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Popular Whales News and Current Events, Whales News Articles.
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Stanford researchers learn why aquatic mammals need to be big, but not too big
Examining body sizes of ancient and modern aquatic mammals and their terrestrial counterparts reveals that life in water restricts mammals to a narrow range of body sizes -- big enough to stay warm, but not so big they can't find enough food. (2018-03-26)

Weak social ties a killer for male whales
Male killer whales are more likely to die if they are not at the center of their social group, new research suggests. (2017-10-24)

Recovery of West Coast marine mammals boosts consumption of chinook salmon
The researchers estimate that from 1975 to 2015, the yearly biomass of chinook salmon consumed by pinnipeds (sea lions and harbor seals) and killer whales increased from 6,100 to 15,200 metric tons, and from five to 31.5 million individual salmon. (2017-11-20)

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 hearing abilities and the number of animals that experienced extensive hearing losses was far less than what scientists had anticipated. (2018-06-20)

No-fishing zones help endangered penguins
Small no-fishing zones around colonies of African penguins can help this struggling species, new research shows. (2018-01-16)

Study shows New Zealand has its own population of blue whales
A group of blue whales that frequent the South Taranaki Bight (STB) between the North and South islands of New Zealand appears to be part of a local population that is genetically distinct from other blue whales in the Pacific Ocean and Southern Ocean, a new study has found. (2018-05-17)

New research sheds light on the unique 'call' of Ross Sea killer whales
New Curtin University-led research has found that the smallest type of killer whale has 28 different complex calls, comprising a combination of burst-pulse sounds and whistles, which they use to communicate with family members about the changing landscape and habitat. (2020-02-26)

A better pregnancy test for whales
To determine whale pregnancy, researchers have relied on visual cues or hormone tests of blubber collected via darts, but the results were often inconclusive. Research from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) points to a weakness of previous testing and evaluation methods and provides a new hormone testing regime that offers better results. (2020-02-20)

New maps reduce threats to whales, dolphins
A Duke-led team has created highly detailed maps charting the seasonal movements and population densities of 35 species of whales, dolphins and porpoises -- many of them threatened or endangered -- in US Atlantic and Gulf waters. The maps give government agencies and marine managers better tools to protect these highly mobile animals and guide ocean planning, including decisions about the siting of wind energy and oil and gas exploration along US coasts. (2016-03-03)

Baleen whales' ancestors were toothy suction feeders
Modern whales' ancestors probably hunted and chased down prey, but somehow, those fish-eating hunters evolved into filter-feeding leviathans. An analysis of a 36.4-million-year-old whale fossil suggests that before baleen whales lost their teeth, they were suction feeders that most likely dove down and sucked prey into their mouths. The study published in Current Biology also shows that whales most likely lost the hind limbs that stuck out from their bodies more recently than previously estimated. (2017-05-11)

North Atlantic right whales are in much poorer condition than Southern right whales
New research by an international team of scientists reveals that endangered North Atlantic right whales are in much poorer body condition than their counterparts in the southern hemisphere. (2020-04-23)

A bigger nose, a bigger bang: Size matters for ecoholocating toothed whales
A new study sheds light on how toothed whales adapted their sonar abilities to occupy different environments. The study shows that as animals grew bigger, they were able to put more energy into their echolocation sounds -- but surprisingly, the sound energy increased much more than expected. (2018-11-15)

Humpback habitats off Madagascar revealed as energy exploration ramps up
How humpback whales use marine habitats off the eastern coast of Africa is only partially understood, and that has become a conservation concern as offshore energy exploration expands in the region. However, a new study published in Marine Ecology Progress Series found that humpback whales that were satellite tagged off the coast of Madagascar during peak breeding season are traveling much further in the southwest Indian Ocean than previously thought. (2017-01-04)

Chinese scientists unlock structural secrets of whale baleen
Chinese scientists working with other researchers have for the first time uncovered the underlying mechanisms of the hierarchical structure of baleen, with an eye toward developing advanced engineered materials. (2018-11-21)

NOAA scientists find killer whales in Antarctic waters prefer weddell seals over other prey
NOAA's Fisheries Service scientists studying the cooperative hunting behavior of killer whales in Antarctic waters observed the animals favoring one type of seal over all other available food sources, according to a study published in the journal Marine Mammal Science. (2011-03-30)

Loss of a gene long ago puts marine mammals at risk today, as environments change
Ancient loss of gene function across ancestral marine mammal lineages may now be putting modern marine mammals at risk, leaving them defenseless against toxic organophosphates. (2018-08-09)

Lower oxygen levels to impact the oceanic food chain
The North Pacific Ocean is losing oxygen, pushing species significant to the marine ecosystem to shallower water where there's more sunlight, higher temperatures and greater risk of predators. (2018-12-19)

Are drones disturbing marine mammals?
Marine researchers have made sure that their research drones aren't disturbing their research subjects, shows a report in Frontiers in Marine Science. And they're hoping that others will follow their example to help protect wildlife in the future. (2017-02-13)

Killer whale genetics raise inbreeding questions
A new genetic analysis of Southern Resident killer whales found that two male whales fathered more than half of the calves born since 1990 that scientists have samples from, a sign of inbreeding in the small killer whale population that frequents Washington's Salish Sea and Puget Sound. (2018-04-24)

Threatened whales and dolphins recognize predatory killer whales from their alarming calls
Some killer whales prey on aquatic mammals while others, which prey on fish alone, pose on threat; so how do aquatic mammals know when they are at risk from killer whales? A new study shows that pilot whales and Risso's dolphins flea from a subset of orca calls that have many of the acoustic characteristics of mammal alarm calls, including human screams, which could warn them that the predators intend to strike. (2018-06-12)

Killing a name of an extinct sea cow species
In a recent publication of the open access journal Zoosystematics and Evolution, Manja Voss from the Museum fuer Naturkunde Berlin deals with a new hypothesis of two distinct species that lived about 30 Millions of years ago in Central Europe and draws conclusions on the invalidity of the common species name Halitherium schinzii in favor of a new nominal framework for fossil sea cows. (2014-04-02)

Recordings spout secrets behind blue whale behavior
Researchers are using underwater microphones to interpret and characterize the calls of blue whales swimming through Southern California's oceans, revealing new insights into the behavior of these endangered marine mammals, according to new research being presented at the Ocean Sciences Meeting here on Tuesday. (2018-02-12)

Researchers use 'environmental DNA' to identify killer whales in Puget Sound
When endangered killer whales swim through the sheltered waters of Puget Sound, they leave behind traces of 'environmental DNA' that researchers can detect as much as two hours later has found.

(2018-04-23)

The changing voices of North Atlantic right whales
Researchers have found that right whale calls, much like human voices, change as individuals age. In a study recently published in Animal Behaviour, scientists examined 986 high-quality calls from 49 individual North Atlantic right whales of known ages spanning from 1 month to 37 years. Calls made by whales younger than 1 year were shorter and less structured than adult sounds. As the animals matured their calls became more clear, with better defined structure and longer call durations. (2018-03-12)

Ancient, four-legged whale with otter-like features found along the coast of Peru
Cetaceans, the group including whales and dolphins, originated in south Asia more than 50 million years ago from a small, four-legged, hoofed ancestor. Now, researchers reporting the discovery of an ancient four-legged whale -- found in 42.6-million-year-old marine sediments along the coast of Peru -- have new insight into whales' evolution and their dispersal to other parts of the world. The findings are reported in the journal Current Biology on April 4. (2019-04-04)

Why whales are so big, but not bigger
Whales' large bodies help them consume their prey at high efficiencies, a more than decade-long study of around 300 tagged whales now shows, but their gigantism is limited by prey availability and foraging efficiency. (2019-12-12)

Save the whales
Benioff Ocean Initiative announces first project, commits $1.5 million to finding solutions to whale deaths caused by vessel collisions. (2017-03-23)

Killer whales feast on salmon in summer
Salmon are the primary summer food source for an endangered population of killer whales in the Pacific Northwest, according to an analysis of fish DNA in killer whale poop published Jan. 6, 2016 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Michael Ford from the National Marine Fisheries Service and colleagues. (2016-01-06)

Immature spinner dolphin calf SCUBA tanks spell disaster in tuna fisheries
Dolphins that live in the deep ocean have well developed oxygen storage, but now it turns out that spinner dolphin calves do not develop their SCUBA capacity any faster than coastal species, despite their deep diving lifestyle. Shawn Noren from the University of California, Santa Cruz has also calculated that delays in developing their oxygen storage could place spinner dolphin calves at risk of separation from their mothers during high speed tuna purse seine-fishery pursuits. (2017-04-19)

Aerial survey reveals great diversity & abundance in NE Canyons Marine National Monument
Airborne marine biologists were amazed by the sheer abundance and diversity of large marine wildlife in their recent aerial survey of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, the only marine national monument on the East Coast, about 150 southeast of Cape Cod. (2018-09-13)

Whales lost their teeth before evolving hair-like baleen in their mouths
Rivaling the evolution of feathers in dinosaurs, one of the most extraordinary transformations in the history of life was the evolution of baleen -- rows of flexible hair-like plates that blue whales, humpbacks and other marine mammals use to filter relatively tiny prey from gulps of ocean water. Now, Smithsonian scientists have discovered an important intermediary link in the evolution of this innovative feeding strategy: an ancient whale that had neither teeth nor baleen. (2018-11-29)

Antarctic whales and the krill they eat
The Western Antarctic sector of the Southern Ocean is the regular feeding ground of a large number of fin and humpback whales of the Southern Hemisphere. Around 5,000 fin whales likely migrate to its ice-free waters during summer, along with at least 3,000 humpback whales. This is according to a study that was led by Helena Herr of the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover in Germany, and is published in Springer's journal Polar Biology. (2016-05-09)

Stranded whales detected from space
A new technique for analysing satellite images may help scientists detect and count stranded whales from space. Researchers tested a new detection method using Very High Resolution (VHR) satellite images from Maxar Technologies of the biggest mass stranding of baleen whales yet recorded. It is hoped that in the future the technique will lead to real-time information as stranding events happen. (2019-10-17)

Study measures drag from fishing gear entanglements on North Atlantic right whales
In a paper published online Dec. 9, 2015, in Marine Mammal Science, a research team led by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, has for the first time quantified the amount of drag on entangled whales that is created by towing fishing gear, such as rope, buoys, and lobster and crab traps. The study provides important data for teams evaluating the risks and benefits of whale disentanglements. (2015-12-09)

Did mosasaurs hunt like killer whales?
University of Cincinnati professor Takuya Konishi examined the youngest-ever specimen of tylosaur ever found. Like orcas, mosasaurs might have used their bony noses to strike prey. (2018-10-12)

Arctic sea ice loss impacts beluga whale migration
A new University of Washington study finds the annual migration of some beluga whales in Alaska is altered by sea ice changes in the Arctic, while other belugas do not appear to be affected. (2017-01-05)

Virtual reality therapy helps decrease pain in hospitalized patients
Virtual reality therapy is effective in significantly reducing pain for hospitalized patients, according to a new Cedars-Sinai study. In the study, published online today by JMIR Mental Health, a sister publication of the Journal of Medical Internet Research, investigators examined 100 hospitalized patients who reported pain scores of greater than 3 on the Numeric Pain Rating Scale from zero to 10. (2017-03-29)

Understanding tourists' preferences for nature-based experiences may help with conservation
Charismatic species -- such as felines and primates or whales, sharks, and turtles -- are attractive to tourists, and the opportunity of seeing them in the wild motivates tourists to visit protected areas. New research indicates that tourists' preferences are not restricted to charismatic species, however, and they extend to less charismatic biodiversity, as well as to landscapes. (2016-07-06)

Bowhead whales come to Cumberland Sound in Nunavut to exfoliate
Aerial drone footage of bowhead whales in Canada's Arctic has revealed that the large mammals molt and use rocks to rub off dead skin. (2017-11-22)

Why are whales so big?
Examining body sizes of ancient and modern aquatic mammals and their terrestrial counterparts reveals that life in water restricts mammals to a narrow range of body sizes -- big enough to stay warm, but not so big they can't find enough food. (2018-03-26)

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