Here’s what narwhals sound like underwater | Science News

Support Science Journalism

Science News is a nonprofit.

Support us by subscribing now.


News

Here’s what narwhals sound like underwater

Submersible recorders pick up the animals’ clicks, calls and buzzes

By
2:00pm, June 13, 2018
researchers with a narwhal

TURN IT UP  Researchers put an acoustic tagging device on a male narwhal to record its underwater clicks, buzzes and calls.  

Narwhals are among the most elusive of whales. But for the first time, researchers have been able to eavesdrop on the creatures for days at a time as these unicorns of the sea dove, fed and socialized.

Biologist Susanna Blackwell and colleagues listened in on the clicks, buzzes and calls of the East Greenland narwhal (Monodon monoceros). The team’s findings, published June 13 in PLOS ONE, provide a peek into the daily behavior of the long-toothed whale. The research could help scientists determine how human-made noises may affect narwhals as the Arctic warms due to climate change and shipping lanes become more open.

Many whale sounds are recorded using hydrophones, underwater microphones that dangle in the water. But these acoustic devices have several drawbacks: They can’t sense the depth or direction from which noise comes, and they can’t detect

This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now.
Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More Atom & Cosmos articles

From the Nature Index Paid Content