Many people have heard of whales and their amazing journey across the vast ocean, but very few know how do whales live in the Gulf of Mexico (commonly referred to as the Mexico Coast) or why they are so popular to observe and study. There is no question that seeing a whales belly is one of the most amazing sights on earth, and it is very rewarding to sit at a scientific aquarium and watch a playful and fascinating display of motion in action. But why are whales so common in the area?
First and foremost, whales are one of the most recognizable species in the world. Able to move quickly and powerfully, they are amazing mammals that truly make an impression with their tails and quick, coordinated movements. The last thing you want to do is to miss out on witnessing a great event because you were too far away, which is why whale watching tours and expeditions should always take place as close to shore as possible. For marine biologists, whales are unique among all animals in that their population has not been drastically affected by human activities like mining, overfishing or shipping. In fact, whales have been able to adapt to changes in their environment thanks in part to cooperation from humans.
One of the most interesting characteristics of whales that make them stand out among other marine creatures is their incredible ability to smell. Aside from their sense of smell being on a higher plane than that of human beings, whales can also distinguish between different scents of various sorts. As a result, whales spend a lot of time drifting through the deep ocean, using their nose to locate food and other sources of food and protection. Interestingly, whales are not only attracted to the smell of things, but are also capable of responding to that smell with their bodies. So what this means for scientists is that whales are taking in as many scents as humans can, which is why they are so prevalent in the Gulf of Mexico.
When whales are resting, they face the problem of dehydration. Because of the weight of their blubber and the compressed air in which they breathe, whales must swim fast to stay afloat. If they had only been able to float freely on top of the water, their metabolism would have continued to burn off their stored fats to provide them with enough energy to float. The problem is made worse by the fact that mature whales can only breathe air for about ten minutes before they have to resurface to consume their next meal. In order to make up for lost oxygen, they have to swim much faster, which is exactly how long it takes a large whale to complete its daily travels.
Whales and dolphins are another pair of species that are frequently found together in the Gulf of Mexico. While it’s not entirely clear how these animals interact with each other, whales and dolphins do appear to form a close community. This community usually consists of one or two dolphin pods, and it’s possible that whales and dolphins play a role in helping to keep the dolphins happy by keeping them from swimming too far into the Gulf of Mexico or the nearby coastal area. Dolphin pods tend to feed much like a school of fish, and calves are born in pods. As the calves grow, so do the number of pods until there are several times as many dolphin pods as there are whales.
All of these species are found along the shoreline of Mexico, and they all share a common habitat: a temperate, saline-water body of water known as a sea-bed. Whales and dolphins depend on this sea bed for food, shelter, and a place to mate. Although it’s unclear how all of these animals interact with each other, what’s clear is that whales and dolphins are an essential part of the ecosystem that helps make the Gulf of Mexico a home to so many different species. These animals need the same kinds of protections that all other species of live in, and protecting these animals is a crucial step toward protecting the environment and preserving our natural heritage.