This was first published in Free Radicals: On the Water,
A digital webmagazine of the BU Science Journalism program
Scientists estimate the average lifespan of large whales to be around 50 to 75 years. Yet when these gentle ocean giants die and drift slowly to the seafloor, their bodies become a vast ecosystem for other sea life for up to a century.
I'm Emily Greenhalgh, a Boston-based science writer, editor, and illustrator.