Ramari’s beaked whale, a mysterious discovery

The ocean is a mysterious world. Humans know more about other planets in our solar system than about the ocean floor. In fact, the diversity of whales inhabiting the ocean’s depths is among some things we do not fully comprehend yet. But thanks to new methods, such as acoustic recording and genetic testing, new species...

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Whales and Dolphins Uniting for Survival, Bounty, or Companionship?

Whales, dolphins, and porpoises (also called cetaceans) exhibit remarkable social behaviors. Sometimes, some species can form large pods that may span for miles and consist of thousands of individuals. One intriguing aspect of cetaceans’ social dynamics is the ability to establish connections beyond their species. These relationships transcend traditional species boundaries, with two or more...

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Toxic chemicals from plastics found in Norwegian marine mammals

Ever wondered about the vibrant colors, flexibility, and durability of plastics? These traits are shaped by “plasticizers,” chemicals added to alter plastics’ properties. Unfortunately, many of these chemicals find their way into oceans, posing a threat to wildlife. Despite some being banned, others are still being used in plastic production resulting in ocean contamination. A...

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Why are baby whales and dolphins born with whiskers?

Vibrissae, commonly known as whiskers, are not exclusive to cats. They are present on the faces of most mammals. While we often associate these tactile hairs with our feline friends, cetaceans (i.e.: whales, porpoises, and dolphins) are also born with them. What could be the reason? Are these vibrissae useful? Let’s explore the fascinating world...

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Harbor porpoise calves ingest toxic chemicals through their mother’s milk

The use of “forever chemicals” or persistent organic pollutants (POPs) has been banned for quite some years. They include infamous compounds such as PCBs or polychlorinated biphenyls, pesticides, and flame retardants. Yet, these chemical contaminants are still present in our marine ecosystems, and the porpoises inhabiting them. Scientists discovered that more than half of harbor...

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Whale Scientists Story — Clare Andvik 

Clare Andvik is a 33-year-old marine mammal toxicologist from the UK. She is currently doing her PhD at the University of Oslo, Norway, studying the effects of pollution and other stressors on Norwegian orcas. She is also mother to a 2-year-old (with another on the way!) and tells us what it is like to combine...

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Florida Manatees -Tough on the outside, but not invincible

Manatees, affectionately known as “sea cows” or “mermaids,” are peaceful herbivorous giants found in fresh and saltwater coastal areas. Despite lacking natural predators in the case of the West Indian Manatees (the ones we find in North America), their population numbers are not as robust as one might expect. This post will shed light on...

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Toxic Menus: Contaminants Threaten the Health of North Atlantic Killer Whales

In a ground-breaking new study just published in Environmental Science & Technology, a disturbing picture of contamination among North Atlantic killer whales has emerged. Persistent organic contaminants (POPs), including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), pesticides (DDTs, Chlordanes, etc.), and flame retardants, were detected at alarming levels in these apex marine predators. Killer whale photographed feeding on herring...

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A northern right whale… Dolphin?!

Did you know that sea serpents are real? Well, maybe not the traditional gigantic sea-living reptiles. But a first glance at the Northern right whale dolphin (Lissodelphis borealis) may leave you asking yourself, “What exactly am I looking at?”  In this post, we will meet a funky little dolphin species from the North Pacific!  Two...

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Barataria Bay Bottlenose Dolphins — March 2022

This month we shine a light on a very specific population of bottlenose dolphins. We can encounter them right off the coast of Louisiana, in Barataria Bay. The Barataria Bay dolphins are not much different than other populations found off the Gulf of Mexico coastline. However, they face specific stresses that threaten the survival of their population. Let’s find out about these threats! These dolphins hang out in Barataria Bay Barataria Bay is a sheltered…

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