What's on that whale? | WildWhales
The suspicion of a causal relationship between whale strandings and . they may even, in certain circumstances, have learned to trust us again. far the homeliest, their gunmetal bulks encrusted with barnacles and lice and. In our last Winter/Spring lecture at the Orleans Yacht Club, Peter Trull spoke about x “The Symbiotic Relationship between Humpback Whales and. The Barnacle & The Whale represent an excellent metaphor of a very common Scientists define the relationship as Obligate Commensalism, neither with and never cross from one specie to another (trust me I googled it).
Another type of relationship between two species is called commensalism, where one species benefits from an interaction, while the other remains unaffected. Barnacles on some types of whales have a commensal relationship. The barnacles benefit from having a place to settle and filter food from the passing water, while the whales do not seem to suffer any negative consequences from their presence.
Symbiotic Sea Life
Unbelievably, one healthy humpback whale was found to have kg of barnacles growing on it! Although that seems like quite a heavy load, that amount of weight for a whale would be the equivalent of a human wearing shorts and a t-shirt.
- Symbiotic Relationship Between Humpback Whales and Marine Birds Presentation Recap
- The Symbiotic Relationship Between a Barnacle Living on a Whale's Skin
In some situations, this barnacle coverage can actually act like a suit of armour. By rolling, they present the attacking whales with a back full of hard, sharp barnacles — a much tougher surface to penetrate. Have you seen grey or white patches of barnacles on whale skin?
It is not known exactly how young barnacles latch on to a whale in the middle of the ocean, but researchers think that whale skin may release a chemical cue that free-swimming larval barnacles are able to detect, somehow initiating the settling process.
Exactly how that cue works though is something that researchers are still trying to figure out.
The Barnacle & The Whale | @ Face Value
Living with lice Unlike barnacles, whale lice can only be transferred between animals through bodily contact. These legs look similar to those of human louse, which is exactly where they got their name from.
In the s, whalers noticed the small creatures and thought they looked and moved like human lice. They assumed they must be the same type of animal, only much larger, as they can grow up to 19mm in size. Many mysteries still surround whale lice, but we do know they are highly specialized. Humpback Whales feed primarily on sand eels also known as sandlancesthis food source is what leads to their interesting relationship with marine birds.
To better illustrate this relationship, Trull outlined the three types of symbiosis: If you think of mutualism as mutually beneficial, and parasitism as one benefitting at the cost of the well-being of the other, commensalism falls right in between.
Commensalism is a type of symbiotic relationship where one species will benefit while not affecting the other species in a positive or negative way. The relationship between Humpback Whales and marine birds is an excellent example of commensalism.
What's on that whale?
Humpback Whales will consume up to 1 ton of sand eels every day. When a large school of these fish is located near the surface of the water, the whales will then rise up with their mouths agape and take in mouthfuls of them.
This method is particularly effective for the whales to consume the food they need to survive, but it also benefits other species as well. Farther out at sea however, other birds will also get in on the feeding frenzy.
The term marine bird refers to birds that we really do not see on the Cape, because they typically nest on islands very distant to us,and when they are in the waters surrounding Cape Cod, they have no reason to come to land.
These birds are so perfectly adapted to the conditions of the oceans, including the ability to get all the food they need, that they spend all their time at sea. Common examples of these pelagic birds include: