A recent scientific publication in Marine Mammal Science of research supported by the Bycatch Consortium provides evidence that the visual detection ability of North Atlantic right whales is consistent with the transmission spectra of its primary prey, the copepod Calanus finmarchicus. Light radiance, which is necessary for these monochromat whales to visually perceive these copepods, did not appear high enough to support visual detection at all locations where it was measured. However, it was recorded at high enough levels at great depths in some areas, indicating that visual prey detection is not restricted to shallow waters. The results of this study help inform the design of visual deterrents to right whale entanglements.
Jeffry Fasick of University of Tampa and colleagues show North Atlantic right whales perceive their prey using vision at multiple ocean depths.