ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Whale Watching Around The World Part 15

Updated on February 25, 2010

According to one theory, whales broadcast the song over a deep-ocean thermocline, a layer of water of a temperature particularly suited to transmit the low frequencies of whale sounds. The likelihood of the song being learned in summer and fall while mingling opens up additional avenues for exploring whale behavior. Some scientists now speculate that males sing to trigger the estrous cycle in females.

We may never learn the actual purpose of whale song. Mostly because humans lack the cranial capacity to comprehend the functions of a brain which is as far developed above ours as we are above a salamander. There is abundant evidence suggesting that male humpbacks use song as a warning to other males, in effect to stake out an acoustic spatial territory. On the other hand, song may be a competitive display, and only the best and most powerful singers will attract sexually receptive females. Scientists sometimes attempt to corroborate whale-song theory with information from elsewhere in the animal kingdom; the closest correlation may be the songs of birds. Songbirds also sing in identifiable, repetitive themes that vary according to the season and usually peak at breeding time.

Geographically distinct bird populations also have different dialects. A lot of what we know about birdsong, however, is not really in dispute. Ornithologists can identify a singing bird and observe its behavior practically all the time. Whale biologists are almost never certain which animal is the one producing a specific sound and can catch only fleeting glimpses of their subjects.

Whale researchers have made great strides in their ability to monitor the audible activity of whales. Biologists have tracked individual blue whales for more than 1,500 miles. The great range of the acoustical equipment permits researchers to gather data on the geographical distribution of whales during their migrations. And new auditory information is constantly revealed. The incredible moans of the blue whale are associated with reproductive behavior, and it seems likely that bowhead whales, like humpbacks, may produce a complex repertoire of song.

Even less understood than song are the social sounds of humpback whales. Furthermore, social sounds are not limited to humpbacks. Drop a hydrophone in the water in the vicinity of any active group of cetaceans to hear an astonishing variety of sounds. Some researchers describe hearing a trumpet or a train whistle when several humpbacks feed together. Other noises made by baleen whales can sound like monkeys, organs, groans, and knocks. Right whales produce sustained low moans among a number of other sounds, and bowheads generate enough distinct sounds to allow researchers based on arctic shore ice to track their migrations far out at sea.

Dolphins and porpoises, including orcas, produce higher-frequency whistles and clicks than baleen whales. Dolphins also clap their jaws in conflict situations. Biologists are fairly certain that bottlenose and spinner dolphins have signature whistles that broadcast the identity of the whistler. Bottlenose dolphins not only possess signature whistles, but also mimic the whistles of others, likely memorizing each other's whistles in much the same way as we repeat a phone number after snapping the directory shut according to some researchers.

Orcas go one step further and produce calls that may serve to identify an entire pod. The sounds produced by Antarctic orcas are different from those recorded off the west coast of North America. These mostly pulsed, repetitive calls are regular enough for scientists to recognize basic patterns. The sounds are common during travel and feeding, perhaps serving as signals to help coordinate activity.

Continued In Whale Watching Around The World Part 16

Back To Start

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)