Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Each White Whale Has Its Individual Voice

02.08.2004


The fact that each white whale has individual voice is established by Russian scientists conducting research in the White Sea. Differences between white whales’ voices can be used in estimating their number.



"White whale individuals can be distinguished by the sound of voice practically like humans," - tell V.M. Bel’kovich and S.A. Kreichi from the Shirshov Institute of Oceanology. The scientists observe the animals every year in the White Sea by the Bolshoi Solovetskii Island, where their stationary is located. There dwells a population of white whales that includes many females with calves. The acoustic system consisting of a hydrophone, amplifier, and digital recorder registers communicative calls of white whales within the range from 0.06 to 20 kHz. The stable population structure is beneficial for identifying and distinguishing individual voices of the animals.

Communicative calls of white whales can be compared to human sounds. The whales make various vocal-like, voice-like, whistling, flicking, bumping, hiccupping, and smacking sounds and noises. Therefore, methods for studying human speech are to a certain extent applicable to whales. Their calls can be arranged in blocks that can be grouped at higher hierarchical levels. Certain blocks are often repeated, which makes it possible to suggest that sounds make up syllables, and syllables make up words in whales’ communication.


Using the computer program "Speech Analyzer" the researchers obtained amplitude/time, frequency/time, and spectrum/time characteristics of white whales’ calls. They got especially curious about vowel-like sounds that are either short like vowels in human speech or long like a sort of singing or bleating. These sounds are most characteristic of whale individuals because of differences in their duration, pitch, and timbre. Hence, they can serve as an acoustic mark of an animal.

It is curious that white whales, like people, differ by voice pitch. In the studied population, animals with high-, moderate-, and low-pitched voices constitute 20%, 50%, and 30%, respectively. The distribution of voice pitches in white whale males and females is comparable with that in humans.

The researchers have carefully studied individual characteristic features of whale voices and verified the practical applicability of that knowledge as follows. Using their acoustic device they counted voices in a flock of white whales and estimated the number of animals at about forty, which coincided with visual survey data.

Sergey Komarov | alfa
Further information:
http://www.informnauka.ru

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Not of Divided Mind
19.01.2017 | Hertie-Institut für klinische Hirnforschung (HIH)

nachricht CRISPR meets single-cell sequencing in new screening method
19.01.2017 | CeMM Forschungszentrum für Molekulare Medizin der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New Study Will Help Find the Best Locations for Thermal Power Stations in Iceland

19.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Not of Divided Mind

19.01.2017 | Life Sciences

Molecule flash mob

19.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>