New research challenges the traditional view that baleen whales (Mysticetes) migrate between high-latitude feeding areas and low-latitude breeding areas.
Using populations of fin whales in the Mediterranean as a case study and reviewing the migratory behaviors of all baleen whales, investigators found that the seasonal behavior of Mediterranean fin whales is highly dynamic, that other populations of baleen whales show similar migratory patterns, and that the traditional model of whale migration is too simplified.
"Mysticete migration should be thought of as a continuum of different strategies that have evolved in the face of different selective pressures. A greater knowledge of ecological factors, reproductive patterns, and local adaptations is needed to understand the evolutionary mechanisms behind the diversity of migratory habits," said Dr. Christina Geijer, lead author of the Mammal Review study.
Explore further: Rare aerial imagery helping researchers access whale body condition
Christina K.A. Geijer et al, Mysticete migration revisited: are Mediterranean fin whales an anomaly?, Mammal Review (2016). DOI: 10.1111/mam.12069