By: Mia C.
Humpback whales are known for their unique way of feeding; they trap krill in bubble nets and gulp down two-thirds of their weight in prey-laden water. However, scientists have recently discovered humpback whales in the southern Gulf of Maine getting their food at the bottom of the ocean more than anywhere else. This odd behavior is the whales’ adaptation to the fishing gear that has remained a risk in their habitat.
Colin Ware from UNH’s Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping gathered some colleagues to do further research on the whales’ new behavior. They attached synchronous motion and acoustic recording tags to the whales’ back to track their movement. This data was collected from 2004 to 2009, and they discovered that they were in fact bottom side-roll feeding. The whales were doing simple side-rolls, side-roll inversions, and continuous scooping. However, Ware and his team still do not understand how they are feeding and what they are feeding on; they just know their movement. (Read more…)