Why Does the Humpback Whale Sing?

Written by on October 22, 2013 in Marine Life, Policy & Ocean Law, Whales & Dolphins

Daily Summary

Ross Sea, Antarctica.

Ross Sea, Antarctica. Photo credit: Michael Van Woert, NOAA NESDIS, ORA.

Talks to resume over Ross Sea
Delegations from 25 nations resumed talks on the New Zealand-US proposal for a marine protected area (MPA) in Antarctica’s Ross Sea this week. The proposed MPA was been scaled back from 2.27 million square kilometers to 1.34 million sq km after a decision was couldn’t be reached at the last special meeting of the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) in July. If created, this would still be the largest single MPA in the world. The current proposal includes a 50-year “sunset clause” that would allow the Ross Sea reserve agreement to be revised or scrapped if enough countries felt it wasn’t working. A decision is expected by November 1. You can see the location of the proposed MPA here. Check back soon for updates.

Tiny sea creatures are heading for extinction, and could take local fisheries with them
A species of cold water plankton in the North Atlantic is headed for extinction and it may take local fisheries with it. The plankton, Calanus finmarchicus, are struggling to adapt to changes in ocean temperature. Over a 50-year period (50 generations), C. finmarchicus contracted its range because it was not able to adapt to warmer waters. They are a vital food source for fish like cod and hake and so if cold water plankton continue to become scarcer fish populations will suffer.

The secrets behind the songs of humpback whales
Researchers still don’t know exactly what humpback whales are saying, but they are getting a better idea of why humpbacks sing. Check out this great segment on CBS about humpback whale songs with marine biologist Nan Hauser.

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Copyright © 2013 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of MarineScienceToday.com. She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .

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