Monday, August 11, 2014

Team Tags Whales for Ocean Traffic

Water makes up a huge percent of the earth’s crust and humans have been flatting and crossing these vast bodies of water for thousands of years. We share the ocean with magnificent, gigantic animals like the blue whale(Balaenopteramusculus), but what happens when our paths cross which could possibly lead to accidents and in worst cases, even death to these beautiful and mysterious creatures?

Near the California coast, busy shipping lanes intersect through the common feeding grounds of blue whales so ship collisions are not rare. According to PLoS One, halting or moving shipping traffic when a number of the whales are around could significantly minimize the risk of hitting them.

Blue whales are commonly seen in the north east pacific, traveling from the Alaskan Gulf until the warmer waters of the Costa Rica Dome. Their population rapidly dropped due to commercial whaling. Although there are groups and advocates like the International Whaling Commission who help protect them, their population is still at a terribly low number.

There are about 10,000 blue whales left and around 2,500 of them spend some time in the waters of the U.S. west coast. To find out which areas they usually stay and feed in, a team from Oregon State University tagged 171 of the blue whales with transmitters that they’ve been using to track their movements for the past 15 years.

Knowing where these whales stay when they’re in the west coast can help them reduce any accidents with ships that are also crossing the Pacific in the same route.

No comments:

Post a Comment