Featured Image Credit: Joseph Tepper
By: Sarah Sharkey
Cuvier’s beaked whales are the deepest diving mammal in the world. In the past, researchers were more limited in their ability to study these animals based on their deep dives and short surface recovery. However, a recent study was able to take a closer look at these awesome mammals.
Researchers tagged whales and were able to record close to 6,000 individual dives off the coast of North Carolina. The recorded dives have provided researchers a window into the world these whales. Specifically, the western Atlantic whales, previous studies have focused more on their Pacific cousins. According to Jeanne Shearer, a researcher on the study, “Their deep dives average about 1,400 meters, lasting about an hour, while they are feeding near the seafloor. They typically only spend about two minutes at the surface between dives. It’s amazing that they can dive to such depths, withstand the pressure, and be down there that long, with such brief recovery times. Their dives push the limits of mammalian physiology, but we still don’t know how they’re able to behave this way”
This study has furthered our understanding of how often these whales dive but not how they are able to withstand this lifestyle. Researchers will continue to monitor their behavior in hopes of a breakthrough.
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