From: Pieter Folkens <email@example.com>
To: GymboreeSI@aol.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: whale ecology
> WHat is a whales shelter or environment?
> What does it eat and how does it obtain its food?
> Explain a whale's adaptaion that helps it live and
By definition, whales live in the marine
environment—that is, all the oceans of the world.
There are a few species of dolphins that live in
freshwater rivers. Being relatively large and at or
near the top of the feeding chain, they have no
There are more than 80 species of organisims in the
order Cetacea (Whales and dolphins). There are two
primary living groups based on fundamental ways of
obtaining food: Mysticetes which are "filter feeders"
and Odontocetes which are single prey item feeders.
Mysticetes have baleen which acts much like a comb or
sieve and is used to keep small invertebrates and
small fish trapped in the whale's mouth. The food gets
into the whale's mouth by skimming (right whales),
gulping (finner whales), or sucking (gray whales).
Odontocetes have teeth which is used to grasp fish or
other prey items one at a time.
The essential adaptations of whales are to be able to
swim efficiently in water and to manage their body
temperature in a marine environment which ranges from
warm tropical water to polar ice. In warm water they
have mechanisms designed to help them "dump" heat
through convection and conduction, and in cold water
the ability to conserve heat through blubber
insulation and blood flow management.
I hope these answers cover your questions in general.
They are complex subjects with subitle variations
across the collection of 80 or so species of whales.
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