Question: What effect will Hurricane Isabel have on the whales in
Stellwagon Bank, if any?
Whales are very aware of their environment and what natural threats may
affect them. They live in a world of sound and sound travels farther under
the water than in air so they can hear water motion from events like
hurricanes well in advance. Whales may swim away from the bad weather but
they are designed to live in the water and they can hold their breath for
long periods of time making it less dangerous for them to be in a hurricane.
Just this weekend one of my colleagues witnessed a humpback whale in
Stellwagon bank playing in the high surf near a whale watch boat. The
effects of a hurricane underwater are much less severe than at the surface
however heavy winds can make their lives more difficult because a heavy sea
state makes the water very noisy and this can affect their ability to
communicate or echolocate, baby whales (calves) canšt hold their breath as
long as their parents so frequent trips to the surface can be hazardous, or
in productive feeding areas like Stellwagon Bank the weather may effect the
production and distribution of the whalešs prey species.
Below are some links to similar questions asked on WhaleNet:
Ocean Alliance (Whale Conservation Inst. & the Voyage of the Odyssey)
191 Weston Road, Lincoln, MA 01773
781.259.0423 ext. 14 fax 259.0288
Please support our efforts to conserve whales and their ocean environment
through research and education :)
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