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Unique feeding habits of whales revealed

A new paper co-authored by Associate Professor Ari Friedlaender describes how blue and humpback whales control the timing of their feeding lunges to minimize energy cost and maximize prey capture.

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“Eve” and descendants shape global sperm whale population structure

Although sperm whales have not been driven to the brink of extinction as have some other whales, a new study has found a remarkable lack of diversity in the maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA within the species. In fact, the mitochondrial DNA from more than a thousand sperm whales examined during the past 15 years came from a single “Eve” sperm whale tens of thousands of years ago, the researchers say. Results of the study are being published this week in the journal Molecular Ecology. While the exact origins of this sperm whale “Eve” remain uncertain, the study shows the importance of her female descendants in shaping global population structure, according to Alana Alexander, a University of Kansas Biodiversity Institute researcher who conducted the study while a doctoral student at Oregon State University

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Report on January-February 2016 Blue Whale Field Season in New Zealand

The January-February 2016 Field Report on blue whale ecology in the South Taranaki Bight region of New Zealand is now available.

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Exclusive Video May Be First to Show Blue Whale Calf Nursing

National Geographic Explorer and marine ecologist Leigh Torres made the likely discovery of nursing while on a research cruise in the South Taranaki Bight off the western coast of New Zealand. On February 5, the Oregon State University professor got video that she thinks shows a mother blue whale and her calf nursing beneath the waves.

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What Whales Do at Night

In waters off the West Antarctic Peninsula, Ari Friedlaender, an ecologist with Oregon State University’s Marine Mammal Institute, found that humpback whales fed exclusively at night when the krill migrated vertically into shallower water and became an easier catch. During the day, when krill were deeper and harder to access, the humpbacks spent more time resting at the surface.

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Blue whale research begins off the Taranaki Coast

Research on the world's largest animal has begun off the coast of Taranaki. Blue whales are being studied by a team from Oregon State University (OSU) in collaboration with the Department of Conservation to try to find out if the species use the South Taranaki Bight as a feeding ground. The survey comes after OSU marine mammal expert Leigh Torres led a team of researchers who observed dozens of blue whales feeding about 100km off the coast south of New Plymouth in 2014. "We want to know when and where the blue whales occur in the South Taranaki Bight, as well as how many blue whales use this area as a foraging ground," Torres said.

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Blue whale survey begins off Taranaki coast

An international research team, working in collaboration with the Department of Conservation (DOC), has begun work on an extended survey to learn more about blue whales feeding in the South Taranaki Bight off the Taranaki coast. The research covers an area of the Tasman Sea between Cape Egmont and Farewell Spit and is led by Oregon State University marine mammal expert Dr. Leigh Torres. The research, led by Oregon State University, will be conducted over a three year period with support from the Aotearoa Foundation, a private foundation, in collaboration with DOC.

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Cloquet grad heads out on a whale of an adventure

Now a graduate student at Oregon State University pursuing a master’s degree in OSU’s fisheries and wildlife program, Pallin is working with Dr. Ari Friedlaender in the Marine Mammal Institute at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center. In Antarctica, he will be stationed at Palmer Station, one of the three United States research stations located in Antarctica.

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What a Dead Blue Whale Can Teach Us About Life in the Ocean, and About Ourselves

Standing on the blustery beach, Bruce Mate wears a camo slicker, green bibs, a tidy white beard and a somber expression. While Mate’s getup suggests a typical day in the field for a marine mammalogist, the box of latex gloves and bottle of chainsaw lubricating oil under his arm hint at this morning’s unusual task. Behind Mate and a dozen students from Oregon State and Humboldt State universities, a dead blue whale stretches across southwestern Oregon’s Ophir Beach.

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Southeast Alaska humpbacks tagged for annual migration

Researchers from Oregon State University’s Marine Mammal Institute returned to the waters of Frederick Sound and Stephens Passage in Southeast Alaska this month. It’s the second year of a two-year tagging program aimed at finding out more about the timing and nature of the annual migration of humpback whales from Southeast Alaska to the warm waters off Hawaii and Mexico.

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