Ear plugs for whales?

June 30, 2015 Posted by: Emma Johnson
Boat on water with gull
Humans make a lot of noise: cars whizzing, horns honking, alarms sounding and many more. Over the years, we've learned to live with the noise we have created and found ways to communicate and sleep through the cacophony. 

Humans don't limit their noise to land. The drone of vessel engines reverberates through the underwater environment. Do humpback whales and harbor seals—animals that rely on vocalized communication to survive--respond to human-made sounds? Have they adapted to the anthropogenic noise in their habitat? What do they do to survive in these noisy places? These questions are at the center of two research projects happening in Glacier Bay. 

The hydrophones deployed around Strawberry Island will help researchers Michelle Fournet (humpback whales) and Leanna Matthews (harbor seals) gain a better understanding of whale and seal vocal behavior and how these animals respond to vessel noise. Check out Michelle's research brief (pdf) and Leanna's research brief (pdf) to learn more. 

humpback whales, harbor seals, research, bioacoustics

2 Comments Comments icon

  1. July 02, 2015 at 12:46

    It's so exciting to see news about our project! If anyone is interested in learning more about life on the island, or who our 2015 field team is check out my research blog at: mfournet.wordpress.com

  2. July 02, 2015 at 12:43

    It's very exciting to be spreading the word about our project! To learn more about our 2015 field team and follow along with the day to day activities of marine mammal field work check out my research blog at: mfournet.wordpress.com

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Last updated: June 30, 2015

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