Featured Image Credit: Paul Ensor, University of Canterbury
By: Sarah Sharkey
A group of scientists was recently returning home to New Zealand from Antarctica when they
encountered a rare sight. The University of Canterbury scientists came across a group of orcas that put
on an amazing show for them.
The whales were in the part of the Ross Sea that is known as the “whale highway.” Whales of all kinds
use this chilly corridor to travel.
Dr Regina Eisert was one of the scientists on board, she had this to say about the experience, “It’s their home, they’re wondering what we’re doing and within ten minutes they started showing up and
checking what we’re doing. We know nothing about them basically. We don’t know how many there are and we don’t know how they’d be affected by fishing.”
The scientists have set up many underwater acoustic recorders in order to track the movements
of orcas throughout these waters. The researchers have even been able to pinpoint different
individuals through the use of these acoustic monitors.
In addition to the acoustic monitoring, the team took a variety of skin samples. These will be used
to help analyze the diet and DNA of a killer whale. Hopefully, the researchers will be able to
detect changes through time and help to support the continued survival of killer whales in this
Learn more from the source.