Subject: Whale migration

n.patenaude@auckland.ac.nz
Sat, 22 Mar 1997 11:35:59 GMT+1200

Hi. What are the specific orientation and migration patterns and
navigation patterns of whales? We would like to know how the sun and
moon affect the routes of whales?
What is specifically know currently about the underlying mechanisms that
drive them to migrate other than mating and eating?
 Thank you, for your time.

Elizabeth and Carleen.
 
  
The general direction of whale migration is along North-South route, although there also 
appears to be some level of east-west migration.  The migration of whales appears to be 
linked to their principle prey source: krill.  Whales spend their summers in high latitude 
(like the Arctic and Antarctic) feeding on prey, and then migrate to lower latitudes 
(towards the tropics) in winter to breed. The general assumption is that whales migrate to 
low latitudes because calves don't have enough blubber to keep them warm and remain in very 
cold waters. Dr Roger Paine suggests that perhaps it is not so much the temperature as much 
as the calm or sheltered waters that females seek to protect their calves (In his book, 
Among Whales, 1995, he expands on a few ideas about whale migration patterns).

No one knows what effect the sun or the moon may have on migration routes. Ocean currents 
and water temperature also have an effect on krill distribution, which in turn have a effect 
on whale distribution.  



Nathalie Patenaude