Subject: career in marine biology, whale watching, nets, pollution, age (life span), sleep and more!

Forum Oceanos (
Wed, 15 Jul 1998 18:14:43 +0100

Wow Clarissa! A lot of questions you have there!

Its always nice to know that there are people wanting to do something about
the conservation of the seas. I dont know about how long it would take in
the States to have a graduation in marine biology, but mine took only four
years, after I finished high school. And it was worth it
At your age you can do a lot about the conservation of the seas and
everything else. Even being far from the sea, there are still things that
you can do. For instance, when you go to Chinese restaurant avoid eating
sharks fin soup, because sharks are very important in the marine
environment and the market for this kind of soup is endangering some species
of sharks. There are other things you can do, and I think you will find it
fun to discover with your friends and teachers What can we do to preserve
the Oceans, being far from the coast.  The best thing you can do is that:
discovering what you can change in your everyday life t help the seas.
You will find a lot of links about whale watching in the Whale Net
Its sad, but some times the animals are not treated, as they should be in
some places. In other instances, they just have difficulties adapting to a
life in captivity or just end dying for natural cases. I dont know what
happened in the Shedd Aquarium, but I can assure you that in most aquariums
that I know, people try to give the animals the best conditions they can.
And about the Orcas attacking their trainers, I believe that it occurred
only a few times. If you think about it, the trainers spend a LOT of time
around the animals, and if it was really dangerous you would hear about such
accidents more often (we are talking about people with the proper training,
of course. If someone not trained tries to jump in the Orcas pool, then Im
sure IT IS dangerous!).
Regarding entanglements (thats how we call getting caught by a net)
unfortunately there are many dolphins that still die in fishing nets and
many other important species also get caught, and die, like sharks, rays,
marine-turtles and even birds. The tuna fisheries dont kill as much as it
used to do, because of the dolphin free tuna (in 1972 over 400,000 were
killed and that number is only a few thousand nowadays), but other kinds of
fisheries still cause damage to the ecosystems. Today in some places huge
nets, several miles wide, are used. These nets are like big walls in the
sea, but the difference is that the animals get caught and die. Some
institutions are trying to get a ban on this kind of fisheries. On the other
hand many nets are lost and continue fishing until they sink. Thats called
ghost fishing.
ome whale are actually hit by boats and some eventually die. This ocurs with
more frequency at the entrance of some harbors.
The pollution is other important issue. Not only the dolphins are affected
by it, but according to the Giness Book of Animal Records, the Belugas
living in the Gulph of St. Lawrence, Canada, are the most contaminated
animals. The marine pollution affects mostly organisms living near the
shore, but has become a major problem. I dont think that any dolphin was
ever known to have died only because of contamination, but it probably makes
them weaker and then its easier to get some disease.
Now, getting back to lighter issues, the whales have different age spans
(another way of telling how old they can get) according with species. Here
are some maximum ages for some species:

Fin Whale  85-90
Humpback  30 years
Minky Whale  40-50 years
Sperm Whales  77 years

Harbour porpoise  15 years
Bottle-nosed dolphins 25 years
Belugas   25-30 years
Killer whales  80 years (females).

And at last, do dolphins sleep only with one side of the brain at a time?

Cetaceans have a provoked breath, which means that unlike us they have to
think to breathe. Therefore, if the slept like us they would stop
breathing, so they had to develop a way to deal with this. And this way is
resting one side of the brain at a time, while the other side remains in a
low state of consciousness. This way they not only can breathe as they keep
alert for any danger that may appear during their rest (like a hungry Killer
whale, for instance).

Keep being curious about the world! It's great...

Hugs and kisses,

Fsrum Oceanos
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-----Original Message-----
From: <>
To: <>;
Date: Quarta-feira, 15 de Julho de 1998 1:29
Subject: more info.

>Hi. I'm 14 and I am a freshman in High school, and I have wanted to be a
>marine biologist for three years. Now that I am in High school I am
>more about what I want to do. So I would want to know how long you go for
>schooling and what I can do my age to help the ocean(remembering I don't
>by the ocean). I would also like to know where I can find info. on whale
>watching. I also want info on, if places like Sea World treat the animals
>care because by me (Chicago) there is a place called the Shedd Aquarium,
and I
>always thought they treated their animals with care but a belukha whale and
>dolphin died from being abused. I would also like info. on fish nets. Are
>dolphins getting killed still?(tuna)Are whales getting killed by boats and
>they both being killed by pollition?How long do whales live for?****Is it
>that dolphins can put half of their brain to sleep?****
>*********Do Orcas turn on their trainers because I saw it once on TV and
>that's what I wanted to do?*********
>E-Mail address-       TJHUDD@AOL.COM
>                                                              Thank you,
>                                                               Clarissa Bos