In Brief

Ocean Feast Lures Whales to California Coast

A blue whale photographed during a summer 2004 expedition to tag blue and humpback whales off the central California coast. (Image credit: Oregon State University)

A bevy of hungry blue and humpback whales, dolphins and orcas has appeared offshore of Central California this week. The crowds gorged on krill and squid, food for whales and dolphins, respectively, while the orcas hunted for larger prey. The pods of whales were drawn in by an upwelling of cold, nutrient-rich ocean bottom water, which spawned a boom in small marine life such as krill, the Santa Cruz Sentinel reported. The krill was so thick in parts of Monterey Bay yesterday (June 18) the water appeared red, according to the Monterey Bay Whale Watch Center.

Blue whales are the biggest animals on Earth. About 2,800 blue whales spend June through October feeding on krill offshore of California near the Channel Islands, Monterey Bay and the Farallon Islands.

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Becky Oskin
Contributing Writer
Becky Oskin covers Earth science, climate change and space, as well as general science topics. Becky was a science reporter at Live Science and The Pasadena Star-News; she has freelanced for New Scientist and the American Institute of Physics. She earned a master's degree in geology from Caltech, a bachelor's degree from Washington State University, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz.