Thursday, September 19, 2013

Biography Of A Blue Whale, Told Through Ear Wax (National Geographic article)

My friend Sheyka Nugraheni has a knack in collecting cool articles online. She often posts them on her Facebook. To make those articles available online for non FB users (or those who are not our, well, FB friends), I will start copy paste the articles here. Starting with this first one from National Geographic, written by Ed Yong. I'm particularly interested in this article because it shows how we can understand life history of a whale from a stranded specimen. You can also read the full article here.

Thanks a lot, Sheyka!

Blue whale earplug, extracted from a dead individual. Credit: Michelle Berman- Kowalewskic, Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, Santa Barbara,

Biography Of A Blue Whale, Told Through Ear Wax
by Ed Yong

A few years ago, Stephen Trumble contacted the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History and asked if they had some earwax from a blue whale.

They did.

In 2007, a large ship travelling off the coast of California collided with a male blue whale, ending its life at the tender age of 12. It was one of three similar strikes that year. The animal’s 21 metre carcass washed up on the beach, and scientists from the local museum examined and dissected it with machetes and excavators. They collected several tissues and organs, including a 25-centimetre tube of earwax.

Earplugs are common to blues and other large whales like fins and humpbacks. They are similar to the ones in your ears, although obviously much bigger. Each is an oily build-up of wax and fats that accumulates through the whale’s life. “It looks like a long candlestick that’s been beat up a bit,” says Sascha Usenko, Trumble’s colleague at Baylor University. “It’s not appealing-looking.”

Monday, September 16, 2013

Registration form and blurbs for the 1st National Indonesian Marine Mammal Stranding Workshop

Apologies for the slooowwwhh update. August and September (make it July as well) have been impossibly busy. 

But at least now I can update you about the 1st National Indonesian Marine Mammal Stranding Workshop. The registration form is finally available here (deadline 15 October 2013). The program blurbs can be read at the Southeast Asian Marine Mammal Stranding Network SEAMMSN website. Herewith I also give you the blurbs: