Humpback whale research at Stellwagen Bank NMS shows fragility of species in close proximity to heavy human activity
WOODS HOLE, Mass. — When the whale known as Touché is hungry for a school of fatty fish, he circles below them, fashioning a net of air by streaming bubbles from his blowhole. Then he corkscrews toward the surface of the Gulf of Maine, herding the fish into an ever tighter packet with the bubbles and his 30-ton body. Finally he opens his jaw wide, takes a monstrous gulp and relaxes, breathing deeply at the water’s surface.
Then he dives again. Over and over.
Touché’s feeding strategy, captured in June by an electronic tag attached to his back, is of keen interest to scientists tracking North Atlantic humpback whales off Cape Cod.
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