7 avril 2009 25 Commentaires

Mother whales !


Mother Whales Teach Babies Where To Eat: Can Southern Right Whales Adapt If Food Becomes Scarce?

 University of Utah biologists discovered that young « right whales » learn from their mothers where to eat, raising concern about their ability to find new places to feed if Earth’s changing climate disrupts their traditional dining areas.

For a month after birth, Southern right whale mothers and their calves rest and nurse. Then, like the pair shown here off Argentina, they start to swim faster and farther as they prepare for a long migration in the South Atlantic to reach their feeding areas. A University of Utah study found mother whales teach their calves where to eat, raising concern about whether the whales can adapt as global warming disrupts feeding grounds. (Credit: John Atkinson, Ocean Alliance)

The new study – scheduled for publication in the Feb. 15 issue of the journal Molecular Ecology – used genetic and chemical isotope evidence to show that mothers teach their calves where to go for food.

« Southern right whales consume enormous amounts of food and have to travel vast distances to find adequate amounts of small prey, » says study coauthor Jon Seger, professor of biology at the University of Utah. « This study shows that mothers teach their babies in the first year of life where to go to feed in the immensity of the ocean. »



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