Subject: Loudest voice in the sea

Kim Marshall (kim@whale.org)
Sat, 3 Jan 1998 12:12:55 -0500

The whale with the loudest voice is the blue whale.  Blue whales and all
large, baleen whales use low frequency pulses to sound image the bottom of
the ocean and to detect patches of krill etc.  These pulses also travel
long distances though the layers of different temperatures of water almost
like a telephone wire.  Blue whales are beleived to be able to communicate
with each other using low frequency pulses over thousands of miles - even
across oceans.  Today, with the large number of ships and other loud
noisemakers in the seas - whales sounds get absorbed and they probably
don't travel as far as they used to when the waters were quiet.  The Navy
have been using hydrophones for years and when they realized that the
sounds they were hearing were from whales they worked with marine
scientists to find out more the long-range pulses they thought were
submarines.

Today the Navy works with Scientists to learn more about whale sounds.

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> Which whale has the loudest voice and how far can it be detected? 2500? 3000
>miles? Also, I understand that the U.S.A has been listening to the waters with
>underwater microphones for security reasons for years.  Do you know if these
>can be accessed to listen to the whale songs?


Kim Marshall-Tilas                              (617) 259-0423
Whale Conservation Institute                   fax: 259-0288
191 Weston Road                                 website: www.whale.org
Lincoln, MA  01773		Are you a member of WCI yet?