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Friday, November 30, 2012

Blue whales pirouette before engulfing their prey: Watch this!

As if behemoth ballerinas, blue whales pirouette before lunging at their prey, a strategy that may help the giants ambush krill from below.

"This behavior probably improves the whales' chances to engulf the most krill possible," said study co-author Ari Friedlaender, a marine biologist at Duke University.

The new findings, detailed today (Nov. 27) in the journal Biology Letters, may shed light on how the enigmatic creatures hunt and devour their shrimplike prey......

Watch this video and read the article in LiveScience. http://www.livescience.com/25077-whales-turn-while-diving.html

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Marine acoustics with Kelly Benoit-Bird

For the longest time the only thing I really knew about Kelly Benoit-Bird was that she was a recipient of the 2010 MacArthur Genius Award, which happens to be one of the most prestigious awards available. I then saw her keynote presentation at the Ocean Sciences Meeting last year and I secretly sent my approval to the MacArthur Foundation for their incredible choice. Kelly uses marine acoustics in novel ways to learn more about ecosystems in the open ocean. More recently I have had the opportunity to work very closely with one of Kelly's former PhD students, my good friend Amanda Kaltenberg. As a result I have learnt that not only is Kelly a genius but she also happens to be a great person, mentor and friend. 

Watch this short Pop!Tech talk to learn more about the work Kelly does!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Tongan humpback baby boom continues!

Calf number 19. A beautiful bouncing baby boy! Photo credit: Tony Wu
How many of you remember the Tongan humpback baby boom last year where we all oohed and ahhed at the amazing number of new calves in Tonga? My friend the incredible underwater photographer Tony Wu recorded 48 new calves in the 2011 season and that was a new record. This year, he went back. He recorded an incredible 52 new calves - that's four more than last year!!!

I encourage you all to read his blogpost here: http://www.tonywublog.com/20121104/record-number-of-humpback-whale-calves-tonga-2012.html

....AND to find out more, you can download the document here: http://www.tonywublog.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/humpback-whale-calf-count-tonga-2012-tony-wu-v1.pdf

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Magical Migaloo might have a mate

Photo: Dan Fisher (http://www.wildlifeextra.com/go/news/albino-humpback.html#cr)
Do you remember Migaloo? (http://whalessrilanka.blogspot.com.au/2012/10/magical-migaloo-rare-white-humpback.html). It seems he is not alone -- Dan Fisher spotted another albino humpback whale in the Svalbard Archipelago in August 2012. Click here to see the story and a full range of photographs http://www.wildlifeextra.com/go/news/albino-humpback.html#cr

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

What is the world's rarest whale?

Photo courtesy New Zealand Government

It's the spade-toothed beaked whale!!!

This whale was first named from a partial jaw washed up on Pitt Island in New Zealand in 1872. Since then the only live specimens of this species to be seen were a mother-calf pair that washed up on Opape Beach, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand. They were finally distinguished from their other relatives through DNA analysis and a description only this month - November 2012. How amazing is that? 140 years since it was 'discovered' and no one has yet seen it alive in the wild!

Read more here: http://www.sciencealert.com.au/news/20120511-23834.html