WCS Scientists Listening for Whales off NYC

June 27, 2016

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Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

Scientists from WCS and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute have successfully deployed a hi-tech acoustic monitoring buoy in the waters off New York.

The buoy, which you can learn more about (and name) on our Blue York website, will help researchers better understand the movements of, and threats to, the whales nearby.

Containing some of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, the New York Bight is also home to seven species of great whales, including the humpback whale—known for its acrobatics and long, haunting songs—and the largest animal ever to exist on earth, the blue whale. The highly endangered North Atlantic right whale—one of the world's rarest whale species—migrates through New York waters, and fin, sei, minke, and sperm whales have also been seen or heard there.

But much remains to be discovered.

"The acoustic buoy data will help us to better understand when and where whales are present in New York's waters, particularly in those places where we have little information on how whales are affected by ship traffic and ocean noise," said Dr. Howard Rosenbaum, Director of WCS's Ocean Giants Program and co-lead of the joint WCS New York Aquarium-WHOI project. "When used in conjunction with other surveys and technologies, this buoy will give us a more holistic picture on how whales use this marine habitat, and how to better protect whales in our own backyard."

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