Cetacean News

4th September 2019 – A new beaked whale species Berardius minimus, which has been long postulated by local whalers in Hokkaido, Japan, has been confirmed https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-46703-w

8th February 2019 – A new study by Duke University provides the first record of the diving behavior of Cuvier’s beaked whales in US Atlantic waters. The species is Earth’s deepest-diving mammal but spends very little recovery time at the surface. The new data, from 5,926 dives recorded off Cape Hatteras, N.C., shows them routinely diving more than a mile while holding their breath for over an hour. These whales push the limits of mammalian physiology. https://nicholas.duke.edu/about/news/new-study-confirms-beaked-whales-incredible-diving-abilities

31st October 2017 – Some research in California on Northern Right Whale Population trends does not make happy reading – http://www.news.ucsb.edu/2017/018482/under-pressure

30th June 2017 – A transitional whale – part filter feeder – fascinating photos of this fossilised remains http://www.postandcourier.com/news/beast-from-the-past-wando-river-fossil-turns-out-to/article_cd4317c0-5ce5-11e7-965a-274b18c78111.html

7th March 2017 – An insight into the enigmatic True’s Beaked Whale https://www.newscientist.com/article/2123627-first-ever-underwater-video-of-the-elusive-trues-beaked-whale/?cmpid=SOC%7CNSNS%7C2017-FBvideo-BEAKEDWHALE&utm_medium=SOC&utm_source=NSNS&utm_campaign=FBvideo&utm_content=BEAKEDWHALE

28th November 2016 – Facsinating reading on the lifespan of Bowhead Whales https://www.adn.com/alaska-news/science/2016/11/26/bowhead-whales-might-be-the-longest-lived-mammals-on-the-planet/

22nd October 2016 – Fascinating radio interview about what baleen can tell us. http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/thepulse/item/98146-what-can-a-whales-baleen-tell-us-about-climate-change-

14th June 2016 – Research has shown that all Sperm Whales are descended from one individual female.  http://www.hakaimagazine.com/article-short/sperm-whales-have-eve

27th February 2015 – Research by University of Rhode Island states that in Labrador the chief prey of Orcas are Minke Whales. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/02/160222144552.htm

12th June 2015 – Research by Chilean scientists may reveal something of the Blue Whale migration http://newsroom.wcs.org/NewsReleases/tabid/13614/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/6800/Scientists-Studying-Blue-Whale-DNA-Uncover-an-Epic-Journey-by-Isabelaand-First-Link-to-Breeding-Ground-for-Chilean-Blue-Whales.aspx

12th March 2015 – Some interesting conclusions regarding recent Grey Whale sightings outside the Pacific. http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2015/03/10/whales-on-the-wrong-side-of-the-world/

6th February 2015 – On a NOAA Fisheries marine mammal survey some 200 miles of central California a Killer Whale attack was witnessed at a distance. The prey species could not be identified. Remains were gathered and with DNA analysis it was found to be a Pygmy Sperm Whale. This is the first time Orcas have been documented to prey on Pygmy Sperm Whales. https://swfsc.noaa.gov/news.aspx?ParentMenuId=147&id=19902

6th January 2015 – Interesting research into differences in DNA between Minke Whale (life expectancy circa 50 years) and the closely related Bowhead Whale (life expectancy circa 200 years) is showing the way regarding secrets of longevity and cancer avoidance. http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CCEQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cell.com%2Fpb%2Fassets%2Fraw%2Fjournals%2Fresearch%2Fcell-reports%2FArticle%2520PDFs%2Fcelrep1458.pdf&ei=3cWrVK7uNpG8acyxgOgJ&usg=AFQjCNFUej8y2FQIC_rxJwPeU7SPZVIfYg

26th November 2014 – Interesting article by the Royal Society (Proceedings B) on the predation of Harbour Porpoise by Grey Seals. http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/282/1798/20142429

10th October 2014 – A unique species of Bryde’s Whale almost lost before we knew about it. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-29541605

10th October 2014 – An interesting and unlikely hybrid story from around the UK http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-29541605

3rd July 2014 – a Fascinating paper on the little known populations of Snubfin and Humpback Dolphins off North Western Australia http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0101427

22nd May 2014 – It is now thought that the populations of Humpbacks in the Atlantic, Pacific and Southern Oceans are more diverse from one another than previously thought. http://www.antarctica.ac.uk/press/press_releases/press_release.php?id=2627

24th March 2014 – a series of quacks recorded and heard since the 1960 in the southern oceans was called the ‘Bio-Duck’. Until recently its source was unknown. Work undertaken by the NOAA Fisheries Service indicates it is being made by the Antarctic Minke Whale. Full details at: http://www.nefsc.noaa.gov/press_release/pr2014/scispot/ss1403/

7th March 2014 – tagging of Cuvier’s Beaked Whales has revealed they are capable of dives lasting over 2 hours to incredible depths of almost 3000m – read the full details at http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0092633

11th January 2014 – Research at the American Museum of Natural History’s Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics has identified that the Clymene Dolphin an inhabitant of the temperate waters in the Atlantic initially was a hybrid. The Striped and Spinner Dolphin hybrid has now been proven to have developed into a separate species – http://www.wcs.org/press/press-releases/new-hybrid-dolphin-species.aspx

11th November 2013 – some fantastic science on cetaceans and sonar – http://www.constantinealexander.net/2013/11/the-first-direct-measures-of-how-cuviers-beaked-whales-respond-to-military-sonar.html

5th November 2013 – A paper on how wind farm construction noise can be measured. The pile driving in particular can have a big impact on marine mammals. http://www.umces.edu/cbl/release/2013/oct/16/assessing-impact-noise-offshore-wind-farm-construction-may-help-protect-marine-m

27th September 2013 – The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have done some interesting research on the feeding techniques of Humpback Whales on the Stellwagen Bank off Boston, Massachusetts. Read the full article here http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/news/press/2013/pr092613.html

12th September 2013 – Recent research has estimated Humpback numbers may have doubled in the period 2004 to 2011 within the costal fjords of British Colombia. See published paper http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0075228

12th September 2013 – Research by the Alfred Wegener Institute indicates some Antarctic Humpbacks may not migrate to the equatorial regions in winter. See the full research http://www.awi.de/en/news/press_releases/detail/item/surprising_underwater_sounds_humpback_whales_also_spend_their_winter_in_antarctica/?cHash=1dd9fc78ce48db35af6a9fecd91ccd39

7th August 2013 – The University of Chicago has published a paper indicating Dolphins have the power to remember individual dolphins they knew over twenty years ago. http://news.uchicago.edu/article/2013/08/06/dolphins-keep-lifelong-social-memories-longest-non-human-species

4th July 2013 – Duke University in the US has published results of research showing that military sonar can affect a response in the feeding behaviour of Blue Whales. Full details here http://today.duke.edu/2013/07/bluewhalesonar

15th June 2013 – The University of Southern Denmark has published a paper siting why the success of the Harbour Porpoise is due to its nemesis the Killer Whale. Full details here. http://www.frontiersin.org/Integrative_Physiology/10.3389/fphys.2013.00052/full

27th April 2013 – St Andrews University have done research that indicates Humpback Whales can pass on new hunting techniques to other whales. Read the full details here.

15th March 2013 – When Pilot Whales strand rescuers try to float calves with the nearest female assuming them to be their mothers. Strandings were thought to involve extended family members. Some recent research casts doubt upon this, http://www.theaga.org/oh-mother-where-art-thou-see-press-release/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=oh-mother-where-art-thou-see-press-release

14th March 2013 – Researchers studying the relationships of Bottlenose Dolphins in Florida have found that leaders of groups are very likely to be related to their followers. Full details here.

20th February 2013 – Mammals are usually equipped with several different types of teeth; incisors, canines, premolars and molars. Some cetaceans however, such as the dolphins have only simple peg like teeth. This new article describes how the development of these teeth took place after land mammals moved back to the oceans to develop into the cetacean family. Full details of the article here.

14th February 2013 – The Wildlife Conservation Society have been involved in publishing a paper on genetic investigation into the population size of Humpback Whales. During the 1950’s numbers in the North Atlantic reduced to several hundred. The population is now estimated to be around 17,000 far short of the estimated quarter of a million calculated to have existed pre-whaling. Full details can be found at http://www.wcs.org/wcs-org/press/press-releases/humpbacks-pre-whaling.aspx

23rd December 2012 – The latest cetacean sighting resume for the whole of the UK has been issued by the Seawatch Foundation within the latest newsletter. A copy can be viewed by visiting http://seawatchfoundation.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/October-november-2012.pdf

6th November 2012 – Two of the rarest wales in the world, the Spade-toothed Beaked Whale, have been washed up on a New Zealand beach. Only known previously from fragments of bone. The full story can be seen here.

26th October 2012 – There is quite rightly some concern over noise levels we cause in the oceans. However, some recent research has calculated that pre 19th century populations of whales made an equally loud din! Read all about it here.

20th October 2012 – Bowhead Whales are on my bucket list. Ever since I read about the Harpoon that was dated 1890 being removed from a Bowhead recently caught in the Arctic I’ve been hooked on them.  They are thought to live for up to 200 years. There has recently been some research done on the DNA of live Bowhead whales and of ancient artefacts (carvings, ancient baleen and even toys made from whale bone among other items). The conclusions are unsurprisingly that the population dipped probably due to whaling although surprisingly it seems the various populations are very interchangeable and individuals have no difficulty in navigating pack ice to chance populations. Read all about it here. Fascinating bit of research.

18th October 2012 – Apparently given Dolphins can rest half their brains at any one time. It has been discovered that dolphins can maintain concentration for aperiod of at least 15 days. Read the full research here.

12th October 2012 – Research has taken place into exactly how Humpbacks hunt using lunge feeding techniques. You can read the full paper here

18th September 2012 – A research document done in part by St Andrews University in Scotland has determined that in the last 30 years or so only 25% of the world’s oceans have been surveyed for cetaceans. Only 6% of them have been surveyed frequently enough to determine trends in population levels. You can read the full paper here.

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