Monday, 17 March 2014

Humpback whale singing affected by seismic surveys

Posted by: Leya Musa / 3 days ago

A study of singing humpback whales off the coast of Northern Angola has shown that singing during the breeding season is reduced in the presence of noise from seismic surveying. This reduced singing can have a negative impact on the breeding displays of the whales.

The study was carried out between March and December 2008. Using passive monitoring equipment the researchers took sound samples for the first 10 minutes of every hour. During July and also October the survey also recorded the sounds of seismic surveying activity. During these periods the numbers of singing humpback whales decreased substantially.

With the African coast becoming an attractive region for oil and gas companies the researchers say that more information is needed to determine the impact that the developments are having on the whales that live and breed along the coast. As the whale populations are still recovering from the days of the whaling industry there may be a need for greater conservation activities and management of seismic surveying.

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