4 main types of cetacean prey

1. The first types of prey that many cetaceans prefer are tiny critters that form large schools closer to the surface. This includes several types of crustaceans (krill) and small fish (sardines, anchovies). And ironically enough, the largest whales prefer this type of dinner and have a built-in filter system called baleen that allows them… [read more]

Captive breeding of marine mammals

Ah yes, captive breeding of marine mammals. The editors of the Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals decided to have two separate articles about captivity. One on captive breeding, followed by an article on captivity. So in this post, I will just be covering captive breeding. Just wanted to make sure people didn’t think I was intentionally… [read more]

California, Galapagos and Japanese sea lions

I have finally made it to the “C” section of the Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals! Wow, blogging my way through the encyclopedia is going to take awhile. And so the C’s begin with the California, Galapagos and Japanese sea lions. My impression is that they were all grouped together in the C’s because California sea… [read more]

Bones: water living changes bones

Here I thought that reading the section on bones in the Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals would bore me to tears. And well let’s just be honest, some of it was definitely sleep inducing. Until I came to the part about “two very different trends in bone architecture and histology.” OK, stay with me now, I… [read more]

Baculum: the penis bone

Walrus baculum, 22 inches long The “B” section of the Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals launches with an article by Edward Miller on the baculum. The baculum is a bone located in the penis of several species. For marine mammals this includes polar bears, sea otters, seals, sea lions and walruses. Bacula (plural of baculum) come… [read more]

Albino Marine Mammals: the ghosts of the sea

According to the Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals, albinos have been spotted in 28 species of marine mammals. This number breaks down to 21 cetaceans and seven pinnipeds with albinos among their ranks. Albinos are most well known for their white or very pale coloring and pink eyes or at least that’s what I thought. But according… [read more]

Aggressive Behavior in Marine Mammals: can’t we all just get along

Reading the article on aggressive behavior in the Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals is a serious downer. Don’t get me wrong, most of the information is standard wild animal behavior, which the author, Claudio Campagna, nicely summarizes in the introduction. “Aggressive or agonistic behaviors represent a conglomerate of social responses, including male disputes over territorial boundaries, female fights to protect… [read more]

Abundance Estimations for Marine Mammals: nailing the numbers

After reading about abundance estimation, I have a new found respect for the population estimates of marine mammals… the all important numbers that tell us how certain species are doing and whether they are recovering or declining. These seemingly plain numbers fail to convey the detailed back story involved for each total. Counting animals who… [read more]

Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals: Blogging from A to Z

There it is sitting on my desk, all 1,316 pages…the Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals. Now this is no ordinary book, this book explains everything you ever wanted to know about marine mammals and then some. With more than 250 expert scientists and researchers contributing, it is a treasure trove of information. And for marine mammal obsessed people… [read more]