Navigation Links
Antarctic killer whales may seek spa-like relief in the tropics
Date:10/26/2011

NOAA researchers offer a novel explanation for why a type of Antarctic killer whale performs a rapid migration to warmer tropical waters in a paper published this month in the science journal Biology Letters. One tagged Antarctic killer whale monitored by satellite traveled over 5,000 miles to visit the warm waters off southern Brazil before returning immediately to Antarctica just 42 days later. This was the first long distance migration ever reported for killer whales.

"The whales are traveling so quickly, and in such a consistent track, that it is unlikely they are foraging for food or giving birth," said John Durban, lead author from NOAA's Southwest Fisheries Science Center in La Jolla, California. "We believe these movements are likely undertaken to help the whales regenerate skin tissue in a warmer environment with less heat loss."

As evidence, the researchers point to the yellowish coating on Antarctic killer whales caused by a thick accumulation of diatoms or algae on the outer skin of the animals. The coloring is noticeably absent when they return from warmer waters indicating the upper epidermis of the skin has been shed.

The scientists tagged 12 Type B killer whales (seal-feeding specialists) near the Antarctic Peninsula and tracked 5 that revealed consistent movement to sub-tropical waters. The whales tended to slow in the warmest waters although there was no obvious interruption in swim speed or direction to indicate calving or prolonged feeding.

"They went to the edge of the tropics at high speed, turned around and came straight back to Antarctica, at the onset of winter", said Robert Pitman, co-author of the study. "The standard feeding or breeding migration does not seem to apply here".

Researchers believe there are at least three different types of killer whales in Antarctica and have labeled them Types A, B and C. http://swfsc.noaa.gov/textblock.aspx?Division=PRD&ParentMenuId=210&id=9606


'/>"/>
Contact: Jim Milbury
jim.milbury@noaa.gov
562-980-4006
NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. First comprehensive inventory of life in Antarctica
2. Global warming threatens Antarctic sea life
3. CO2 drop and global cooling caused Antarctic glacier to form
4. Final frontier: Mission to explore buried ancient Antarctic lake given green light
5. UK robot sub searches for signs of melting 60 km into an Antarctic ice shelf cavity
6. Ancient ecosystem thrives millions of years below Antarctic glacier
7. Unlikely life thriving at Antarcticas Blood Falls
8. Algae and pollen grains provide evidence of remarkably warm period in Antarcticas history
9. Antarctica glacier retreat creates new carbon dioxide store
10. LSU gets to the bottom of things -- in Antarctica
11. First comprehensive review of the state of Antarcticas climate
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/14/2017)...  IBM (NYSE: IBM ) is introducing several innovative ... to developing collaboration between startups and global businesses, taking place ... the event, nine startups will showcase the solutions they have ... France is one ... a 30 percent increase in the number of startups created ...
(Date:5/16/2017)... 2017  Veratad Technologies, LLC ( www.veratad.com ), an ... identity verification solutions, announced today they will participate as ... 15 thru May 17, 2017, in Washington ... Center. Identity impacts the lives of ... quickly evolving digital world, defining identity is critical to ...
(Date:5/6/2017)... , May 5, 2017 RAM ... announced a new breakthrough in biometric authentication based ... quantum mechanical properties to perform biometric authentication. These new ... semiconductor material created by Ram Group and its ... entertainment, transportation, supply chains and security. Ram Group ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... DuPont ... today that they have entered into a multiyear collaboration to identify and characterize ... with additional tools for gene editing across all applications. , Under the terms ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... the first-ever genomics analysis platform specifically designed for life science researchers to ... of pioneering researcher Rosalind Franklin, who made a major contribution to the ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... ComplianceOnline’s Medical Device Summit is back for ... June 2018 in San Francisco, CA. The Summit brings together current and former FDA ... board directors and government officials from around the world to address key issues in ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... Georgia (PRWEB) , ... October 11, 2017 , ... Disappearing ... taking the lives of over 5.5 million people each year. Especially those living in ... greenovative startup Treepex - based in one of the most pollution-affected countries globally - ...
Breaking Biology Technology: