Dolphins

Includes orcas

The so-called “dive response” is not merely a reflex in dolphins, but an active response.

Why aren’t dolphins getting bent?

Marine mammals are not above the physical principles and processes that lead to bubble formation in tissues following decompression. Scientists once thought that diving marine mammals were immune from decompression sickness, but beached whales have been found to have gas bubbles in their tissues—a sign of the bends. In any case, how some marine mammals and turtles can repeatedly dive as deep and as long as they do has perplexed scientists for a very long time.

Swimming with dolphins
Swimming with and learning from dolphins

Learning the swimming secrets of dolphins and whales

This scenario may one day become reality. And to be efficient, such robots would need to be maneuverable and stealthy, and be able to closely mimic the movements of the marine creatures.

Scientists like Keith W. Moored are working on the next generation of underwater robots by studying the movements of dolphins and whales. "We're studying how these animals are designed and what's beneficial about that design in terms of their swimming performance, or the fluid mechanics of how they swim."

Record numbers of marine mammals, like bottlenose dolphins, have been recorded in the United Kingdom.

UK sees record sightings of whales, dolphins and seals

The Wildlife Trusts, which comprises 46 individual wildlife trusts around the country, reports record numbers of more than 800 sightings of whales, dolphins and seals in the waters of the United Kingdom in 2019.

Its Yorkshire project reported hundreds of individual sightings by trained citizen scientists. Among these were a pod of bottlenose dolphins making their way from Scotland to Flamborough Head in East Yorkshire-the farthest south they had been officially identified.

Whales, dolphins and porpoises should be enjoyed in the wild, not in captivity.

More companies cut ties with attractions housing captive cetaceans

Whether or not you have watched (or agree with) the movies Free Willy or Blackfish, the predicament of captive cetaceans is one that can spark off a heated debate from both sides of the fence.

Nonetheless, such movies and increased awareness have led to public calls for attractions and venues that keep wild animals captive to release them.

Marine-animal attractions like SeaWorld are particularly under fire due to their animal shows featuring captive cetaceans trained to perform for public entertainment.

A new study propose alternative mechanisms for how marine vertebrates control gas exchange in the lungs

New hypothesis into how whales avoid getting the bends

When air-breathing mammals dive, their lungs compress. The ultra-deep-diving feats of some marine mammals go beyond our current understanding of respiratory physiology and lung mechanics. But historically, researchers assumed the chest structure of marine mammals meant their lungs compressed automatically at great depths, an adaptation that prevented them from taking up excess nitrogen and getting the bends.

Many species of whales and dolphins have supersensitive hearing because they use sound to navigate

Whales and dolphins naturally muffle loud sounds

Instead of wearing earplugs at a rock concert, imagine you could simply tune a dial inside your ears to lower the volume and protect your hearing. In a new report published in Integrative Zoology, researchers have discovered four whale species and dolphins can do just that. This could potentially shield the animals from navy sonar and oil drilling, linked to at least 500 marine mammal deaths since 1963.

Observations made in 2006 and 2007 suggests that dolphins and whales may experience complex emotions once believed to be reserved for human beings such as deep grief at the death of a loved one

Do whales and dolphins grieve their dead?

A study by researchers from University of Milano-Bicocca describes observations of adults carrying dead calves and juveniles in 7 toothed cetaceans (odontocetes). The observation was based on 14 events from 3 oceans. The seven species studied were Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins, killer whales, Australian humpback dolphins, sperm whales, Risso’s dolphins, short-finned pilot whales, and spinner dolphins.

Orca performing in Loro Parque
Orca performing in Loro Parque

Sanctuary for retired cetaceans launched

The planned sanctuary will primarily serve orcas, belugas and dolphins endemic to colder waters who are retired from entertainment facilities, and injured or ill animals rescued from the ocean. Rescued animals may be rehabilitated and returned to the wild, but those retired from the entertainment industry, who have never known life in the wild, are considered unlikely candidates for release and so would be given lifetime care.

Adult female Bottlenose Dolphin with two young at side

Dolphins form open social networks

Richard Connor of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth tracked 120 males in the Shark Bay, Western Australia and found no evidence that dolphins form the groups to control either territory or sexual partners, suggesting their society is unusually open.

The researchers found no evidence that the large and complex social network in Shark Bay, comprising hundreds of bottlenose dolphins, is a closed group defended by males.

They also found no evidence that males defend smaller ranges or groups of females within this network.