This astonishing image from the Marine Photobank shows a diver working to free a sperm whale from a tangle of fishing gear. It was taken in 1981 by Alberto Romeo when he and a team of divers from the the Gruppo Ricercatori ed Operatori Subacquei (an underwater association that defends and photographs marine wildlife) came across a sperm [...]
I recently chatted with award-winning underwater photojournalist Brian Skerry for the latest edition of the Naked Oceans podcast (which looks at Art and the Oceans). His pictures have appeared in National Geographic Magazine since 1998 and having spent more than 10,000 hours underwater he had heaps of amazing stories and excellent advice to share. But with only [...]
A new paper in the journal Nature (Costello et al 2012) argues that whaling can be greatly limited or ended by developing a market for whales. By purchasing a whale, a nation, group or individual can either kill and sell it or let it live. In essence, whaling nations would be paid not to hunt [...]
Today is New Year’s Day, the traditional day to look ahead. With that in mind, here is a neatened, expanded-on, written-down version of some thoughts I shared on my final appearance on the BBC radio show Home Planet just before Christmas when the producers gave me a chance to cast an eye forwards. There’s no doubt that these [...]
Happy Holidays — from Planet Earth
In celebration of the defeat of the dark lord of Alaska, we bring back the dancing white whales:
Like listening to whale sounds? Want make a contribution to science? Then tune into Whale FM. Also known as the Whale Song Project, Whale FM is a new citizen science outfit based at Scientific American asking for your help to figure out what whales are saying and if pilot whales – like killer whales – [...]
From the Center for Biological Diversity – my new favorite NGO: There’s huge news today out of Alaska: A federal judge just rejected the state’s attempts to deny Endangered Species Act protection for Cook Inlet beluga whales. Today’s ruling is a major victory in our decade-long battle to protect the endangered Cook Inlet beluga whale, [...]
If you haven’t already watched (and listened!) to this video clip then you’re missing out. Apparently this is Luna, a lone male killer whale, who lived in the waters around Vancouver Island until his untimely death in a tugboat collision in 2006. HT to the Huffington Post
For all of you who dream of talking to dolphins (I know you are out there!) here is a story in the NYT: Up to now, dolphins have shown themselves to be adept at responding to human prompts, with food as a reward for performing a task. “It’s rare that we ask dolphins to seek [...]
From Andrew Revkin at the NYT: On Thursday, President Obama ordered government agencies to ramp up pressure on Iceland to end its slaughter of endangered fin whales, the second largest whale species. But the president stopped short of imposing trade sanctions. He issued a Message to Congress with the details, including this passage: Of particular concern to [...]
Don’t go whale watching is what my kiteboarding instructors Brandon and Trevor told me when I first learned. The idea is that when you head out offshore, you are supposed to turn around and tack back in and not “whale watch”, ie, don’t go too far out! Well late this afternoon I went for a [...]
Hat tip to Adrian Stier
The mystery is solved. After more than a week of holding their collective breath, sea monster enthusiasts throughout the world can now rest easy, albeit a bit deflated. The serpentine 30-foot creature that washed up on a Scottish beach has been identified by a crack team from the Scottish Agricultural College. Alas, it appears that [...]
Well, maybe not in so many words. Not in English anyway. But to those who believe that animals don’t experience emotions–and I gather they still exist–I challenge you to watch this and tell me you don’t understand how the whale feels [Show starts about 6:30 in] P.S. Don’t try this at home kids.
Whales are tough crowd to study. They swim all over the place and hold their breath for ages – those poor cetacean biologists must have a heck of a time keeping up with them. Well, one way of tracking them is to listen for their songs – but don’t just stick your head underwater and [...]
At least seven species of whales — including the rare and endangered Atlantic Right Whale and the world’s largest animal, the Blue Whale – have been recorded singing at an “open mike night” (actually many days and nights) in the waters of New York harbor and Long Island Sound by researchers from Cornell University’s Bioacoustics [...]
Scientists from Duke – just down the road – have published a neat report of a “super-agregation” of humback whales feeding on a swarm of krill in Wilhelmina Bay, along the coast of Antarctica. The team was working in the area in May 2009 when they stumbled into the massive feeding aggregation, certainly attracted by their [...]
New research shows that the legendary songs of humpback whales evolve rapidly as they’re spread throughout the world’s population by traveling males whose new songs are adopted by listeners along their migration routes. Male humpbacks have a highly stereotyped, repetitive, song that functions in sexual selection, either through mate attraction or male “social sorting”. Males [...]
I love this photo by Marco Queral from the south Pacific Ocean. From a ClimateShifts post by Jez where you can see other similar photos.
[Thoughts inspired by an hour spent with a wild dolphin in the Whale Rider country of North Island, New Zealand. The terrain is very beautiful – dramatic craggy coastlines, gorges through the mountains cloaked in Paleozoic vegetation, tree ferns everywhere, in the dim shade everything covered with mosses, liverworts, brilliant little coral-colored fungi, delicate creepers, [...]
The Blue Planet set to music. Lean back . . .
From Science Friday: For years, longline fishermen in Alaska have complained that whales have been stealing their sablefish catch. A team of researchers, including Aaron Thode, Delphine Mathias and Jan Straley, mounted a video camera to a fishing line and caught a sperm whale stealing. Footage courtesy of Delphine Mathias, Aaron Thode, Jan Straley, Kendall [...]