Watch: Alaska whales caught on camera bubble-net feeding

Humpback whales "bubble-net" feeding. ©NPS Photo/Jim Pfeiffenberger

Drones and special underwater cameras fitted onto humpback whales have captured dual-perspective shots of the marine mammals feeding using a bubble-net strategy off the coast of southeast Alaska. Bubble-net feeding is a strategy humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) use in which they swim in large circles while emitting bubbles to corral a school of fish into a tightly packed ball. Once the circle is complete, and the fish feel trapped, the whales lunge up from beneath the circle with their mouths open, swallowing a giant wad of tightly packed fish. Researchers received the footage using drones to capture the bird’s eye view and underwater cameras attached to the whales using suction cups. Data tags also logged the speed of the humpbacks during the maneuvers, according to a press release, helping researchers learn more about whale feeding strategies as they investigate a possible decline in the population.