Whales migrate more than 5,100 miles

April 10, 2007

U.S. scientists have found humpback whales migrate more than 5,100 miles from Central America to Antarctica -- a record mammalian migration.

The study's lead author -- Kristin Rasmussen, a biologist with the Cascadia Research Collective in Olympia, Wash. -- said the research validates a long-held assumption that humpback whales travel to warm water areas during the winter.

"It was very exciting because for years everyone said humpback whales could be found in warmer waters during the winter months but this was the first time we were actually able to quantify this on a global scale and relate it to these long distance migrations" said Rasmussen.

Researchers conducted the survey by identifying individual humpback whales on their wintering area off Central America and comparing them with whales identified on their feeding areas off Antarctica. Identification of individual whales was accomplished by comparing a unique set of markings on their flukes.

The study was reported in the journal Biology Letters.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: Scientists create 360-degree images of Hawaii coral reefs

Related Stories

Many endangered species are back—but face new struggles

June 2, 2015

A study of marine mammals and other protected species finds that several once endangered species, including the iconic humpback whale, the northern elephant seal and green sea turtles, have recovered and are repopulating ...

Climate change affects whales

April 8, 2015

Researchers at the University of St Andrews believe that fin and humpbacked whales have changed the timing of their seasonal migration in response to global warming.

Recommended for you


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.