Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Moby Dick’s Descendant?

01.06.2005


From the P&O Cruise Ferry, the Pride Of Bilbao, The Biscay Dolphin Research Programme (BDRP) has gathered a great deal of data on the distribution and abundance of whales & dolphins (collectively known as cetaceans). This wealth of data has demonstrated the importance of this area as a feeding and breeding ground for many different species with more than a quarter of all cetacean species being recorded in the area.



On a recent crossing of the Bay of Biscay in April 2005, Clive Martin, BDRP Director and on board Senior Wildlife Officer, witnessed a most unusual sight over very deep water (in excess of 3000 meters) – a nursery group of at least 6 sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) with calves.

Dr Tom Brereton, BDRP Director and Principle Scientific Officer said: “This in itself is unusual, the Bay is not well known as a breeding ground for these particular whales, adult sperm whales are often encountered, but breeding groups are more commonly associated with more southerly waters, for example, around the Azores”.


Clive, who was well positioned on the bridge of the cruise ferry, initially saw the characteristic forward blow of a sperm whale and examined the pod of whales closely through binoculars and was amazed to see that one of the female whales in the group (with a calf) had a pale, almost white head.

As with all sightings, Clive noted the position, number and behaviour of the whales and this data was be added to the BDRP sightings database. Clive was able to capture a photograph of the pale headed whale as the ship steered around the group to avoid any possibility of harm to the whales. As the ship passed, the whales dived gracefully, raising their tail flukes.

Clive Martin BDRP Director and Senior Wildlife Officer said: “Sperm whales are the largest of the toothed whales, measuring up to 18 meters long and routinely dive to great depths in search of squid and fish. BDRP records for the last 10 years provide numerous sightings of adults sperm whales which are almost exclusively sighted over deep water”.

“ This particular pale headed whale has not been encountered previously, but with the BDRP presence on every crossing of the Bay on the Pride of Bilbao, we will be on the look out for this individual in the future”.

Colour variation in cetaceans is well documented, with sperm whales varying from dark grey to light brown. Thomas Beale in the Natural History of the Sperm Whale (1839), mentions piebald individuals and full grown males having a proportion of grey on the nose.

Albino whales are occasionally reported and it was a fictional albino sperm whale that was made famous in Herman Melville’s novel Moby Dick. This white headed whale in Biscay certainly did not display any of the traits of Moby Dick. In reality, all whales are gentle giants, attracting millions of people all over the World to take part in whale watching trips.

For further information on the work of the Biscay Dolphin Research Programme (BDRP) please contact Adrian Shephard, Public Relations & Publicity Officer at adrian.shephard@biscay-dolphin.org.uk.

Adrian Shephard | alfa
Further information:
http://www.biscay-dolphin.org.uk

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht 100 % Organic Farming in Bhutan – a Realistic Target?
15.06.2018 | Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

nachricht What the size distribution of organisms tells us about the energetic efficiency of a lake
05.06.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

Im Focus: Photoexcited graphene puzzle solved

A boost for graphene-based light detectors

Light detection and control lies at the heart of many modern device applications, such as smartphone cameras. Using graphene as a light-sensitive material for...

Im Focus: Water is not the same as water

Water molecules exist in two different forms with almost identical physical properties. For the first time, researchers have succeeded in separating the two forms to show that they can exhibit different chemical reactivities. These results were reported by researchers from the University of Basel and their colleagues in Hamburg in the scientific journal Nature Communications.

From a chemical perspective, water is a molecule in which a single oxygen atom is linked to two hydrogen atoms. It is less well known that water exists in two...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A sprinkle of platinum nanoparticles onto graphene makes brain probes more sensitive

15.06.2018 | Materials Sciences

100 % Organic Farming in Bhutan – a Realistic Target?

15.06.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Perovskite-silicon solar cell research collaboration hits 25.2% efficiency

15.06.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>