Subject: Sperm and Humbpack whales/Getting started in Marine Biology

Lori Mazzuca (lorim@soest.hawaii.edu)
Sat, 10 May 1997 07:34:58 -1000 (HST)

Dear Nicola,
	Thank you for your questions.  I will do my best anwsering them
within the text.  I will do this in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS.  I hope the
answers help you.

On Fri, 9 May 1997, Nicola A. Young wrote:

> I am a junior high student in Utah, and am asking these questions for a
> research paper and my own information--cause I love whales.
> 
> 1. How many Sperm Whales are there in the world? 
	THE SPERM WHALE IS WIDELY DISTRIBUTED IN DEEP WATERS WORLDWIDE,
BOTH OFFSHORE AND INSHORE.  I BELIEVE IT IS MOSTLY BECAUSE THEY ARE DEEP
DIVERS AND CAN REMAIN SUBMERGED UP TWO HOURS, THAT THEIR POPULATION
ESTIMATE REMAINS UNKNOWN.  ADDING TO THE PROBLEM OF DETERMING ABUNDANCE
ESTIMATES OF THEIR POPULATION IS THE FACT THAT THEY WERE WHALED IN THE
EARLY 1800'S AND INTO THE 20TH CENTURY.  MOST OF THE GREAT WHALES WERE
WHALED TO NEAR EXTINCTION--LEAVING US PONDERING WHAT THEIR POPULATION WAS
PRIOR TO WHALING AND EVEN MORE CONFUSED AS TO WHAT IT MIGHT BE AT PRESENT. 
> 2. Why do people focus attention on the Humback Whale? > 
	THE HUMPBACK WHALE IS THE ONE SPECIES THAT SPENDS MORE TIME, NOT 
ONLY IN SHALLOW NEARSHORE WATERS DURING THEIR CALVING/BREEDING SEASON, BUT
ALSO NEAR THE SURFACE. IN COMPARISON TO THE OTHER GREAT WHALES, THE
HUMPBACK IS NOT AS DEEP A DIVER.  THE HUMPBACK WILL DIVE TO 600 FEET, BUT
ESPECIALLY ON THE CALVING/BREEDING GROUNDS IS OFTEN FOUND IN WATERS LESS
THAN 100 FEET.  THESE THINGS MAKE IT EASIER FOR HUMANS TO STUDY THE
ANIMALS.  WE ESTIMATE THAT HUMPBACKS SPEND ABOUT 70% OF THEIR TIME
UNDERWATER, GIVING HUMANS A MUCH LARGER GLIMPSE INTO THEIR LIVES THAN THE
OTHER WHALES ALLOW. 
3. How can I get started in marine biology, in Utah, at age 13? > 
	I GREW UP IN COLORADO, SO I EMPATHIZE WITH YOU GROWING UP IN A
LANDLOCKED STATE!  IF YOU LOOK ENOUGH, YOU WILL FIND MARINE RELATED
THINGS--EVEN IF IN BOOKS.  I NOTICED THE LAST VISIT I HAD TO COLORADO THAT
A SHOPPING MALL HAD BUILT AN "OCEAN THEATRE" MADE UP OF LIFESIZE MARINE
CREATURES.  LOOK AROUND, YOU MIGHT BE SURPRISED AT WHAT YOU WILL FIND.  I
ALSO HAD A FEW AQUARIUMS WITH FISH WHILE I WAS GROWING UP.  I LEARNED A
LOT THAT WAY. BUT MOST IMPORTANT FOR YOU NOW IS TO TAKE THE SCIENCES.
TAKE MATH, SCIENCE, STATISTICS, CHEMISTRY, PHYSICS, OR WHATEVER IS OFFERED
AT YOUR SCHOOL.  I PROMISE, IT WILL ONLY HELP YOU. ALSO TALK TO PEOPLE WHO
HAVE GONE TO SCHOOL.  FIND A GOOD COLLEGE PROGRAM.  YOU HAVE PLENTY TIME
TO SEARCH.  

GOOD LUCK!  I HOPE THIS HELPS.

SINCERELY,
LORI MAZZUCA