Subject: why do whales breach?

Leah Gerber (leah@fish.washington.edu)
Fri, 27 Mar 1998 11:26:21 -0800

At 09:02 PM 3/23/98 EST, you wrote:
>Dear Leah,
>        I am doing a project on whales in my Oceanology class.  We all
chose a
>certain topic to write a paper on and to make a poster about.  My topic is
how
>& why whales & dolphins jump out of the water.  I was hoping that maybe you
>could help me learn more about this.  My paper is due in a few days and I
need
>information soon.  I would really appreciate your help.  Thanks a lot.
>                         -Melanie Rowe
>

Dear Melanie,

Breaching? Whales jump out of the water when involved in a variety of
different behavior patterns, at different times and places, so it is
unlikely there is just one reason why they breach. For example, humpback
whales breach in their summer feeding grounds, and they also breach while
in their winter breeding areas. Sometimes they breach alone and other times
in groups. Sometimes mothers and babies breach simulatanously. Sometimes it
seems they breach when they are agitated, or involved in a competitive
behavior. Other times they seem to breach just because it is fun. Dolphins
also jump at different times, likely depending on their behavior pattern or
social grouping. Some species of whales and dolphins breach more commonly
than other species - so it is likely it has some social function. In sum,
we really don't know why they breach.

Leah