Whales

From: Greg Early (gearly@downeast.net)
Date: Tue Oct 01 2002 - 10:50:05 EDT

  • Next message: Greg Early: "Whale Population"

    Hi Jasmine,

    The short answer to your first question is I dunno...

    But it is not such a strange question. As a matter of fact a lot of
    scientists would probably like to know the answer to that question as well
    because if you could measure the average amount of whale doo produced each
    year, you could also make a pretty educated guess at both how many whales
    there were in the world, and how much they were eating each year. This
    would tell us a lot about how whale populations were doing (no pun there)
    and how much they were competing with fisheries. Those are probably two of
    the most difficult and important questions in whale conservation.

    Second question...Now here I can help you. See...if you work for an
    aquarium for a while (which I did) you can get to see quite a bit of whale
    (well...dolphin actually) doo. And no... it is not wax-like (unless you
    have a pretty sick whale). There are some physiological reasons for this,
    but the quick answer is that they digest most of the fatty/waxy stuff in
    their food and do not excrete it.

    This is probably a good thing as most waxes do not dissolve in water and
    that would mean whale doo either floating on the surface of the ocean or
    sinking to the bottom and piling up. Which is not as strange a thought as
    it might sound. Years ago, before anyone had taken a deep water
    submersible into the open ocean, most people thought the middle of the
    ocean was fairly shallow with a flat bottom that was covered in a deep
    layer of silt (made from dead marine animals and marine animal droppings).
     Turns out when someone actually got there, they found out it was very
    deep, had mountains and trenches, and not a lot of silt on the bottom.
     Partly because of geology of the oceans bottom...partly because of the
    nature of whale doo.

    In fact whale poop is mostly water soluble (except for some of the
    indigestible bits) and looks like a cloud under water (don't ask how I know
    this...).

    ge

    -----Original Message-----
    From: PRASAD RAO [SMTP:pyrao@msn.com]
    Sent: Monday, September 30, 2002 8:13 PM
    To: gearly@downeast.net; pita@whale.wheelock.edu
    Subject: Whales

    Hi. My name is Jasmine and I am a 8th grade science student. This may
    sound strange but I would like to know what the average mass of whale
    droppings are. I would also like to know if the droppings have a wax type
    of texture. It's for a project I have to do. Write back with the answers
    as soon as possible. Thanks for your time.
     << File: ATT00004.htm >>



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