Humpback whales using bubble nets in Antarctica!! Several busy days with humpback whales in the coastal waters of the Antarctic Peninsula resulted in some amazing images of this unique feeding behavior. Two groups of humpback whales created multiple rings of bubbles to corral their prey (krill in Antarctica) and then surfaced in the middle of the bubble net with their mouths open to capture the aggregated krill. Dr. Holly Fearnbach, SR3’s Marine Mammal Research Director, and her colleagues John Durban (NOAA) and Leigh Hickmott (Open Ocean Consulting) were able to capture these incredible images with an unmanned hexacopter. These efforts are part of their ongoing research studying the health of whales in the Antarctica Peninsula, supported by the Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic Fund (LEX-NG), NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center and SR3.
Aerial photographs of humpback whales creating a bubble net to corral krill in the coastal waters of the Antarctic Peninsula. These images were collected from >30m (100ft) above the whales using a small unmanned hexacopter. Research conducted under NMFS Permit No. 19091 and Antarctic Conservation Act Permit ACA 2017-029.