EcoAlert: “Big Apple” Becoming Whale Epicenter!

Tumblr_lboge2SHmu1qdpvj1o1_500 It seems as though The Big Apple has become a tourist attraction for big whales, including the 100-foot (30-meter) blue whale, the largest animal on Earth, scientists say. A network of ten underwater sound recorders in place off the length of the south coast of Long Island and throughout New York Harbor between 2008 and 2009 detected a surprising density of cetacea across an unexpectedly large area, experts say. Some of the whales cruised as close as 10 miles (16 kilometers) from New York City.


"These 'open mikes' have recorded the songs of the fin whale, blue whale, humpback whale, minke whale, sei whale, and the rare North Atlantic right whale", said Christopher Clark, Bioacoustics Research Program at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca, New York. Clark said, "If you were standing at the top of the Statue of Liberty and looked south or southeast, if you [could see] under the water, there were whales singing under the surface.  For instance, the recorders picked up songs of the North Atlantic right whale 70 miles (113 kilometers) from shore — where the coastal dweller isn't thought to venture."

"What surprised the team the most was not the types of whales heard, but the density of animals spread out over the entire study area," said Aaron Rice, science director of the bioacoustics lab. The acoustic monitoring is part of a larger project to understand what sorts of human-made sounds exist along the U.S. East Coast, and how these sounds may impact whales long-term.

City-whale findings were presented May 4 at a Cornell University press luncheon in New York City.

The Daily Galaxy via nationalgeographic.com

 

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