Behavioral impacts of disentanglement of a right whale under sedation and the energetic cost of entanglement


van der Hoop, J., Moore, M., Fahlman, A., Bocconcelli, A., George, C. et al.



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Marine Mammal Science

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Biology Department, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts, U.S.A

The kinematics of a tagged entangled North Atlantic right whale, before, during and after disentanglement were examined. Three sets of gear attached to a load-cell tensiometer at multiple speeds were used to calculate additional drag forces and energetic demand. Tag analyses revealed significant increases in dive depths and duration; ascent, descent and fluke stroke rates; and decreases in rot mean square fluke amplitude were significantly greater than in the non-entangled case. Increases in total power input over the non-entangled condition ranged from 1.6% to 120.9% for all gear configurations tested. Locomotory power requirements increased 60-164.6%. These results suggest significant alteration to swimming patterns and the magnitude of energy depletion in a chronically entangled whale.