Conservation news

Audio: Humpback whales across the Pacific Ocean are singing the same song

  • On today’s episode of the Mongabay Newscast, we speak with Jim Darling, a marine biologist who is here to play us some recordings of remarkably similar humpback whale songs from around the world.
  • Darling and colleagues found that North Pacific humpback whale songs can be incredibly similar to each other — nearly identical, in fact. That means that our view of the whales as living in distinct groups might very well be wrong. And that view dictates a lot of the conservation measures we’ve designed to protect imperiled populations of humpbacks.
  • Darling joins us today to talk about his humpback research and play us some of those recordings so you can hear the similarity for yourself.

Today we speak with Jim Darling, a marine biologist who is here to play us some recordings of remarkably similar humpback whale songs from around the world.

Listen here:

 
Together with colleagues around the world, Darling, a marine biologist with the Hawaii-based NGO Whale Trust, recorded humpback whale songs over the course of three breeding seasons at sites across the Pacific: in the Philippines, Japan, Hawai‘i, and Mexico. The researchers found that those songs can be incredibly similar to each other — nearly identical, in fact. That means that our view of the whales as living in distinct groups might very well be wrong. And that view dictates a lot of the conservation measures we’ve designed to protect imperiled populations of humpbacks.

Darling joins us today to talk about his humpback research and play us some of those recordings so you can hear the similarity for yourself.

Back in July we featured here on the Mongabay Newscast the first ever recordings of North Atlantic right whales singing. If you listened to those recordings, the right whales repeat one sound, what’s called a gunshot call — not the most melodic of tunes. But as you’ll hear on this episode, humpbacks have a much bigger repertoire of calls.

Here’s this episode’s top news:

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Humpback whale breaching. Photo by Whit Welles, licensed under CC BY 3.0.

Follow Mike Gaworecki on Twitter: @mikeg2001

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