whale death

From: core@coreresearch.org
Date: Sat Feb 01 2003 - 14:33:42 EST

  • Next message: core@coreresearch.org: "Whale Song"

    What kills whales in the wild, and typically, when they die, do they sink
    to the bottom of the sea to be devoured by scavangers?

    Dear Jim,

    There are a variety of reasons whales die in the wild - parasitism,
    disease, old age, predation, pollution, ship strikes, entanglements and a
    host of other reasons. Those listed are probably the most common.

    When a whale dies, most do sink (except for those with an enormous amount
    of blubber which creates positive buoyancy like Northern Right Whales and
    some Humpback whales). If they are not eaten, it is likely that months
    later as decomposition occurs, the carcass will float to the surface.
    Gasses created during decomposition cannot escape the air-tight,
    water-tight skin of the whale.

    Thank you for your question.

    Sincerely,

    Lisa Foerster
    Director, Center for Oceanic Research and Education
    www.coreresearch.org

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