Subject: Sleep

Michael Wiliamson (
Sun, 09 Mar 1997 10:01:45 -0500

How do whales sleep?
It is believed that whales take catnaps where they can 
"shut" down one half of their brain at a timne to rest.  The 
other halk monitors the body, breathing, and environment.

Do they float on the surface?
They are positively buoyant with their oil, blubbler, and 
lungs, and negatively buoyant with muscle and bone, so the 
lungs and possibly some other mechanisms in other whales ack 
as a buoyancy compensator as in SCUBA divers or swim 
bladders in fish.

How do they breathe when they sleep?
Their respiration slows to about one blow every 2 or three 
minutes in larger whales and this is monitored by the 
"awake" side of the brain.

Mike Williamson

PS-Please use the ASK a scientist link in the future and not 
the listserv link.  Your question might not bet answered 
this way.  because we might not find it.

Please let me know.
Thank you
Morgan Husty, Age 7
London, Ontario

     J. Michael Williamson
 Principal Investigator-WhaleNet <>
 Associate Professor-Science
 Wheelock College, 200 The Riverway, Boston, MA 02215
voice: 617.734.5200, ext. 256
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