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Free Public Lecture: A Whale of a Meal

Date: 02nd September 2013
Time: 13:30 PM - 14:30 PM

Location: Kim E. Beazley Lecture Theatre, South Street campus

Distinguished Sir Walter Murdoch Professor Peter Madsen will deliver a free public lecture titled A whale of a meal: how cetaceans find and catch food.

Up until recently, the scientific community has had a very poor understanding of how whales find and catch their prey in the wild. The advent of small, multisensor dataloggers (that can be attached to whales with suction cups) have revolutionised our capabilities to study these animals in the wild.

Prof. Madsen will present examples of such data from whales tagged in the field and discuss the vastly different sensory and biomechanical means they employ to find and catch their food.

He will show how one of the slowest predators in water can catch the fastest animal on the planet, and reveal how deep diving sperm whales use the most powerful biosonar system in the world to catch prey at a depth of 2km.

Prof. Madsen will further demonstrate how researchers can use the beaked whales as echosounders to reveal how they catch surprisingly agile and fast prey in the low oxygen zone of the deep deep sea.

Prof. Madsen is an adjunct scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and a Distinguished Sir Walter Murdoch Adjunct Professor. 

Contact: Associate Professor Lars Bejder
Phone: 9360 6582