Discovering the Mysterious Annual Reunion of Orcas

Recently, a brand new marine wildlife hot spot was discovered near the Western Australian coastline. It’s now seen that every summer, this area becomes the centre for the largest gathering of killer whales in the Southern Hemisphere. Not to mention that it draws in crowds of whale sharks, giant squid, sperm whales, and masses of seabirds. 

It’s truly a sight to behold. The whales diving deep underwater with their gaping mouths held open to filter feed on creatures that are invisible to our naked eye while seabirds soar and twirl in the air above searching for a chance to dive into the water and find a bite to eat. Giant squid swirl among the other wildlife, catching fish and shrimp for a nutritious meal.

Although scientists can’t be sure of just why all this magnificent wildlife gathers in the same region of the world’s oceans and specific depth every year, they can understand different parts of this phenomenon. Through hydrodynamic modelling of what’s now called the “Orca Plateau” of the Hood Canyon, they have found that this area has a concentrated flow of organic material. This organic material is the main diet for deep sea crabs, squids, and other filter feeders which in turn form the main diet of killer whales. 

The first step to understanding what’s drawing all these animals into the area for this yearly congregation is to understand the feeding cycles of this food web. While there are still many mysteries to uncover about this natural phenomenon, this is the first step in explaining it.

Looking for more orca footage that will leave you awe-struck? Visit the Good Stock Library’s Collection to preview more.

Source: Science Daily.
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