Cruise fauna: a whale's breakfast

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Much of our sampling was directed toward characterizing the abundance and distribution of whale food.  This image shows a sample containing a few of the delicacies enjoyed by whales in the Gulf of Maine.  The large shrimp-looking animals are krill, enjoyed by minke, fin, and humpback whales, all of which we observed during our cruise (stay tuned for photos).  Among the smaller animals in the sample are copepods: the breakfast cereal of right whales.  If you've swum in Maine waters, you've probably swallowed many mouthfuls of them.

The favorite variety, Calanus finmarchicus (Finnmark copepods) occur in very high abundance in the deeper waters of the gulf.  We generally find them in waters deeper than 100 m.  This year, there seemed to be strangely low numbers of them in the waters south of the Penobscot, where we also saw a lot of bioluminescence.  Of course, we'll have to do the full analysis before we can be sure about these results.

Keep checking back for more wildlife photos from the cruise.

Copepods and krill from a net sample.

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This page contains a single entry by Nick Record published on July 18, 2009 7:34 PM.

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