Killer whales diving to record depths for dinner: Deakin research

Killer whales are diving to record depths to pinch expensive catch from commercial fishing lines, expanding their role as an apex predator to the very depths of the ocean, Deakin researchers have found.

Dr Paul Tixier, a research fellow at Deakin’s Centre for Integrative Ecology within the School of Life and Environmental Sciences, is part of the research team that made the discovery while monitoring the dive behaviour of a killer whale (Orcinus orca) in subantarctic waters in South Georgia.

Researchers used satellite-linked location and dive-profile tags on the killer whale, which was taking Patagonian toothfish from commercial longlines – a fishing technique using a long line with baited hooks to capture target fish.

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