Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Biologist Reveals How Whales May ‘Sing’ for Their Supper

17.12.2014

Humpback whales have a trick or two when it comes to finding a quick snack at the bottom of the ocean. But how they pinpoint that meal at night, with little or no available light, remains a mystery.

Susan Parks, assistant professor of biology in the College of Arts and Sciences, in collaboration with a consortium of other researchers, has been studying these unique feeding behaviors. Her research emphasizes the importance of specific auditory cues that these mammoth creatures emit as they search the deep ocean for their prey.


A photo of humpback whales taken by Susan Parks

Her findings are the subject of an article in the December issue of Scientific Reports ("Evidence for acoustic communication among bottom foraging humpback whales," 2014), co-authored by researchers at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, Oregon State University, Gerry E. Studds Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary and the Whale Center of New England.

"Humpback whales are known to cooperate with others to corral prey near the surface," says Parks, who studies marine science and acoustic communication. "Recent studies suggest they may cooperate [with each other], when feeding on bottom prey, as well."

Parks was part of a collaborative multi-institutional consortium that has spent a decade monitoring humpback feeding behaviors in the Gerry E. Studds Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, off the coast of Massachusetts. Whales were tagged with special underwater recording devices so Parks could determine how specific acoustic sounds correlated with successful seafloor feeding.

The investigation revealed that whales make "tick-tock" noises while hunting together at night in deep, pitch-black water, but are silent when hunting alone.

On the menu? Mostly sand lance—eel-like fish known to bury themselves in the sand of the ocean floor. Parks suggests that whales' vocal sounds may help flush the sand lance out of hiding to where they're scooped up and eaten.

The clock-like sounds created by whales may also serve as a dinner bell of sorts for other nearby whales during late-night feedings.

"Hints of behavior suggest that other whales who overhear the sounds are attracted to them and may eavesdrop on other whales hunting for food," Parks adds.

Prior to joining Syracuse's faculty in 2011, Parks held various appointments at Pennsylvania State University, Cornell University and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. She is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the U.S. government's highest honor for scientists and engineers.

Amy Manley | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://news.syr.edu/biologist-reveals-how-whales-may-sing-for-their-supper-81103/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Topologische Quantenchemie
21.07.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemische Physik fester Stoffe

nachricht Topological Quantum Chemistry
21.07.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemische Physik fester Stoffe

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA looks to solar eclipse to help understand Earth's energy system

21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

Stanford researchers develop a new type of soft, growing robot

21.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Vortex photons from electrons in circular motion

21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>