Researchers study Arctic beluga whales with dive data

February 16, 2016 by Dan Joling

Beluga whales that swim from the Bering Sea to the Arctic Ocean each summer may be targeting Arctic cod and diving to great depths to reach them.

University of Washington researchers who analyzed 15 years of dive data collected on in the Chukchi (chuk-CHEE') and Beaufort seas say the white whales were recorded diving as deep as 900 meters, or more than 2,950 feet.

Researcher Donna Hauser says the study doesn't give a comprehensive look at the life habits of Arctic Ocean belugas, but it does provide insights into their distribution and foraging patterns in a remote region undergoing profound changes in climate.

Belugas are small, toothed whales that turn white as they age. They feed on salmon, crab, shrimp, squid, clams and small schooling fish such as herring, capelin, smelt and cod.

Explore further: Rare beluga data show whales dive to maximize meals

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