Tag Archives: marine mammals

Whaling of the Right Whale

This article will summarize the history of whaling of Eubalaena glacialis, including why the right whale was favored, how they were captured, killed and processed, as well as the impacts that hunting had on right whale populations.

Written in conjunction with Daniela Benavides with for BIO 376: Marine Mammals at Duke University, Summer 2013. Read more

Sponging dolphins: cute & clever

Did you know that dolphins use tools, and look adorable while doing so?

Bottlenose dolphins in Australia's Shark Bay like to snack on seafloor-dwelling fish (like sandperch), a food choice that presents two problems. First, these fish lack swimbladders and therefore cannot be echolocated effectively; second, the substrate they inhabit is scattered with sharp rocks and shells, which obscure the fish and conspire to injure a dolphin's nose. One group of dolphins came up with a clever way to enjoy their benthic prey: they harvest sponges and wear them on their faces. The sponge protects the dolphin's rostrum while it digs around in the seafloor, until it runs into a fish and scares it out of the ground to be eaten. After about an hour, when the sponges become too worn down to serve as a shield, the dolphins replace them with fresh ones. Furthermore, the dolphins pass the knowledge of sponging on from generation to generation. Read more details in this scientific paper.

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