Fin Whale

Good for whales, bad for Labour

Mike Williams, affectionately known as "Fat Tony"

Mike Williams, affectionately known as “Fat Tony”

Apparently, some Labour sources tell me that there was a?lazy hundred grand offered to Labour prior to the election.

Tim Barnett failed to pick it up when Mike ‘Fat Tony’ Williams jacked it up doesn?t need to go on the whales.

With Labour getting?98% of their 2011 vote a spare hundy might have helped out.

Fat Tony apparently got?the shits with Tim for not turning up when the meeting was organised for the cheque collection and so the donor decided to give the money to saving the whales.

Which on the face of it looks like a more sensible investment.

The number of blue whales in the northeastern Pacific appears to have returned to near-historic levels thanks to a 48-year international ban on commercial or subsistence whaling for this species and allied laws enacted at national levels.

The current population of blue whales off the US West Coast is about 2,200, or 97 percent of their levels at the beginning of the 20th century, according to a study published Friday in the journal Marine Mammal Science. ? Read more »

The 52 hertz whale

This could is the whale song of what is possibly the world’s loneliest whale:

Since the 1980s, scientists have heard a single whale in the Pacific, singing at a higher frequency than any other?way up at 52 hertz, rather than down below human hearing at 15-20 hertz where blue and fin whales normally sing. In spite of listening in for two decades, no one has ever heard a lady whale reply. ? Read more »

Biofuel from Whale Oil

This will upset the green taliban, though what could they possibly object to about biofuels:

Kristjan Loftsson plans to kill 150 fin whales this year (Anton Brink)

Kristjan Loftsson plans to kill 150 fin whales this year (Anton Brink)

AN ICELANDIC entrepreneur has created a new ?biofuel? using whale oil ? which he then uses to power his whale-hunting ships.

Kristjan Loftsson, who runs a business catching fin whales around Iceland, claims his biofuel, a mixture of 20% whale oil and 80% diesel, is the world?s greenest.

Loftsson says the oil is doubly environmentally friendly because he uses geothermal energy from Iceland?s volcanic vents to melt the whale carcasses to extract the oil.? Read more »

What do Whales do when they dive?

Until now we have only had our imagination and some fleeting video to judge what Whales do when they dive.

A surfacing whale is a sight to see, but it would be even more dramatic to watch one ply the ocean depths. Researchers have taken a step closer to doing just that with sophisticated radio-tagging technology and a new computer program that uses the data to recreate a whale’s path underwater. The results, presented here yesterday at the annual meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, are helping scientists understand how the school bus-sized beasts are able to take in enough food to sustain their great girth, and how underwater noises, such as sonar, might affect their well-being.

Comparative physiologist Jeremy Goldbogen of the Cascadia Research Collective in Olympia, Washington, studies feeding in blue fin and other so-called rorqual whales. For almost a decade, he and his colleagues have been attaching suction cup radio tags onto the backs of the cetaceans. The tags record depth, sound, and other parameters as the whales swim. After a set amount of time, they fall off, float to the surface, and send out a radio signal so they can be retrieved and their data analyzed.

The work showed that in one giant gulp, a blue whale?the biggest creature on Earth?takes in 125% of its body weight in water and krill. During their dives, the cetaceans ram into patches of krill, opening their mouths wide and wrapping their jaws around prey-laden water, a move that stops them short. Next, they close their mouths and push water through their baleen, a system of plates that filter out the food, then speed up for another feeding bout.

There is a cool video that shows about 20 minutes of diving and feeding behaviour (compressed into a 30 second video):

…a tagged blue whale dives twice over the course of 19 minutes. The movie shows the whale moving at about 50 times its cruising speed. The first dive, to about 15 meters, takes about 2.5 minutes in real life; the second one, which includes feeding bouts, lasts more than 12 minutes and reaches down to 180 meters, where the whale lunges five times in quick succession, as if it were on a roller coaster.

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