Blue whale behavior affected by man-made noise: study

Feb 29, 2012

Blue whale vocal behavior is affected by man-made noise, even when that noise does not overlap the frequencies the whales use for communication, according to new research published Feb. 29 in the open access journal PLoS ONE. The whales were less likely to emit calls when mid-frequency sonar was present, but were more likely to do so when ship sounds were nearby, the researchers report.

The study was conducted in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Southern California by Mariana Melcon and her colleagues from University of California San Diego. Blue whale are important for a number of behaviors, including foraging and mating, but the effect of frequencies outside the blue whale production range had not been previously investigated.

The researchers conclude that noise resulting from human activity has a strong probability of affecting the vocal behavior of , even when the noise is far from the frequencies blue whales produce, and the long-term implications of this effect remain unknown.

Explore further: Orchid named after UC Riverside researcher

More information: Melcon ML, Cummins AJ, Kerosky SM, Roche LK, Wiggins SM, et al. (2012) Blue Whales Respond to Anthropogenic Noise. PLoS ONE 7(2): e32681. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0032681

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Blue whales singing with deeper voices

Dec 08, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Blue whales, the largest animals on earth, are singing with deeper voices every year, but scientists are unsure of the reason.

Lone whales shout to overcome noise (w/ Video)

Jul 07, 2010

Just like people in a bar or other noisy location, North American right whales increase the volume of their calls as environmental noise increases; and just like humans, at a certain point, it may become too ...

Sound maps reveal whales and noise pollution

Feb 23, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Chris Clark discussed his state-of-the-art acoustic animations and the difficulties facing whales Feb. 21 at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in San Diego.

Recommended for you

Orchid named after UC Riverside researcher

15 hours ago

One day about eight years ago, Katia Silvera, a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, Riverside, and her father were on a field trip in a mountainous area in central Panama when they stumbled ...

In sex-reversed cave insects, females have the penises

18 hours ago

Researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on April 17 have discovered little-known cave insects with rather novel sex lives. The Brazilian insects, which represent four distinct but re ...

Fear of the cuckoo mafia

18 hours ago

If a restaurant owner fails to pay the protection money demanded of him, he can expect his premises to be trashed. Warnings like these are seldom required, however, as fear of the consequences is enough to ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Lurker2358
not rated yet Feb 29, 2012
I ought to write a paper like this and apply for thousands in government grants.

No kidding?

Animal behavior is effected by humans?

Who would have guessed?

You sure?

I mean, where's your peer review to support these outrageously obvious claims?

Ah, I see, they paid six people to write a paper on the obvious.

Hey, maybe we can write about the sky being blue vs green.

I'm positive it's blue, but I could be mistaken, maybe I need a peer reviewed paper co-authored by six scientists to confirm that for me, just in case.

More news stories

Scientists tether lionfish to Cayman reefs

Research done by U.S. scientists in the Cayman Islands suggests that native predators can be trained to gobble up invasive lionfish that colonize regional reefs and voraciously prey on juvenile marine creatures.

Deadly human pathogen Cryptococcus fully sequenced

Within each strand of DNA lies the blueprint for building an organism, along with the keys to its evolution and survival. These genetic instructions can give valuable insight into why pathogens like Cryptococcus ne ...

Biologists help solve fungi mysteries

(Phys.org) —A new genetic analysis revealing the previously unknown biodiversity and distribution of thousands of fungi in North America might also reveal a previously underappreciated contributor to climate ...

Leeches help save woman's ear after pit bull mauling

(HealthDay)—A pit bull attack in July 2013 left a 19-year-old woman with her left ear ripped from her head, leaving an open wound. After preserving the ear, the surgical team started with a reconnection ...

Venture investments jump to $9.5B in 1Q

Funding for U.S. startup companies soared 57 percent in the first quarter to a level not seen since 2001, as venture capitalists piled more money into an increasing number of deals, according to a report due out Friday.