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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Albatross/Killer Whale Interaction At Sea

A recent study examining images retrieved from a digital camera attached to the back of an albatross made a remarkable find: albatrosses may follow killer whales in the open ocean in hopes of scavenging scraps of food. In addition to photographs, the camera also records temperature, so sharp drops in temperature often indicate the albatross is in the water feeding. Such temperature dips are associated with the whale photographs, which leads the researchers to speculate that whale-following may be an effective foraging tactic.

You can read more details and see a remarkable image showing albatrosses soaring behind a surfacing orca at this Wired Science article. Also, here's the link to the peer-reviewed journal article about this finding.

How cool!!


julie said...

yeah! how cool is that?! my labmate sent me that link a week or so ago and i couldn't believe it. albatrosses must be smart, cause only smart ones follow the orcas! :)

Monika said...


Heather said...

This was mentioned on the Cornell Lab's blog (Round Robin) recently, and they also have a video there (that I haven't checked out yet) of the albatrosses hanging out on land. Very cool stuff.