Cod with satellite tag eaten by a whale contributes to science

Sperm whale diving behaviour recorded in the N-Atlantic following predation on Atlantic cod tagged with pop-up satellite tag 

Cod with satellite tag eaten by whale www.laxfiskar.is

In a study on Atlantic cod using pop-up satellite tags (PSATs), carried out by Johannes Sturlaugsson and colleagues at the research company Laxfiskar (Cod PSAT Research Project), one of the cod was eaten by whale. That gave remarkable insight into such event but moreover changed the study on that cod behaviour ecology into study of whale behaviour. The cod had carried the PSAT for nearly 5 months and was at 300m depth in cold sea (2.1¬įC) in Icelandic waters when eaten by the whale as shown in figure.

The PSAT got ‚Äústuck‚ÄĚ in the whale for one month until it came out of the whale and floated to the surface. Five days later the tag started transmitting as it had been programmed to do. The data received from the tag through Argos satellites, from the period when the PSAT stayed within the digestive tract of the whale, gives very valuable information on the diving and non-diving behaviour of the whale. The temperature data also gives interesting information that partly reflects feeding and resting. When looking to available data on marine mammal diving patterns this unpredictable whale study has already shown according to the maximum depths recorded up to more than 800 m and the diving pattern involved that the predator was sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus). Male sperm whale are known to feed in northern areas in the N-Atlantic and here we get valuable information on their feeding behaviour in that habitat. Additionally the information on the sperm whale diving will be useful as reference for those counting sperm whales as such detailed information on the diving pattern of those whales in this area of the N-Atlantic are not available.

Cod with satellite tag eaten by whale www.laxfiskar.is

Information from pop-up satellite tag showing the depth of the cod carrying the tag and corre-sponding sea temperature. The recordings also show the time when the cod was eaten by whale as well as the behaviour of the whale the first hours following the predation.


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