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SeaWorld researchers looking at orca heart health

SeaWorld is learning more about what makes orcas tick.

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A scientist with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography is conducting a heart monitoring study on a 50-year-old whale at SeaWorld San Diego to get data that can be used to help orcas in the wild, park 
officials said Tuesday.

The work by research physiologist Paul Ponganis is being conducted on Corky, who was outfitted with suction cups that contained electrodes.
Ponganis is hoping to develop reliable techniques to record electrocardiograms on whales while they are in the water, document cardiac characteristics at rest and during exercise, and develop reliable suction cup 
attachment techniques that can ultimately be applied to large whales in the wild, according to SeaWorld.
The results will provide baseline measurements that can be used for future studies.
Ponganis is also studying other animals in the park. The availability of marine life at SeaWorld allows a controlled environment in which to conduct the research and gather data while the subjects are at rest, and during various 
swimming and diving behaviors, park officials said.

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