Subject: Dolphins, stranding

Mike Williamson (
Mon, 20 Apr 1998 10:54:43 -0400 (EDT)

                      J. Michael Williamson
Principal Investigator-WhaleNet <>
                   Associate Professor-Science
  Wheelock College, 200 The Riverway, Boston, MA 02215
             voice: 617.734.5200, ext. 256
            fax:    617.734.8666, or 978.468.0073

          "Mother, Mother Ocean, I have heard your call,
   Wanted to sail upon your waters, since I was three feet tall"
                        Jimmy Buffett

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sun, 19 Apr 1998 18:07:23 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Cara M. Gubbins" <>
To: Embo13 <>
Subject: whales and dolphin strandings

Hi, Emily,
Whale and dolphin strandings are still a mystery to scientists in many
regards. There are two basic types of strandings: mass strandings and
individual strandings. Individual strandings are easier to understand:
individual whales and dolphins may strand when they are sick or weak and
are unable to swim on their own. The currents carry them into shore and
they strand on the beach.

Mass strandings, when a whole group of whales beach themselves,
are most often seen with pilot whales and are not understood well. One of
the most confusing aspects of these strandings are that most or all
individuals are not sick when they strand.
One theory is that the magnetism of the earth disturbs their ability to
navigate - this may be what your partner is thinking of in terms of plate
tectonics. Other theories include brain parasites that impede navigation
or other causes for confusion. But right now, we just don't know why they
strand like that.

Good luck on your paper,

On Sun, 19 Apr 1998, Embo13 wrote:

> Hi my name is Emily and I am doing a project on "Why whales beach themselves."
> My partner and I think it might have something to do with Tectonic plates.  Do
> you have any information about whales beaching themselves?  
> Thanks for your help!
> Emily
> P.S  Even if you don't have exactly what we are looking for anything would be
> helpful!!