Research into the migration patterns of whales suggests that they may use underwater mountains as a means of navigating as they travel thousands of miles across the oceans.
Data gathered by French researchers, who tracked humpback whales as they moved through the Pacific Ocean, suggests that the whales also use these mountains as meeting points where they gather to feed and socialise.
Each population of humpbacks has its own migration route; generally they spend the winter in warm, low latitudes or tropical waters breeding and giving birth, and the spring, summer and autumn feeding in cooler, high latitude polar waters. The humpbacks which feed in Antarctic waters and travel north to breed off Colombia and Panama make the longest confirmed migration of any mammal.
Sea mounts force up nutrient-laden water, aiding the growth of plankton and fish. It is thought that other species use these mounts in the same way, including fin, blue and sperm whales.