Blue whale behavior affected by man-made noise: study

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

Blue whales singing with deeper voices

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
Journal information: PLoS ONE

Citation: Blue whale behavior affected by man-made noise: study (2012, February 29) retrieved 20 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-02-blue-whale-behavior-affected-man-made.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
0 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

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.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more