Article from earlier in the year using mtDNA to track the number of whales being sold in markets in Korea They discovered that the number actually being consumed was far greater than the number that was officially reported. Uni/Athens needed to see full article.
Article from PLoS Biology (free to all) studying brain complexity in cetaceans, and suggesting what they might use it for…
Part of the complexity of understanding population cycles is that species can end up too successful, become so numerous that they eat all their food sources, then have a catastrophic collapse, before slowly rebuilding their population size. This is often seen with predators like lynx. Is this what is happening to the Pacific whale? How could we test this hypothesis? BBC summary.
Info – plus song sound files – about research by the International Fund for Animal Welfare into whale songs.
As you may have heard, in the 1970s the US coastguard decided to blow up a dead whale, with predictable and amusing results.
But what happens in nature? Most whales die in the sea and drift down to the ocean bed (“whalefall”), where they provide a rich source of food, especially for some bizarre bone-eating worms (Osedax frankpressi), which were discovered in 2004, 3000m down in the Pacific.
In 2005, another species (Osedax mucofloris – “bone-eating snot-flower”) was discovered off Sweden in a long-term study of how a whale decomposed in 120m of water. Osedax worms are about 1-2 cm long, and in Sweden they have found only females…
Magazine articles here and here. Original research article (open access) here. Video of Osedax mucofloris here.
Filed under Mammals, Videos