A New Stranding Theory

The findings of Margaret Klinowska (see Dolphin Behaviour/Strandings in the Menu at the left) inspired us to prove whether sperm whale strandings around the North Sea are possibly related to geomagnetic storms triggered by solar activity (based on the sunspot cycle length). Solar activity can be an important factor in our lives, when solar flares affect the life on earth (temporary disruption of TV, radio and power supply systems for example).

Data from 1712 to 2003 was used and we found that 90% of all sperm strandings around the North Sea happened during solar cycle lengths shorter than 11 years. The North Sea acted like a mouse trap, in which misguided sperm whales on their migration routes stranded.

A complete view of our findings is published in the Journal of Sea Research:

Vanselow K. H. & K. Ricklefs (2005) Are solar activity and sperm whale Physeter macrocephalus strandings around the North Sea related? Journal of Sea Research 53 (4): 319-327.

Thanks to Dr. Vanselow for providing this abstract and letting me know about the study!

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