Subject: belugas

Cara M. Gubbins (
Tue, 28 Apr 1998 15:37:36 -0400

Many animals show different respiratory patterns during different
activities, so this should be an interesting study.

There are some good references available on this topic.  Three free
ranging, wild belugas were fitted with radio tags which recorded dive
depth and duration on the northwest coast of Canada.  One tag worked for
only one dive, the other two tags lasted for 8 and 11 days.  The dive
data indicated that these individuals frequently dove down to the seabed
floor, probably to forage.  In fact these whales seemed to seek out the
deepest areas with depths up to 1,150 feet (350 meters).  They
demonstrated the ability to stay submerged for periods of 13 minutes or
more per dive. (Martin and Smith, 1992).  In studies in the open ocean,
trained belugas have shown a physiological capability of diving to
approximately 2,100 feet (650 meters) for up to 16 minutes (Ridgway et
al. 1984).

For further information check out these references below.

Martin, A.R. and T.G. Smith. 1992. Deep Diving in wild, free-ranging
Beluga whales, Delphinapterus leucas. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and
Aquatic Science 49: 462-466.

Ridgway, S.H., C.A. Bowers, D.Miller, M.L. Schultz, C.A. Jacobs and C.A.
Dooley. 1984. Diving and Blood Oxygen in the White Whale. Canadian
of Zoology. 62: 2349-2351.

Hope this helps!

> I am doing a science project on beluga whales and am focusing on their
> breathing habits. I have to observe them in captivity, but I was wondering if
> you knew anything about how their breathing patterns relate to their
> activities.