Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

SU Biologists Use Sound to Identify Breeding Grounds of Endangered Whales

26.03.2014

Remote acoustic monitoring among endangered whales is the subject of a major article by two doctoral students in The College of Arts and Sciences.

Remote acoustic monitoring among endangered whales is the subject of a major article by two doctoral students in The College of Arts and Sciences.

Leanna Matthews and Jessica McCordic, members of the Parks Lab in the Department of Biology, have co-authored “Remote Acoustic Monitoring of North Atlantic Right Whales Reveals Seasonal and Diel Variations in Acoustic Behavior.” The article appears in the current issue of PLOS ONE, an inclusive, peer-reviewed, open-access resource from the Public Library of Science in San Francisco.

Susan Parks, assistant professor of biology for whom the lab is named, says the article confirms what many conservationists fear—that Roseway Basin, a heavily traveled shipping lane, off the coast of Nova Scotia, is a vital habitat area for the endangered North Atlantic right whale.

... more about:
»Biologists »Shelf »acoustic »breeding »habitat »species »whales

“Remote acoustic monitoring is an important tool for understanding patterns in animal communication, and studies on the seasonality of context-specific acoustic signals allow inferences to be made about the behavior and habitat use of certain species,” says Parks, an expert in behavioral ecology, acoustic communication and marine science. “Our results support the hypothesis that the North Atlantic right whale’s breeding season occurs mostly from August to November and that this basin is a widely used habitat area.”

More than 30 percent of all right whales use Roseway Basin, part of a larger geological formation called the Scotian Shelf, throughout the year. With only 400-500 in existence, these whales, says Parks, must congregate in the basin to feed and find mates.

Already, the U.S. and Canadian governments have taken steps to redirect shipping traffic, in response to several fatal collisions with right whales.

Matthews, whose research includes animal behavior and physiology, says the object of the article is to determine how and when Roseway Basin is used for male breeding activities.

“Part of the answer lies in a loud ‘gunshot’ sound, made by the male whale," says Matthews, the article’s lead author. “We’re not exactly sure what the gunshot is, but we think it may be a male-to-male antagonistic signal or an advertisement to females. … During a two-year period, we used non-invasive acoustic monitoring to analyze gunshots at two locations on the Scotian Shelf. The resultant data has provided tremendous insights into the whales’ feeding and mating habits.”

Matthews and her team found that gunshot sound production occurred mainly in the autumn and, more often than not, at night. Researchers say this kind of information is essential to not only the individual fitness of each whale, but also the survival of the species, in general.

McCordic, whose research spans animal behavior and communication, says the observed seasonal increase in gunshot sound production is consistent with the current understanding of the right whale breeding season.

“Our results demonstrate that detection of gunshots with remote acoustic monitoring can be a reliable way to track shifts in distribution and changes in acoustic behavior, including possible mating activities,” she says, acknowledging David Mellinger, associate professor of marine bioacoustics at Oregon State University, who collected and provided access to the recordings used in the study. “It also provides a better understanding of right whale behavior and what needs to be done with future conservation efforts.”

Parks, who assisted with the article, is proud of her students' accomplishments.

“Right whales are increasingly rare, and Leanna’s and Jessica’s research helps us understand how to better protect them,” she says. “By identifying potential breeding areas, we might be able to save this critically endangered species.”

Keith Kobland | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://news.syr.edu/su-biologists-use-sound-to-identify-breeding-grounds-of-endangered-whales-55052/

Further reports about: Biologists Shelf acoustic breeding habitat species whales

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Endangered corals smothered by sponges on overfished Caribbean reefs
28.04.2015 | PeerJ

nachricht Traffic emissions may pollute 1 in 3 Canadian homes
22.04.2015 | University of Toronto Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Pulsar with widest orbit ever detected

Discovered by high school research team

A team of highly determined high school students discovered a never-before-seen pulsar by painstakingly analyzing data from the National Science Foundation's...

Im Focus: Erosion, landslides and monsoon across the Himalaya

Scientists from Nepal, Switzerland and Germany was now able to show how erosion processes caused by the monsoon are mirrored in the sediment load of a river crossing the Himalaya.

In these days, it was again tragically demonstrated that the Himalayas are one of the most active geodynamic regions of the world. Landslides belong to the...

Im Focus: Through the galaxy by taxi - The Dream Chaser Space Utility Vehicle

A world-class prime systems integrator and electronic systems provider known for its rapid, innovative, and agile technology solutions, Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) is currently developing a new space transportation system called the Dream Chaser.

The ultimate aim is to construct a multi-mission-capable space utility vehicle, while accelerating the overall development process for this critical capability...

Im Focus: High-tech textiles – more than just clothes

Today, textiles are used for more than just clothes or bags – they are high tech materials for high-tech applications. High-tech textiles must fulfill a number of functions and meet many requirements. That is why the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC dedicated some major developing work to this most intriguing research area. The result can now be seen at Techtextil trade show in Frankfurt from 4 to 7 May. On display will be novel textile-integrated sensors, a unique multifunctional coating system for textiles and fibers, and textile processing of glass, carbon, and ceramics fibers to fiber preforms.

Thin materials and new kinds of sensors now make it possible to integrate silicone elastomer sensors in textiles. They are suitable for applications in medical...

Im Focus: Fast and Accurate 3-D Imaging Technique to Track Optically-Trapped Particles

KAIST researchers published an article on the development of a novel technique to precisely track the 3-D positions of optically-trapped particles having complicated geometry in high speed in the April 2015 issue of Optica.

Daejeon, Republic of Korea, April 23, 2015--Optical tweezers have been used as an invaluable tool for exerting micro-scale force on microscopic particles and...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Green Summit 2015: the summit of the essential

05.05.2015 | Event News

HHL Energy Conference on May 11/12, 2015: Students Discuss about Decentralized Energy

23.04.2015 | Event News

“Developing our cities, preserving our planet”: Nobel Laureates gather for the first time in Asia

23.04.2015 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA sees tropical storm noul strengthening, organizing

05.05.2015 | Earth Sciences

Puget Sound's clingfish could inspire better medical devices, whale tags

05.05.2015 | Life Sciences

Green Summit 2015: the summit of the essential

05.05.2015 | Event News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>