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Dead sperm whale in The Wash, East Anglia, England. © CSIP-ZSL.

What have dead whales ever done for us?

When dead whales wash up on dry land they provide a vital food source for...
Risso's dolphin © Andy Knight

We’re getting to know Risso’s dolphins in Scotland so we can protect them

Citizen scientists in Scotland are helping us better understand Risso's dolphins by sending us their...
Pilot whales pooing © Christopher Swann

Talking crap and carcasses to protect our planet

We know we need to save the whale to save the world because they are...
Fin whales are targeted by Icelandic whalers

Speaking truth to power – my week giving whales a voice

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting is where governments come together to make decisions about whaling...

Why do whales and dolphins strand on beaches?

People often ask me 'why' whales and dolphins do one thing or another.  I'm a...
A spinner dolphin leaping © Andrew Sutton/Eco2

Head in a spin – my incredible spinner dolphin encounter

Sri Lanka is home to at least 30 species of whales and dolphins, from the...
Sperm whale (physeter macrocephalus) Gulf of California. The tail of a sperm whale.

To protect whales, we must stop ignoring the high seas

Almost two-thirds of the ocean, or 95% of the habitable space on Earth, are sloshing...
WDC team at UN Ocean conference

Give the ocean a chance – our message from the UN Ocean Conference

I'm looking out over the River Tejo in Lisbon, Portugal, reflecting on the astounding resilience...

And the award for deep-diving champion goes to?

Not the sperm whale as some might have thought, but in fact the lesser known Cuvier’s beaked whale!! 

Researchers from Cascadia Research Collective recorded an individual Cuvier’s beaked whale diving to a depth of almost 3km and staying there for 137 minutes, beating the former record holder – the southern elephant seal – by some margin. So how can they dive to such depths? One of the reasons is that there is a dramatic reduction in air spaces in their bodies, air spaces that would crush a human at a fraction of the depth these whales can dive to.

They found that the whales preferred diving behaviour is for a single deep foraging dive followed by a series of shallow dives, whilst the time spent at the surface in between each dive can be very short – just a few minutes.

Another interesting result from the study was “where” the whales were located – within the Southern California Anti-Submarine Warfare Range, one of the most heavily used sonar training areas in the world. The implications of this are unknown, have they become habituated to sonar? Do they only use it at times of no sonar activity? Is their behaviour affected by sonar – as in are they diving deeper than normal, or perhaps shallower than normal? It is unlikely that they are not affected at all and therefore more research is needed to try and unravel the mystery of these new record holders.

Find out more amazing facts about whales and dolphins.