Thursday, 21 February 2013

Whales benefit from action on ocean noise

By Pallab Ghosh, Science correspondent, BBC News, Boston

Scientists are working to reduce the noise levels experienced by whales from North Atlantic shipping.

The blare is making it difficult for the animals to communicate with each other, which in turn is affecting their ability to find food and mates.

The researchers have persuaded shipping companies to change their routes in and around the Boston area.

Sea captains use an iPad App that helps them to understand the locations of the whales and when to slow down.

The change in operations has helped to lower the din. Scientists hope it will also limit the number accidental collisions.

The waters off New England are a home to many species of whale. Many are now suffering because of increased noise levels.

Research presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) suggests that it has doubled each decade over the past 30 years.

The big din
Dr Mark Baumgartner of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution played me the sound of a passing container ship as a whale might hear it.

It was a thunderous, unchanging drone.

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