Researcher captures striking Antarctic video of minke whale

Above, a video grab shows a minke whale glide under the ice in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica. (Regina Eisert/Anthony Powell /University of Canterbury via AP)
Updated 21 March 2018
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Researcher captures striking Antarctic video of minke whale

WELLINGTON, New Zealand: Marine mammal expert Dr. Regina Eisert thought minke whales were a little boring until she captured some striking footage of one swimming underwater near Antarctica. Now she thinks they’re beautiful.
Eisert said the whales look similar from the surface but she gained a new appreciation for their individuality after seeing the markings on one up close. She said her team got the underwater video by luck. They’d planned to film underwater for two weeks but managed to get just 90 minutes of footage before running into technical problems.
A researcher at the University of Canterbury, Eisert said they were in Antarctica earlier this year mainly to research orcas in the Ross Sea. But she said their observations of minke whales could shed new light on their feeding patterns.
“Baleen whales are an important part of the ecosystem but they’re grossly understudied,” she said.
The conventional thinking has been that minke whales mainly chase krill, Eisert said. But she couldn’t see any krill where the whales were swimming, and so she thinks they may have been chasing small schools of fish.
She hopes they will be able to find out more about what the whales eat after taking a tiny amount of skin and blubber from the minke whales using a modified tranquilizer gun.
Eisert and her team got their footage after being dropped by helicopter on sea ice not far from two research stations, New Zealand’s Scott Base and the American base McMurdo Station. The US Coast Guard icebreaker Polar Star had earlier cut a channel through the ice to allow the stations to be resupplied, which Eisert said also provided a kind of highway for the whales.
She said there had been very little study of minke whales in the Ross Sea region, despite there being over 100,000 in the area. The cost and difficulty of studying them in such a remote and inhospitable place had been a deterrent, she said.
Eisert’s research, sponsored by The Pew Charitable Trusts, will examine the effect of a new marine protected area on the Ross Sea ecosystem.


What We Are Watching Today: Good Girls

Updated 20 July 2018
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What We Are Watching Today: Good Girls

Netflix MENA’s latest addition, Good Girls, has humor, character development — and crime.

Three desperate mothers — sisters Beth and Annie, and their best friend Ruby — are tired of working minimum-wage jobs and having unfaithful husbands. They decide to take charge of their lives, by robbing a grocery store. What they don’t realize is that they have stepped on to some very dangerous ground.

Ruby’s relationship with her cop-to-be husband is about what millennials consider “goals,” but as they struggle to fund their ill daughter’s medical treatment and bills, Ruby’s robbery threatens their synchronicity.

It also jeopardizes Annie’s custody battle with her ex-husband over her 11-year-old daughter, Sadie — the two share a harmonious relationship, although bumpy at times, they make it work due to Sadie’s maturity. 

But when it comes to Beth, she is immediately enamored with the danger that comes with their new lives, getting herself more involved to take her mind of her husband’s unfaithfulness.

The series has been picked up for a second season in May, as the short-season concluded with only ten episodes.