs to get close enough to the whales to attach digital recording tags, his team logged whales’ diving and feeding behaviors. They also used fish-finding acoustic systems to correlate the location of the whales with their prey. Learn their findings from this research, accompanied by stunning images of Antarctica, humpback whales, and other sea life encountered in the majestic southern continent.

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Seal Spy

Marine ecologist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is exploring new, non-invasive approaches to measuring the body mass of gray seals. Photo by Michelle Shero

Drones helps WHOI scientist measure the body mass of mother and pup seals during lactation

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Marine Mammals

Marine mammals are warm-blooded vertebrates (animals with a backbone) that bear live young and nourish them with milk as land…

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Seal Facts

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What are they? Seals are pinnipeds, a group of animals with three separate families—phocidae (eared seals), otaridae (non-eared seals), and…

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Groups of Pilot Whales Have Their Own Dialects

Groups of Pilot Whales Have Their Own Dialects

In humans, different social groups, cities, or regions often have distinct accents and dialects. Those vocal traits are not unique to us, however. A new study from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) has found that short-finned pilot whales living off the coast of Hawai’i have their own sorts of vocal dialects, a discovery that may help researchers understand the whales’ complex social structure.

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Hearing Tests on Wild Whales

Hearing Tests on Wild Whales

Scientists published the first hearing tests on a wild population of healthy marine mammals. The tests on beluga whales in Bristol Bay, AK, revealed that the whales have sensitive auditory systems and showed less age-related hearing loss than is expected.

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How Do Marine Mammals Avoid the Bends?

How Do Marine Mammals Avoid the Bends?

Deep-diving whales and other marine mammals can get the bends – ”the same painful and potentially life-threatening decompression sickness that strikes scuba divers who surface too quickly. A new study offers a hypothesis of how marine mammals generally avoid getting the bends and how they can succumb under stressful conditions.

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