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Cuvier's beaked whales are the world's deepest-diving mammal, but studies of their behavior are constrained by the animals' offshore location and limited time spent at the surface.
The new data, recorded from 5,926 dives of tagged whales off Cape Hatteras, N.C., showcases the remarkable diving abilities of these animals and provides new clues to how they make a living at the extremes of depth and cold.
Dives - Meters - Hour - Sea - Floor
"Their deep dives average about 1,400 meters, lasting about an hour, while they are feeding near the sea floor. They typically only spend about two minutes at the surface between dives," said Jeanne Shearer, a doctoral student in ecology at Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment. "It's amazing that they can dive to such depths, withstand the pressure, and be down there that long, with such brief recovery times."
Past studies have documented the diving behavior of Cuvier's beaked whales in Pacific waters, Italy, and the Bahamas, but this is the first one focused in the U.S. Atlantic. Scientists estimate about 6,500 Cuvier's beaked whales live in the northwest Atlantic. Populations in different areas exhibit some differences in diving behavior, highlighting the need for data from around the world.
Study - Scientists - LIMPET - Tags - Cuvier
To conduct the study, scientists attached LIMPET satellite-linked tags to 11 Cuvier's beaked whales that live and dive most of the year in waters a two-hour boat ride from Cape Hatteras. One tag...
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