"Blue whales don't live in a world of excess and the decisions these animals make are critical to their survival," co-author Ari Friedlaender, a principal investigator with the Marine Mammal Institute at Oregon State University's Hatfield Marine Science Center, said in a statement. "If you stick your hand into a full bag of pretzels, you're likely to grab more than if you put your hand into a bag that only had a few pretzels."
As recipients of the first Antarctic Wildlife Research Fund (AWR) research grants, Dr. Ari S. Friedlaender (Oregon State University) and Dr. David W. Johnston (Duke University) will conduct a long-term ecological study on the foraging behavior of humpback whales around the Antarctic Peninsula, focusing on how critical foraging areas relate to historic catches of krill in the region.
Most people being chased by an angry leopard seal would throttle up their boat and roar away as fast as possible. Not Ari Friedlaender. When one of the 600-pound, razor-toothed, penguin-eating predators charged his small inflatable one morning in the icy waters of Antarctica, the Oregon State University marine mammal researcher paused for a photo op.
Oregon’s resident gray whales are attracting a new wave of scientific interest as the OSU Marine Mammal Institute grows, with last year’s arrival of marine megafauna researcher Leigh Torres and with the endeavors of van Tulder, who is spending every day this summer with her eyes on the whales.
Scientists don’t know as much as they’d like about our ocean-dwelling neighbors, thus a team of researchers from Oregon State University, led by master’s student Florence van Tulder, aims to learn more. She is leading a project this summer to spot gray whales that like to frequent the Oregon coast, track their movements and behavior, and compare them with photo archives in an attempt to identify individual whales.
MMI's Ari Friedlaender has co-authored a new paper describing how humpback whale populations have rebounded to up to 90% of pre-whaling numbers in Australian waters and should no longer be officially considered a threatened species.
Jana Jeglinski (University of Glasgow) and Markus Horning (Oregon State University) both studied the diving behaviour of Galapagos fur seals (Arctocephalus galapagoensis) during PhDs conducted twenty years apart. Recently, they met in Glasgow to compare their data sets and see what this might tell us about long-term changes in the equatorial ocean environment.
A team of scientists from the United States and Russia has documented the longest migration of a mammal ever recorded – a round-trip trek of nearly 14,000 miles by a whale identified as a critically endangered species that raises questions about its status. The researchers used satellite-monitored tags to track three western North Pacific gray whales from their primary feeding ground off Russia’s Sakhalin Island across the Pacific Ocean and down the West Coast of the United States to Baja, Mexico. One of the tagged whales, dubbed Varvara, visited the three major breeding areas for eastern gray whales, which are found off North America and are not endangered. Results of their study are being published this week by the Royal Society in the journal Biology Letters.
While it’s too early to have detailed results and analyses from the samples taken or the drone surveys so far, Ari Friedlaender of the Marine Mammal Institute of Oregon State University was able to explain how the drones will help. Friedlaender and his colleague, David Johnston, from the Practice of Marine Conservation and Ecology at Duke University, are two of the American scientists involved in the project. They and their teams are responsible for programming, transmitting and analysing the data collected by the aerial drones.
"If you look at the geomorphology of that area, it's highly productive and there are a lot of animals," says Ari Friedlaender of Oregon State University in Newport. So the whales might have been lured by the promise of food. Once in, they may have struggled to find the way out of the treacherous waters.