Whale Biology

Seals “see” and hunt fish with their whiskers

Have you ever looked at a seal or a sea lion and wondered about their voluptuous whiskers? Those fine hairs, called whiskers or vibrissae, have a crucial role in their lives. Studies have shown that blindfolded captive harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) can easily follow other seals underwater, using only their whiskers. Yet, that was just […]

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Echolocation 101: How dolphins see with sound

Whales, dolphins, and porpoise occupy a wide variety of habitats. They range from the small harbor porpoise found in shallow coastal waters to massive sperm whales diving below 1000 meters to catch the perfect squid! The underwater world can be like a labyrinth, and at times can have limited visibility-, especially below 200m, in the

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Seals molt every year to keep their fur healthy

When we think about molting, the most familiar example we can think of is the snake “shedding its skin” and replacing it with a new one. However, did you know that also mammals shed something? Mammals shed their fur. Pinnipeds, such as seals, otariids, and walruses, belong to this category of fur shedding mammals. Once

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New Research Suggests Fasting Could Impact Humpback Whales’ Respiratory Health

Whales can adapt to seasonal and environmental conditions. But they are not working alone… They, just like us, team up with a vast army of microscopic soldiers every day called the microbiome. Different microbes, including bacteria, fungi, and viruses, make up the whale’s microbiome. We can take a look at the composition of whales’ microbiomes

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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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