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Third orca death in 18 months at theme park

Loro Parque tourist attraction in Tenerife, Spain has announced the death of Kohana, a 20-year-old...

WDC’s Shorewatch work shortlisted for nature award

We are thrilled that our Shorewatch programme has been shortlisted in the Citizen Science category...
Image from one of the WDC Risso's dolphin research catalogues

Local community helps piece together Risso’s dolphin puzzle

Thousands of photographs from members of the public have been published today in two WDC...

Tesco joins new initiative to help protect whales and dolphins

Tesco, the UK's largest retailer has joined WDC, Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP), and the Royal Society...

Mystery sound in Mariana trench could be a whale

Scientists from Oregon State University believe whales might be responsible for creating a mysterious sound picked up by acoustic devices in the Mariana Trench.

The 2500km long trench, located in the western Pacific, contains the deepest part of the world’s oceans, one point reaching a depth of nearly 11,000 metres (36,000ft).

Lasting between 2.5 and 3.5 seconds, the five-part call includes deep moans  at frequencies as low as 38 hertz and a metallic finale that pushes as high as 8,000 hertz. It has become known as the “Western Pacific Biotwang”. The sound was recorded using ocean gliders.

The recordings most closely resembles the “Star Wars” noises made by dwarf minke whales found on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and while little is known about minke whale populations at low latitudes, there are known to be regional differences in their calls. A further puzzling feature is that the sounds were recorded throughout the year, whereas baleen whales usually are more vocal during the winter breeding season. Further research will be needed to identify if indeed the sounds were made by a whale, and if so, which species and whether it is connected to breeding or not.

 

A new baleen whale call recorded in the Mariana Trench Marine National Monument
Sharon L. Nieukirk, Selene Fregosi, and David K. Mellinger Holger Klinck
The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 


About George Berry

George is a member of WDC's Communications team and website coordinator.