Marine Mammals and Renewable Energy

Marine mammals of all sizes are always a welcome sight for visitors to the UK coastline. But while they are abundant in British waters, especially in Scotland, they now face a new challenge: coexisting with offshore renewable energy. In this short report released by the authors from the University of St Andrews Sea Mammal Research […]

Using drones to detect pregnancy in dolphins

In bottlenose dolphins, a group of scientists have used unoccupied aerial systems (UAS, known as drones), to non-invasively measure body morphometrics of individuals, and have been able to successfully detect pregnancy.  The research intended to compare drone imaging with usually used laser photogrammetry to see if it could be used as a substitute, and to […]

Whales’ anatomy prevents them from choking

The lunge-feeding technique of whales requires engulfing a volume of prey-laden water as large as their own body, while swimming at high speeds, to allow for the capture of small fish and krill in their baleen. However, lunge-feeding baleen whales must also breath in the process – how do whales manage not to choke? A […]

New study determines parentage, age, and survival of North Atlantic right whales

A new study provides insight into North Atlantic right whale calf survival, growth rates, and life history, demonstrating the power of genetic sampling for this critically endangered species. The study, led by the New England Aquarium analysed all North Atlantic right whale calves born between 1988 and 2018 and categorised the animals based on genetic samples […]

Whales near cities consume microplastics daily

A new study by an international team of researchers led by the University of Auckland has found that whales in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf consume around 3 million microplastics every day.  The researchers estimated microplastic exposure from prey and scats of whales using a stochastic simulation model, which led to the estimated daily ingestion rate of microplastics. […]

Protecting large cetaceans from ship strikes in the Mediterranean

Ship collision is internationally recognised as a major threat to cetaceans, including in the Mediterranean Sea, which is one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world. As maritime transport in the Mediterranean basin is expected to increase in the coming years, further measures to prevent collisions are needed.  The following Mediterranean countries, France, Italy, Spain, […]

Cost-benefit Analysis for Mitigation Measures in Fisheries with High Bycatch

The Agreement on the Conservation of Small Cetaceans of the Baltic, North East Atlantic, Irish and North Seas, (ASCOBANS), released a new report detailing a cost-benefit analysis for mitigation measures in fisheries with high bycatch. Bycatch is a major threat to cetacean conservation and welfare in European waters. The common dolphin (Delphinus delphis) and the harbour porpoise […]

New framework for marine mammal bycatch best practices

NOAA | Unsplash

Bycatch in marine fisheries is the leading human-caused source of mortality for marine mammals. It has contributed to the decline and in some cases extinction of marine mammal populations and species. There is a growing need for better assessment of marine mammal bycatch in fisheries, which is set to increase even more with the introduction […]

Is humpback song for finding instead of attracting?

Toby Matthews | Ocean Image Bank

Think of common courtship displays in the animal kingdom, like the flashy display of a peacock’s tail or the treetop melody of a songbird’s tune. Each is relatively constant. The brilliant colors in a male peacock’s plumage do not change during its attempts to attract a female. And songbirds rely on repetition, like top-40 radio […]

Baleen Whales’ Immense Influence on Ocean Ecosystems

Credit: Todd Cravens

A group of researchers from Stanford University has published a new paper on prey consumption of baleen whales.  Previous studies on prey consumption of large marine animals have used metabolic models. Here, the research group used tags deployed on seven baleen whale species in conjunction with acoustic measurements of prey density to calculate prey consumption at daily to annual […]