Scientists Use Technology To Study The Antarctic Whales

antarctic whales

A team of scientists turned to technology in their mission to monitor and analyze Antarctic whales and their feeding habits.

A team of scientists turned to technology in their mission to monitor and analyze Antarctic whales and their feeding habits. As such, the AAD or the Australian Antarctic Division started using electronic tags which come with cameras and motion sensors.

Such devices have been placed on humpback whales living in the Gerlache Strait, in the Antarctic. According to Ari Friedlaender, the project lead, this will give the team an idea as to where these gigantic mammals actually feed. Also, it will provide information such as their feeding frequency.

The tiny electronic tags will also provide various other data. For example, they may reveal the place where the Antarctic whales go to rest. Such insight on their habits could have a significant conservational value. The data may help in the management and the protection of both the Antarctic whales and their ecosystems.

The Tiny Cameras Placed On The Antarctic Whales Should Help Protect The Giant Mammals

These electronic tags should indicate any possible changes in the whales’ main food source, the krill population. As they do so, the devices will also be registering the effects of such fluctuations. Also, the tiny cameras can help report changes in the whales, their habits and habitat as they experience climate change or go through ocean acidification. It may also help determine the impact of commercial fishing on these mammals.

The tiny cameras get attached with help from suction cups which can last for about two days. As they fall off, they are then retrieved by the research team which then analyzes the gathered data.

“We have been able to show that whales spend a great deal of time during the days socializing and resting and then feeding largely throughout the evening and night time.”

The large humpback Antarctic whales are also not the only ones being monitored with help from electronic tags. Longer-term such devices were also placed on the smaller minke whales living in the Antarctic.

Image Source: Flickr

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