Subject: Migration,whales

Dagmar Fertl (Dagmar_Fertl@mms.gov)
Thu, 12 Feb 1998 13:38:37 -0500

     Dear Zachary, 
     
     It is pretty much the baleen whales that migrate.  Some small toothed 
     whales do "migrate", but not like the distances that baleen whales do.
     
     There are different ideas on why baleen whales migrate.  One idea is 
     that is has to do with energetics.  Some whales like gray, humpback, 
     and right migrate (in the northern hemisphere) to the north during the 
     summer, because that's when the waters have high amounts of food for 
     them.  They then go south during the winter to warmer waters to calve.
     
     Another idea is that migration is a throwback to an earlier time in 
     the whale's evolution.  That means that whales really needed to do the 
     migration to survive in the old days, they could probably get by 
     without doing it in the "modern" days, but that is a traditional thing 
     to do. 
     
     Another possibility, and this is purely speculative, is that the 
     whales are "meeting" at the mating grounds (remember, baleen whales 
     are for the most part not very social during the rest of the year) -- 
     this idea is pretty much frowned upon
     
     As far as general information on whale migration, there is a bunch out 
     there.  I'd suggest you check WhaleNet's links first.  I can tell you 
     that the gray whale holds the record as the world's longest migrator, 
     by calving in Baja, California Sur, Mexico and migrating north to the 
     Bering Sea, St. Lawrence Island, Beaufort Sea, etc for a distance of 
     15,000 km (for those of you who need help with metrics, remember a km 
     = about 0.6 miles, so you'll need to multiply to figure out the 
     conversion).
     
     What can we learn from a whale's migration that we can benefit with?  
     I'm not sure how to answer that, except that it's important that we 
     know which whales are migrating at what times and to where, so that we 
     can properly protect the whale's habitat during critical times such as 
     calving.


______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: migration
Author:  Carmel Robason <Cardor@htcomp.net> at ~smtp
Date:    2/10/98 7:31 AM


Sirs, I'm working on a projest for 6th grade Science Fair 
and need information on the migration of whales and about 
why they migrate and what we can learn from it to benifit 
from it. Thank You,Zachary Robason