Eline van Aalderink

Eline van Aalderink is a recent MSc Marine Biology graduate from the University of Groningen (the Netherlands), where she specialised in marine mammal ecology and conservation biology. She is currently working as a marine mammal research assistant/supervisor at Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation in Greece.

Pregnancy planning 101: lessons from seals’ embryonic diapause

For humans, pregnancy is generally predictable: boy meets girl, *you know what happens*, an embryo is implanted, and nine months later, a baby is born. In the seal world, things are a bit different. Seal boy meets seal girl, they do their business, but an embryo does not always immediately get implanted. By pausing their …

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Good grief! When whales and dolphins mourn the dead

As an inevitable part of nature, death happens to all living things. Despite the certainty of it, coping with death is never easy for anyone. And by anyone, I don’t just mean humans… Some animals, including elephants, apes, and cetaceans, react unusually when a group member passes away. Could these animals be capable of experiencing …

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Photo-ID is the heart of whale research

Photo-ID has been around for decades: it allowed researchers to study the marine mammal populations and opened the door to awesome whale research worldwide. So what exactly is photo-ID, why is it important, and how can you gain skills in this discipline? Find out in this post. A picture says more than a thousand words …

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How did whales become the world’s deepest-diving mammals?

How long can you hold your breath underwater? If you’re not a professional free-diver or a navy seal, chances are you’ll probably reach around a minute or two. While the human record of natural underwater breath-holding lies at an impressive 11 minutes, marine mammals easily beat all the records. Cuvier’s beaked whales are the ultimate …

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How can snot-collecting drones help with whale conservation?

When we think about whale conservation, we can picture researchers frantically taking photos of surfacing whales, dangling over the edge of a research boat collecting biopsy samples or elbow deep into a carcass. However, recently, some whale scientists are on a mission to collect a less conventional sample: whale snot! What is whale snot, and …

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What happens to dead whales?

How do whales die? Do dead whales float or sink? How do people dispose of stranded whales? If you’ve ever wondered about whales’ life after death? Find out everything you need to know in this post! Lifespan and causes of death Whales generally live long lives, sometimes even surpassing humans’ lifespans. Bowhead whales are by …

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Whales sleep with half their brain to avoid drowning

Few things are more relaxing than floating in a pool, hearing the sound of water, and resting your eyes for just a little while. For whales and dolphins, however, sleeping in the water is a bit more complicated. Indeed, whales do not have the luxury of floating on pool beds, and the sea is pretty …

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The Mystery of Menopausal Whales

What do middle-aged women and whales have in common? Perhaps the unexpected answer is … menopause. Although they don’t have to suffer through hot flashes and mood swings, several whale species stop getting pregnant midway through life. So-called post-reproductive lifespans have puzzled biologists for years. After all, evolutionary theory taught us that the whole purpose …

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