Orca

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."

Female orcas have extremely long postreproductive life spans; they stop reproducing in their late 30s and early 40s but can continue to live for decades thereafter

Orca grandmothers improve survival of their grandoffspring

In a study involving 378 orcas (or killer whales), researchers observed the first non-human example of the "grandmother effect" in a menopausal species.

This is when post-reproductive grandmothers (in this case, orcas) assist other members of the species with their offspring, thereby improving the young ones’ chances of survival. It was found that these post-reproductive orcas had the largest beneficial impact on their grandoffspring’s survival chances.

Male orca breaching

Sounds of orca send whales fleeing

Regarded as one of the ocean's most formidable predators, killer whales are pack hunters, with some orcas hunting other marine mammals while others prefer to eat only fish. In a new study published in Journal of Experimental Biology, Matthew Bowers from Duke University and colleagues speculated whether aquatic mammals that are potential killer whale prey could distinguish calls of the predatory killers from those of other marine mammals.

Male orca breaching

Sounds of orca send whales fleeing

Regarded as one of the ocean's most formidable predators, killer whales are pack hunters, with some orcas hunting other marine mammals while others prefer to eat only fish. In a new study published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, Matthew Bowers from Duke University and colleagues speculated whether aquatic mammals that are potential killer whale prey could distinguish calls of the predatory killers from those of other marine mammals.

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.

Are Puget Sound Orcas starving to death?

As salmon runs decline, killer whale numbers take their hardest hit since the 1990s. Seven Puget Sound orcas most likely died this year.

Two of the resident orca families from Puget sound —L and K pods—have been seen in recent years feeding off the California coast in the winter. That was unheard of before early this decade, leading scientists to speculate they are driven to swim hundreds of miles just to meet their minimum nutritional requirements.

An orca's teeth are ground down to the gum.
An orca's teeth are ground down to the gum.

Shark diet bad for orca's teeth

Until the 1990s, only two kinds of orcas were seen in the inshore waters of British Columbia, says John Ford, a zoologist at the University of British Columbia and a research scientist at the Pacific Biological Station run by Fisheries and Oceans Canada.: “resident whales,” which prefer delicacies such as salmon; and “transient whales,” which prefer to eat mammals such as porpoises and seals.

Do whales like jazz?

Interspecies was started in 1978, to grant artists the same access to wilderness and wild animals that is usually reserved for field biologists. Their goal and belief is that science is not the only approach to understanding nature. During the 1980s, Interspecies sponsored over 100 musicians to attempt communication with orcas off western Canada.