The Beacon

Blog Tags: Blue Whales

Hot Topics: Noisy Oceans

A new report looks at the effects of increased ocean acidity on how sound travels in seawater, which scientists have long suspected to be influenced by pH. The report found that drops in pH affect the ocean's chemical balance and consequently lower its sound absorption, especially to frequencies below 10 kilohertz (kHz). The researchers say that by the 1990s, the oceans absorbed 15% less sound than during the previous century, which will likely affect the communications of ocean wildlife as well as military operations, by making sound travel farther and increasing the ocean's ambient noise level. Already, scientists have discovered that blue whales, which normally communicate below1 kHz, have started calling at lower frequencies.


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Blue Whales' Songs Deepen

blue whale songs

When I read the headline of yesterday's New York Times article, "Whales’ Lower-Pitch Sound Has Experts Guessing," I assumed the lede would be something like, "Whales' songs are deepening as they grow depressed about global warming." Just goes to show, I generally associate deeper-pitched sounds with sadness and mourning -- and I assign human characteristics to animals perhaps too zealously... As it turns out, the lower moans might portend good after all. The piece reports that the song of blue whales around the world has grown deeper -- and scientists speculate that it could be because their population is on the rise since commercial whaling bans began to take effect in the 1970s.


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Scientists Spot Rare Blue Whales in Alaska

From the Associated Press -- Scientists Spot Rare Blue Whales in Alaska:

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -- Federal scientists have sighted a rare mammal in Alaska waters - endangered blue whales, the largest animal known to live on Earth.

The sighting by researchers on board a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration vessel means the blue whale population may be getting healthier and expanding back to traditional territories.


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