The RV Odyssey is equipped with a video camera in the bow which allows us to observe the behaviors of the animals we study and capture some great footage. We’ve seen many different species during Operation Toxic Gulf 2014, but the focus of our work is the sperm whale–the largest toothed predator on Earth.
In this Odyssey bowcam video the sounds you hear are not mechanical boat sounds, but the clicks of the sperm whale, as explained here by Dr. Peter Madsen. These are the sounds we listen for that allow us to track sperm whales. Also keep in mind the animal you’re seeing, as graceful as it is, is the size of a school bus, so a pod of sperm whales is the animal equivalent of a fleet of school buses swimming around the Odyssey.
We will continue to track and biopsy sperm whales, the apex predators of the Gulf, for the duration of this campaign so that we can better understand the impacts of the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
[Check out bowcam footage of Atlantic spotted dolphins here.]