Listening for Whales

Listening for Whales Photo
WCS marine conservationist Norbert Andrianarivelo uses a hydrophone to record humpback whale songs in Nosy Mangabe, Madagascar. In a recent study, researchers found that humpbacks on both sides of the southern Indian Ocean—one population in the waters off Madagascar and the other in Western Australia—sing different tunes.

The research presents an unusual finding, contradicting previous evidence that showed humpbacks in the same ocean basin all croon a very similar song. Scientists believe the differences in song between the two populations most likely indicate a limited exchange between the two regions. The findings may also shed new light on how whale culture spreads.

Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

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