Fin whale songs shed light on migration patterns

fin whale songs shed light on migration patterns


A Curtin University-led research team has uncovered valuable information on the migration patterns of the fin whale, as well as where they breed and feed, which will help aid in the monitoring and protection of the species.
Published in Frontiers in Marine Science, the research team monitored 285,000 hours of underwater sound recordings from 15 locations off Antarctica and Australia between 2002 and 2019 and identified two migratory pathways used by the species – from the Indian sector of Antarctica to the west coast of Australia and from the Pacific sector of Antarctica to the east coast of Australia.
Lead researcher PhD candidate Meghan Aulich, from the Centre for Marine Science and Technology (CMST) at Curtin University, said the fin whale, known as the ’greyhound of the sea’, was globally vulnerable due to a history of whaling, and ongoing risks of climate change and habitat disturbance.
“Our study identifies the long-term, seasonal vocal presence of the fin whale in Antarctic waters from late summer to early winter (February to June) and in Australian waters from autumn to mid-spring (May to October),” Ms Aulich said.
“We were able to determine that the whales spent more time in specific regions due to their ecological needs and not because they were ’residents’ of that area. For example, we found that the fin whale had a late seasonal presence in colder, Antarctic waters in the winter and may be breeding at the Pacific Antarctic Ridge during this time.
“Further research is needed to fully understand their behaviour and migratory patterns, but by tracking this species and listening to their underwater conversations we were able to learn about where they breed and feed, which will help us monitor and protect this vulnerable species to ensure it thrives in its natural habitat.”
Professor Christine Erbe, also from Curtin’s CMST, said using the passive acoustic monitoring method allowed the research team to follow the fin whales without being intrusive.
“The Southern Hemisphere fin whale is a vulnerable sub-species and this method of tracking, whereby microphones are deployed in the deep sea, allows us to observe and map their movements with little disruption,” Professor Erbe said.
“Acousticians from the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) were instrumental in helping us conduct this research, recording almost a million calls at frequencies of 20Hz, which is too low for humans to hear.
“This collaboration and expertise allows researchers to listen in to where the whales are going and why, better informing us so we can help protect their populations in the future.”
The international team involved researchers from Curtin University, AAD, Ensta Bretagne (France), and NIWA (New Zealand).
The full paper is titled ’Seasonal distribution of the fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) in Antarctic and Australian waters based on passive acoustics,’ and can be found online here.
CRICOS Provider Code: 00301J ABN: 99 143 842 569 TEQSA: PRV12158
Curtin University would like to pay our respect to the indigenous members of our community by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land on which the Perth campus is located, the Wadjuk people of the Nyungar Nation; and on our Kalgoorlie campus, the Wongutha people of the North-Eastern Goldfields.

News Related


Whales learn songs from each other in a cultural ’deep dive’

Humpback whales can quickly learn complex song patterns from other whale populations. Image: Supplied. A University of Queensland-led study has found humpback whales can learn incredibly complex songs from whales ... Read more »

US Supreme Court's emmissions ruling 'setback' to fight against climate change

The US Supreme Court has limited how the country’s main anti-air pollution law can be used to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, striking a blow to the fight ... Read more »

McConnell warns Democrats of fallout for reviving climate spending package

Senator Mitch McConnell Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell threatened Thursday to derail a bill designed to boost semiconductor manufacturing in the United States if Democrats revive their stalled climate and ... Read more »

Sunflowers and dried mangoes are the key to surviving climate change in rural Zimbabwe

One afternoon in Mupindi Village, Gokwe South, more than 400 kilometres from Zimbabwe’s capital Harare, a smallholder farmer called Bernard Mupindi is pruning the rough, hairy triangular leaves that grow ... Read more »

Biden terms US top court's ruling in climate case 'devastating decision'

US President Joe Biden termed the Supreme Court's ruling in West Virginia vs. EPA as 'another devastating decision' and said that he will not relent in using his lawful authorities ... Read more »

US Supreme Court's carbon emissions ruling a 'setback' in climate fight, UN says

The United Nations said Thursday's US Supreme Court ruling that curbs regulators' power to limit greenhouse gas emissions had dealt a blow to the fight against global warming.”This is a ... Read more »

Why Swire Properties and New World’s climate initiatives are a win-win for office tenants and property industry

Hong Kong’s office landlords are increasingly helping tenants meet their climate goals with initiatives that allow them to monitor their energy use and retrofit buildings. The initiatives, which are part ... Read more »

We blew the whistle on Australia’s central climate policy. Here’s what a new federal government probe must fix

Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen is today expected to announce a much anticipated review of Australia’s carbon credit scheme, known as the Emissions Reduction Fund. In March, we exposed serious ... Read more »

Texas climate activists react to SCOTUS limiting EPA in curbing power plant emissions

Climate activists say if nothing is changed to minimize harmful pollutants there will be a warming planet, extreme weather events and more chronic health issues. Read more »

Climate activists poised to shift focus to states, businesses after EPA ruling

Dueling sentiments defined the day for climate activists, investors and lawyers as they reacted to the Supreme Court’s decision Thursday in West Virginia v. EPA, which eliminated some of the ... Read more »

EXPLAINER: Why the Supreme Court's EPA-Climate Change Ruling Matters

The decision also could have a broader effect on other agencies’ regulatory efforts, from education to transportation and food Read more »

Supreme Court cripples the US government's power to fight climate change

The 6-3 ruling severely limits the government's power to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Read more »

How California will fight Supreme Court’s limits on EPA climate enforcement

Many public officials and environmental advocates in California were dismayed by Thursday’s Supreme Court decision to limit federal authority on greenhouse gases from power plants, citing a collective blow to ... Read more »

Climate change targets achievable by keeping global emissions to COVID levels, scientists say

To keep climate change within limits that we can reasonably adapt to, the world needs to cut emissions at nearly the same rate it did during the peak of the global COVID-19 pandemic, scientists say. ... Read more »

Hidden in caves: Mineral overgrowths reveal unprecedented modern sea-level rise

Professional divers assisted researchers by searching for mineral overgrowths in Mallorca, Spain cave systems. Credit: University of South Florida The early 1900s were an exciting time across the world, with rapid advances ... Read more »

New flood maps clarify the risk homeowners face

A probabilistic floodplain map for Proctor Creek in Atlanta, an urban watershed used for modeling by the researchers. Credit: University of Georgia Flooding in urban areas cost Americans more than ... Read more »

With time ticking for climate action, Supreme Court limits ways to curb emissions

In this July 27, 2018 photo, the Dave Johnson coal-fired power plant is silhouetted against the morning sun in Glenrock, Wyo. J. David Ake/AP hide caption toggle caption J. David ... Read more »

Climate change in ocean water may impact mangrove dispersal

Global map showing the change in (a) sea surface temperature (SST), (b) salinity (SSS), and (c) density (SSD) across mangrove bioregions under RCP 8.5. Changes in SST and SSS are ... Read more »

Climate change will increase chances of wildfire globally, but humans can still reduce the risk

Map of the regions used in our study including Global Fire Emissions Database macroregions (shades of gray) (van der Werf et al., 2006), focus ecoregions (colored and numbered) (Olson et al., 2001), and countries ... Read more »

Quantifying global ocean inhomogeneity and exploring its evolution in climate change

Credit: CC0 Public Domain The ocean is intrinsically inhomogeneous in temperature and salinity. This inhomogeneity fundamentally influences physical and biogeochemical processes of oceans, causing mixing of water masses, and shaping ... Read more »

Supreme Court delivers devastating blow to US climate action

© Getty Images GettyImages-181753791.jpg The US Supreme Court delivered a severe blow on Thursday to the federal government’s ability to tackle the climate crisis. Hours before breaking for summer recess, ... Read more »

Research on regional combustion efficiency in urban Beijing calls for top-down approach

Credit: Unsplash/CC0 Public Domain Urban areas account for 2% of the world’s land but are responsible for 40%–70% of global anthropogenic, or human-made CO2 emissions. Quantitative fossil-fuel and greenhouse gas ... Read more »

FEMA releases largest update to its mobile app in a decade

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is releasing the largest update to its mobile application in a decade, the agency announced today. FEMA is releasing the app at the beginning of ... Read more »

Tonga volcano eruption was among the most powerful ever observed, triggering atmospheric gravity waves

GOES imagery courtesy of NOAA and the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS). Credit: NOAA and the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) The eruption of ... Read more »

'Historic moment': EU and New Zealand strike trade deal with climate and gender equality provisions

The European Union and New Zealand on Thursday concluded negotiations for a free trade agreement expected to boost bilateral trade by nearly a third. Commission President Ursula von der Leyen ... Read more »

Even temporarily overshooting 2°C would cause permanent damage to Earth's species

Credit: Ondrej Prosicky/Shutterstock The history of climate change is one of people slowly coming to terms with the truth. None but a small minority still question whether it’s real and ... Read more »

Australia can ensure the biggest mine in PNG's history won't leave a toxic legacy

Credit: Shutterstock The COVID pandemic slowed mining operations across the Pacific. But as economic activity returns, an Australia-based company is poised to pursue what would be the largest mine in ... Read more »

Supreme Court Says EPA Does Not Have Authority to Set Climate Standards for Power Plants

The Supreme Court ruled the EPA does not have authority to set standards on climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions for existing power plants. The 6-3 ruling said that Congress, not the ... Read more »

Supreme Court issues opinions on major cases; EPA ruling a blow to climate-change fight | WATCH LIVE

One centers on the Trump-era 'Remain in Mexico' policy, while the other concerns the EPA's authority to regulate carbon emissions. Read more »

Supreme Court rules for coal-producing states, limits EPA’s power to fight climate change

WASHINGTON —  The Supreme Court ruled Thursday for the major coal-producing states and sharply limited the Biden administration’s authority to restrict the carbon pollution that is causing global warming. The justices ... Read more »

Cultivating seaweed for carbon removal in California: Barriers and recommendations

Credit: Columbia Law School Growing interest in using the oceans to enhance removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere has in turn spurred more interest in seaweed cultivation. A recent ... Read more »

The vicious cycle of extreme weather and biomass burning

Graphical abstract. Credit: Aerosol and Air Quality Research (2022). DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.220121 There is a downward spiral of extreme weather and pollution from wildfires, domestic heating and energy production in the ... Read more »

How climate change is affecting human and natural systems, test your knowledge of artificial intelligence

In this episode of the Physics World Weekly podcast we explore how climate change is affecting human and natural systems with Noah Diffenbaugh, who leads The Climate and Earth System ... Read more »

New report examines people’s attitudes to climate change and how this translates into action

A new report has taken an in-depth look at the UK public’s attitudes to climate change – and how this might translate into action. The Net Zero Living report , ... Read more »

Pioneering recycling turns mixed waste into premium plastics with no climate impact

Graphical abstract. Credit: Journal of Cleaner Production (2022). DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2022.132674 Only a fraction of the material that could be turned into new plastic is currently recycled. Researchers at Chalmers have ... Read more »

Study reveals powerful links between methane and climate change

Methane-climate feedback sensitivities and projected annual mean climate-feedback-contributions. Sensitivities are expressed in ppb °C−1 (a, b) or ppb yr−1 °C−1 (c, d) vs time (a–c), latitudes (a), or just °C ... Read more »

Climate change: Do we have to rethink what we eat?

Supermarkets stock thousands of products from all over the world Fruit and vegetables are often a greener choice than animal-based products Eating food when it is in season can help ... Read more »

Unprecedented change in Europe’s fire regime

The study detected summer and spring seasons with unprecedented values of fire risks over the last years. A study reveals an unprecedented change in the fire regime in Europe which ... Read more »

Supreme Court to issue opinions Thursday on major cases concerning climate, immigration

One centers on the Trump-era 'Remain in Mexico' policy, while the other concerns the EPA's authority to regulate carbon emissions. Read more »

EU split over climate fund to help most vulnerable

EU countries battled through the night to hash out the bloc’s new measures to fight climate change, with negotiations focused on a “Social Climate Fund” for those most vulnerable in ... Read more »