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Researchers use whale in Monterey Bay to study heart rates

Stanford University

MONTEREY BAY, Calif. (KION) For the first time, Stanford researchers have measured the heart rate of a blue whale, and it came from a whale in the Monterey Bay.

Whale heart rates have been difficult to study because of their size, so researchers got creative by using a non-invasive suction cup-attached tag with surface electrodes.

They applied the device to a whale in the Monterey Bay, a 15-year-old male who was also seen off southern California and the Gulf of California.

The study found that the whale's heart rate during dives was about four to eight beats per minute, but it could be as low as two beats per minute. The surface heart rate was at what is believed to be the maximum possible, 25 to 37 beats per minute.

Researchers said the measurements show the blue whale's heart operating at extremes, which may limit its size.

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Avery Johnson

Avery Johnson is the Digital Content Director at KION News Channel 5/46.


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