Subject: Re: Whale songs

Leah R. Gerber (leah@fish.washington.edu)
Wed, 16 Jul 1997 16:06:53 -0700

At 01:57 PM 7/11/97 -0700, brownb@sfu.ca wrote:
>I remember reading somewhere that whale numbers have decreased in part
>because they cannot hear/feel? the songs of another whale from very far
>away due to the cavitation from screws of large ships, thus drowning
>their songs out.  Is this true?
>
>Thanks,
>
>D.F. Brown
>

Good question! Most research indicates that whales are actually quite
resilient to noise, such as ship traffic. It really depends on the
particular species and its use of habitat. Sperm whales, for example are
deep divers and thus would more likely be impacted by sound traveling deep
in the ocean, while species such as grey whales are more shallow divers. In
general it appears that noise from boats may deter or harass animals but
does not pose risk of injury or mortality.

Cheers, Leah