[MARMAM] New paper on estimating cetacean force outputs

Logan Arthur logan.h.arthur at gmail.com
Mon Oct 26 06:52:22 PDT 2015

Dear MARMAM subscribers,

We are pleased to announce the publication of the following paper in *Marine
Mammal Science*.

Arthur L.H., McLellan W.A., Piscitelli, M.A., Rommel S.A., Woodward B.L.,
Winn W.P., Potter C.W., and D.A. Pabst. (2015) Estimating maximal force
output of cetaceans using axial locomotor muscle morphology. *Marine Mammal
Science*. 31:1401-1426.

ABSTRACT: Cetaceans span a large range of body sizes and include species
with the largest known locomotor muscles. To date, force output and thrust
production have only been directly measured in the common bottlenose
dolphin (*Tursiops truncatus*), although thrust forces have been
hydrodynamically modeled for some whales. In this study, two metrics of
epaxial muscle size—cross-sectional area (CSA) and mass—were used to
estimate force output for 22 species (*n *= 83 specimens) ranging in size
from bottlenose dolphins to blue whales (*Balaenoptera musculus*). Relative
to total body length (TL), maximum force output estimated based upon both
muscle CSA (TL1.56 ± 0.05) and mass (TL2.64 ± 0.07) scaled at rates lower
than those predicted by geometric scaling, suggesting relative force output
decreases with increasing body size in cetaceans. Estimated maximal force
outputs were compared to both published drag forces and to the breaking
strengths of commercial fishing lines known to entangle whales. The
breaking strengths of these lines are within the same order of magnitude,
and in some cases, exceed the estimated maximal force output of whales.
These results suggest that while powerful animals, large whales may be
unable to break the extremely strong fishing line used today.

The article can be found at:


PDFs can be requested at Logan.h.arthur at gmail.com


Logan Arthur
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