When it comes to survival several things are as important as shelter, rest, and food. For marine mammals such as whales, food is not only extremely important for their survival it’s also important for maintaining balance in the ecosystem of the ocean. These marine mammals search and hunt for their prey applying a variety of techniques to find, isolate, and immobilize their prey for easy consumption. Because there are approximately 90 distinct animals within the cetacean family it is important to know that not all species of a whale hunt or tackle their prey in the same way. Depending on the whales' size, social structure, environment, species and type (baleen or toothed) their diets can change extremely from small aquatic life forms such as fish, shrimp, larvae, plankton, crabs, krill and squid to large marine mammals (which are generally consumed by a killer whale) such as sea lions, walruses, seals, sharks, seabirds and also big whales. One of the most useful skills whales use when seeking for food is known as echolocation. Echolocation is a feature that is found in all species of toothed whale. Echolocation works by emitting a series of clicking and busing noises and then listening to the echos that bounce off of things in the region (such as fish or other aquatic life forms). The amount of time it takes the echo to revert to the whale can provide these marine mammals with vital information such as how far the object is, how solid it is, whether it is hard or soft, and whether or not the object is moving or still. By using echolocation whales can determine whether the object is prey, a predator, or an inanimate object. These amazing marine mammals will continue to create these sounds until they find the prey they are looking for and then decide the most suitable way for hunting and tackling their prey. In interest to helping toothed whales obtain food echolocation is also useful for traveling the ocean in dark environments as the echoes form a map of the environment which can help the whale determine where various objects are so that it can avoid collision with them. Since echolocation relies heavily on sound these marine mammals do not have to use their eyes when they are exploring for prey, so it is a perfect skill to use when diving in waters that are vacant of any light. Echolocation can be believed of as an extremely excellent version of sonar that not only reveals where a single object is concerning the host but also gives profoundly accurate information of the objects in the area in a slightly three dimensional way.
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