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In the news: Blue Whale Songs Tones Getting Lower

Saturday, December 05, 2009

 In the news: Blue Whale Songs Tones Getting Lower Picture
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Blue Whale
species: Balaenoptera musculus
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 In the news: Blue Whale Songs Tones Getting Lower

Professor John Hildebrand, at Scripps Institution of Oceanography San Diego, has been studying Blue Whales since the 1960s. One of his specialties is doing acoustic research. He studies the songs of the Blue Whale. Since the 60s he has been making and collecting thousands of underwater sound recordings of Blues and other whales. He noticed over the years he was having to recalibrate the filters used to isolate their vocalizations from the ambient background noise in the ocean. After looking back at years of data collected from around the world, he was amazed to find that Blue Whales are in fact over time singing in lower tones and its not limited to groups in any particular geographic area. Back in the 60s they were normally in a frequency range of 22Hz, today they are in a range of around 15Hz and this has occured basically worldwide in all groups.

There are theories as to why they have changed. Since the 60s their populations have recovered substantially, so it may be related to social behavior in larger groups. Others think they are working around the man made ambient noise now present in the oceans. Whatever the reason, its believed they are doing this by choice and the ever lower frequency trend appears to be continuing.

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