Whales Irked by Underwater Noises Even from a Distance

Usually the whale, the biggest mammal on earth, produces sound for communicating with other whales. But, recent studies show that they are disturbed by the underwater noises even at great distances. According to the marine biologists working around the Massachusetts waters, the humpback whales produce less sound during the fall of 2006. They found this result by the technology that sends pulsing sounds to monitor fish stocks. During that period, they noticed a low frequency signal in their recordings.

Later, on researching more, they found that the signal comes from acoustic sensing equipment which is a part of a scientific study off Maine’s coast placed about 120 miles away. They were studying seasonal changes in whale songs in Georges Bank by recoding the sounds under water.

They explain that more frequent whale vocalizations were recorded during the same time of year in 2008 and 2009. The interesting fact is that this increase in whale songs was found when the Ocean Acoustic Waveguide Remote Sensing equipment was not working. So they concluded that the whales reacted to the low-level sounds by silencing their songs.

Denise Risch, a marine biologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association commented that this is fascinating to see the whale’s behavioral changes within a large distance.

In the past, marine mammals have been reported to face problems underwater from the noises of ships, air guns, underwater explosions and sonar.

Serious problems such as hearing damage and changes in feeding, mating and communication were seen among the aquatic beings. Surprisingly, this is the first time whales have been reported reacting to such sounds created by human beings.

Christopher Clark, the director of the Bioacoustics Research Program atCornellUniversitycommented that whales are social creatures which use sounds for communication.

He says that after starting to sing a male humpback will continue it for weeks at a time. Usually, the males sing to entice the females and show off to other males when they are in the mating grounds. Scientists are still studying about the males singing in feeding grounds.

He reminded that the artificial acoustic signals similar to the sound of a penny whistle has made a sudden change in the singing behavior of whales. This is a time that we have to rethink about our underwater technologies that use acoustics to transfer data.

Meanwhile, Makris, a co-worker pointed out that the whale populations changes dramatically each year due to weather conditions and the availability of herring the whales eat.

Don’t you think blaring noises have proven irksome even to the underwater creatures?

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