Issue 31×08 is out now! You can also read free plain language research summaries for all papers published in the issue here. Also in this issue and free to read, Freschet & Roumet’s Review: Sampling roots to capture plant and soil functions.
Our cover photo shows a humpback whales, mother and calf surfacing. To study their nursing behavior, Videsen et al. deployed non-invasive multi-sensor tags on eight young
humpback whale calves and two mothers. These tags (Dtags) record both depth, movement and sound data from the animals, providing unique and detailed insights into the lives of whales in the wild (see Videsen et al.’s High suckling rates and acoustic crypsis of humpback whale neonates maximise potential for mother–calf energy transfer). Photo taken by Fredrik Christiansen, Murdoch University Cetacean Research Unit.)
The cover photo was taken as part of the project: Assessing body condition in baleen whales. For this project, the authors used UAV’s to measure the body shape (length and width) of humpback whales in Exmouth Gulf to assess intra-seasonal changes in body condition during the breeding season. From this, the reproductive costs for adult and lactating females was inferred. The authors also investigated the relationship between maternal body condition and the size and condition of their dependent calf. For more information, please visit the project homepage or read Christiansen et al’s article Noninvasive unmanned aerial vehicle provides estimates of the energetic cost of reproduction in humpback whales.