Subject: Inquiry Science Project on Whales (fwd)

Mike Williamson (pita@www1.wheelock.edu)
Wed, 21 Jan 1998 12:51:14 -0500 (EST)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 21 Jan 1998 08:03:41 -0500
From: Peter Scheifele <scheifel@uconnvm.uconn.edu>
To: MICHAEL  SCHMERLER <SCHMERL@prodigy.net>
Cc: ask@whale.simmons.edu, pita@whale.simmons.edu
Subject: Inquiry Science Project on Whales

Dear David-

        Sure I'b be most happy to help out - O.K. let's see now:

When did you become interested in Marine Biology?
I am not a marine biologist actually.  My degrees are in physical
oceanography and bioacoustics and I am trained in otolaryngology.  I became
interested in bioacoustics seriously while I was in the Navy around 1984.


What does your job or area of study entail?
Most of my time dedicated to conducting research on whale hearing and the
impacts of noise on whale hearing.  I primarily study belugas, pilot whales
and humpbacks.  I also do some research on human hearing and coyotes and wolves.

How long have you worked in this field?
>25 years

How many years of schooling did you need to do the work you are doing?
>I am completing my Ph.D. after some 18 years of schooling.


Do you work with/study  whales in captivity?
>Yes, fairly routinely.

What do you with beached whales, how are they cared for and by whom?
How are sick whales treated?
Beached whales that are alive are usually taken to a facility, like that at
Mystic marinelife Aquarium, if possible.  There they receive medical
attention and are re-released to the wild after recovery [depending on what
the illness was that they had.  Dead stranded whales are destroyed or used
for research.  The caretakers are varied: trainers, veterinarians, scientists.

What is your opinion about whaling?  Are whales still endangered?
>In general, I am opposed to whaling.  With technology being such as it is
today, there is no reason for it.  Items for living that were once derived
from whales are now routinely made by other means.  Nevertheless for some,
changing old habits and practices comes very hard.  Not all whales are
endangered but some are.  The beluga of the Saint Lawrence River estuary are
endangered, for example.

Do scientists contribute to creating laws for the protection of whales? If
so, how?
Yes, most certainly!  For instance, my work with the St. Lawrence beluga is
designed to tell us about whale hearing in noise and the impacts of ship
noise on these animals.  A very important part of this research is to enable
us to give vessel captains and government policy-makers the toool to make
informed decisions as to how we can coexist with the beluga without damaging
their hearing.  Many of my colleagues are helping the plight of the whale in
other ways!


Does whaling contribute to wars over the ocean boundaries of a country?  If
so, How?
I suppose that whaling is as controversial an act as you can find.
Sometimes the whales are just a part of the overall picture, such as it is
with tuna fishing industry in the Eastern Tropical Pacific.  I wouldn't
exactly go so far as to call it "war" though.

Have you or any scientists or trainers ever been attacked by a whale?
>I know of no outright attacks by whales on people [with malice, that is].
I do know of instances where whales or dolphins [small whales] acted in ways
that are "normal" for a wild animal [whale] to act that was not good for the
people around it.  Having once been the head-trainer at Mystic Marinelife
Aquarium, I've always said that we must remember that whales are wild
animals, not domestic.  Therefore, we must always be aware that they will
act in such a manner.  If they don't want you in their space then you
shouldn't be there beacuse you may not approve of the consequences.  For
example, while conducting research [swimming with dolphins] my subject
dolphin became very aggitated and knocked me unconcious.


What is the purpose of blubber?
Primarily, to keep the animal warm.


Why do whales carry oil?
Different whales have different oils for different purposes.  For instance,
many odonotcetes [toothed whales] have an oil contained in their melon and
their mandible that is used for the channelling of sound either in or out of
the animal.


How many pounds a day do whales calves gain?
The answer to this question depends on the species so I'm not sure I can
give you a good answer!

Thanks for your interest David.  Good luck!
Peter



At 06:57 PM 1/20/98 -0500, you wrote:
>Dear Dr. Scheifel
>        I am doing a paper on whales, and for the paper I need to complete
an interview with a specialist in the field of Marine Biology. I would
appreciate your answering these questions:
>
>When did you become interested in Marine Biology?
>
>What does your job or area of study entail?
>
>How long have you worked in this field?
>
>How many years of schooling did you need to do the work you are doing?
>
>Do you work with/study  whales in captivity?
>
>What do you with beached whales, how are they cared for and by whom?
>
>How are sick whales treated?
>
>What is your opinion about whaling?  Are whales still endangered?
>
>Do scientists contribute to creating laws for the protection of whales? If
so, how?
>
>Does whaling contribute to wars over the ocean boundaries of a country?  If
so, How?
>
>Have you or any scientists or trainers ever been attacked by a whale?
>
>What is the purpose of blubber?
>
>Why do whales carry oil?
>
>How many pounds a day do whales calves gain?
>
>Thank you in advance for answering these questions.  I appreciate your
prompt attention.
>                                       Sincerely,
>                                       David Schmerler
><!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD W3 HTML//EN">
><HTML>
><HEAD>
>
><META content=text/html;charset=iso-8859-1 http-equiv=Content-Type>
><META content='"MSHTML 4.71.1712.3"' name=GENERATOR>
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><DIV><FONT color=#000000 size=2>Dear Dr. Scheifel</FONT></DIV>
><DIV><FONT color=#000000 size=2>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;
I am 
>doing a paper on whales, and for the paper I need to complete an interview
with 
>a specialist in the field of Marine Biology. I would appreciate your answering 
>these questions:</FONT></DIV>
><DIV><FONT color=#000000 size=2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
><DIV><FONT color=#000000 size=2>When did you become interested in Marine 
>Biology?</FONT></DIV>
><DIV><FONT color=#000000 size=2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
><DIV><FONT color=#000000 size=2>What does your job or area of study 
>entail?</FONT></DIV>
><DIV><FONT color=#000000 size=2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
><DIV><FONT color=#000000 size=2>How long have you worked in this 
>field?</FONT></DIV>
><DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
><DIV><FONT color=#000000 size=2>How many years of schooling did you need to do 
>the work you are doing?</FONT></DIV>
><DIV><FONT color=#000000 size=2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
><DIV><FONT color=#000000 size=2>Do you work with/study&nbsp; whales in 
>captivity?</FONT></DIV>
><DIV><FONT color=#000000 size=2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
><DIV><FONT color=#000000 size=2>What do you with beached whales, how are they 
>cared for and by whom?</FONT></DIV>
><DIV><FONT color=#000000 size=2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
><DIV><FONT color=#000000 size=2>How are sick whales treated?</FONT></DIV>
><DIV><FONT color=#000000 size=2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
><DIV><FONT color=#000000 size=2>What is your opinion about whaling?&nbsp; Are 
>whales still endangered?</FONT></DIV>
><DIV><FONT color=#000000 size=2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
><DIV><FONT color=#000000 size=2>Do scientists contribute to creating laws for 
>the protection of whales? If so, how?</FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
><DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
><DIV><FONT size=2>Does whaling contribute to wars over the ocean boundaries
of a 
>country?&nbsp; If so, How?</FONT></DIV>
><DIV><FONT size=2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
><DIV><FONT size=2>Have you or any scientists or trainers ever been attacked
by a 
>whale?</FONT></DIV>
><DIV><FONT size=2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
><DIV><FONT size=2>What is the purpose of blubber?</FONT></DIV>
><DIV><FONT size=2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
><DIV><FONT color=#000000 size=2>Why do whales carry oil?</FONT></DIV>
><DIV><FONT color=#000000 size=2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
><DIV><FONT size=2>How many pounds a day do whales calves gain?</FONT></DIV>
><DIV><FONT size=2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
><DIV><FONT size=2>Thank you in advance for answering these questions.&nbsp; I 
>appreciate your prompt attention.</FONT></DIV>
><DIV><FONT 
>size=2>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&n
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&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbs
p;&nbsp; 
>Sincerely,</FONT></DIV>
><DIV><FONT 
>size=2>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&n
bsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;
&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbs
p;&nbsp; 
>David Schmerler</FONT></DIV></BODY></HTML>
>
Peter M. Scheifele
National Undersea Research Center
University of Connecticut
Bioacoustic Research
1084 Shennecossett Road
Groton,  CT  06340-6097
Voice:  (860) 405-9103
FAX:  (860) 445-2969
scheifel@uconnvm.uconn.edu