Because of their natural habitat in dark, icy waters, belugas remain somewhat mysterious to scientists in many ways — but they are widely regarded as extremely intuitive and sensitive, with excellent communication skills. Areas such as the dorsal ridge, the edges of the pectoral flippers and the edges of the tail flukes may be darker on adult belugas. Whistles: narrow-band frequency-modulated vocalizations, Pulsed sounds: trains of broad band pulses. Katona SK, V Rough and DT Richardson. Heavy metals and selenium in tissues of beluga whales. Research conducted in wild populations has yielded two theories on how age is determined based on Growth Layer Groups (GLGs). Pods can join to form herds of several hundred animals at a time. Systemic effects of Arctic pollutants in beluga whales indicated by CYP1A1 expression. Sergeant DE. Shaffer SA, Costa DP, Williams TM and Ridgeway SH. They have an uncanny instinct about people. Typical thickness of blubber is 4 inches (10 cm), but thicknesses of up to 10.6 inches (27 cm) have been reported. In addition, there is a sub-Arctic group that is a year-round resident of the St. Lawrence River Estuary. There’s lots of background chatter like you would hear in a crowded room,” he said. During sound production, a beluga whale's melon changes shape. This comes in contrast to other areas, like the dwindling beluga population in Quebec’s St. Lawrence River, which has heavy shipping traffic and large vessels. National Marine Mammal Laboratory, Alaska Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries Service, NOAA.

The beluga engages in unihemispheric slow wave sleep (USWS) in which one half of its brain is in a sleep state, while the other half maintains visual and auditory awareness of the environment, while allowing it to surface to breathe. Tutorial: Where are marine animals likely to be located relative to the source? Visual field organization and retinal resolution of the beluga, Moore PWB, Pawloski DA and Dankiewicz L.  1995. Harley HE, Xitco Jr MJ, and Roitblat HL. The auditory cortex of the brain is highly developed.

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Visual behaviors such as breaches, pectoral slaps (slapping a pectoral flipper on the water's surface), and lobtails (slapping flukes on the water's surface) are not as common in belugas as in some other whale species. Crazy about roller coasters? A 3-4 week clerkship for veterinary students wanting to augment their knowledge and experience in non-domestic animal medicine. Average calf birth weight is 119-145 lbs. Georgia Aquarium offers sleepovers for families, youth groups, schools, companies, and more.

Sounds are received and conducted through the lower jaw to the middle ear, inner ear, and then to hearing centers in the brain via the auditory nerve. “Most of their sounds are high-pitched but they have a whole repertoire of lower sounds, too.”. How is sound used to measure the upper ocean? Segregation of Beaufort Sea beluga whales during the open-water season.

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