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Ari Friedlaender's whale tagging research featured in Nat Geo documentary

In March 2016, MMI Associate Professor Ari Friedlaender was joined by a National Geographic film crew in Antarctica. The incredible footage will premiere on Tuesday, November 15, on the National Geographic channel. Dr. Friedlaender’s research will be featured in all six episodes of the new documentary series, Continent 7. [VIDEO]

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Study finds local fidelity key to ocean-wide recovery of humpback whales

Humpback whales can migrate thousands of miles to reach feeding grounds each year, but a new study concludes that their fidelity to certain local habitats – as passed on through the generations – and the protection of these habitats are key to understanding the ultimate recovery of this endangered species. The study documents the local recruitment of whales in Glacier Bay and Icy Strait in Alaska over a 30-year period. The researchers found that contemporary whales that utilize these rich feeding grounds overwhelmingly are descendants of whales that previously used the area. Results of the study are being published this week in the journal Endangered Species Research.

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New app features Ari Friedlaender's Antarctic research

WWF has created a unique multi-media and interactive app that engages people about the current state of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.  It is replete with sections dedicated to sharing stories and reports on Antarctic science and conservation in action. One section, "whale research above and below the ice," tells about Ari Friedlaender’s work in Antarctica to uncover some of the mysteries surrounding minke whales and how these poorly known whales survive in a changing environment.

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New technologies – and a dash of whale poop – help scientists monitor whale health

A lot of people think what Leigh Torres has done this summer and fall would qualify her for a spot on one of those “World’s Worst Jobs” lists. After all, the Oregon State University marine ecologist follows gray whales from a small inflatable boat in the rugged Pacific Ocean and waits for them to, well, poop. Then she and her colleagues have about 20-30 seconds to swoop in behind the animal with a fine mesh net and scoop up some of the prized material before it drifts to the ocean floor.

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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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