Whales may learn to cope with undersea noise
Whales may be able to protect their ears by lowering their hearing sensitivity when warned of an imminent loud sound, according to research by Paul Nachtigall, director of the Marine Mammal Research Program at the Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology.
Published earlier this year in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, Nachtigall’s research with Alexander Ya Supin of the Russian Academy of Sciences is gaining international attention following an article published on July 16 in The New York Times.
“It’s equivalent to plugging your ears when a jet flies over,” Nachtigall told The New York Times. “It’s like a volume control.”
Though the team has only tested the warning signals with one false killer whale at the UH Mānoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology facilities on Coconut Island, the findings are promising and could be used in efforts to help prevent hearing loss in marine mammals.
- El Nino unusually active in the late 20th century
- Open house excites future scientists
- Green future conference at UH Manoa
- Study finds heavy rainfall events becoming more frequent on Hawai'i Island
- Parental experience may help coral offspring survive climate change