Monday, 15 October 2012

Choreography of Submerged Whale Lunges Revealed


ScienceDaily (Oct. 11, 2012) — Returning briefly to the surface for great lungfuls of air, the underwater lifestyles of whales had been a complete mystery until a small group of pioneers from various global institutions – including Malene Simon, Mark Johnson and Peter Madsen – began attaching data-logging tags to these enigmatic creatures.
Knowing that Jeremy Goldbogen and colleagues had successful tagged blue, fin and humpback whales to reveal how they lunge through giant shoals of krill, Simon and her colleagues headed off to Greenland where they tagged five humpback whales to discover how the animals capture and consume their prey: krill and agile capelin. Attaching individual tags behind the dorsal fin on three of the whales – to record their stroke patterns – and nearer the head in the remaining whales – to better measure head movements – the team successfully recorded high resolution depth, acceleration and magnetic orientation data from 479 dives to find out more about the animals' lunge tactics. Simon, from the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources, Madsen, from Aarhus University, Denmark and Johnsen from the University of St. Andrews, UK, report how whales choreograph their foraging lunges at depth in The Journal of Experimental Biology at http://jeb.biologists.org.

Continued:  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121011090641.htm

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