Scientists from the Oregon State University have started using a research drone to film the behavior of blue whales. The video sheds light on how blue whales decide which patch of krill is worth eating and which ones are not. Leigh Torres, from the university’s Marine Mammal Institute, says that the research drone has given them a new perspective on how blue whales lunge feed. In the first part of the video you’ll see the blue whale spot a large patch of sea creatures, turn on its side, stroke its fluke, and go in for the kill… or should I say, krill. The next part of the video shows another feeding opportunity where the blue whale go on its side ready to feed, but then decides that the krill patch is too small and not worth the expending its energy for and instead resumes swimming.
According to Torres, “these animals have huge energetic demands because they are so big, so it takes a lot of energy… so these animals have to make decisions on what’s worth opening their mouth for.” Torres and other researchers have become interested in how blue whales find food because the information can help inform the management practices of human activities that can negatively affect marine life.