Singing Whales in Indian Ocean | UPSC

Singing Whales in Indian Ocean | UPSC

      HEADLINES:

The significance of the new whale song recorded in the Indian Ocean

      WHY IN NEWS:

In a paper published last week in the journal Endangered Species Research, authors described a new whale song, suggesting the existence of a population that was previously unknown.

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Conservation of Flora and Fauna

      LEARNING: 

For PRELIMS focus on the frequencies and decibels human ears can tolerate !

For MAINS go through international whaling commission (check suggested reading section ).

      ISSUE: 

Since it is the only blue whale song identified by them in the western Arabian Sea, researchers have called it the “Northwest Indian Ocean“.

SINGING WHALES IN INDIAN OCEAN 

  • Researchers analysed recordings from three locations in the western Indian Ocean from where they discovered the unique whale song.

WHY DO WHALES SING?

  • Not all whales sing. Only some, such as the baleen whale, have been found to sing songs.
  • Whales use songs to communicate and socialise.

Their songs can be characterised as clicks, whistles and pulsed calls or a composition of “moans, snores, chirps and cries 

  • They identify their surroundings as the sound bounces off objects, helping whales determine their shapes.

Whales use whistles and pulses, on the other hand, during social activities 

[wc_highlight color=”yellow” class=””]ALSO READ : BRYDE WHALE  [/wc_highlight]

CAN HUMANS HEAR WHALE SONGS?

  • Whale songs are typically below 4 kHz in frequency (human hearing range is between 20 Hz to 20 kHz).

Some blue and fin whale songs are so low in their frequency that parts may be inaudible to human ears 

  • Whale songs can last between 6-35 minutes, and some individual whales have been found to sing for 22 hours.

WHAT IS THE NEW SONG RECORDED?

  • Researchers have recorded the unique song off the coast of Oman in the northern Arabian Sea.
  • Also at off the western Chagos Archipalego, and off Madagascar in the southwestern Indian Ocean.
  • Researchers believe the source is either the blue whale or Bryde’s whale since both species have been documented off Oman previously.

Initial assessment of this new song-type/acoustic population signifies a distinct biological population of blue whales in the northwestern Indian Ocean.

  • The study should lead to dedicated research to better understand it, particularly in light of the conservation of whales.
SUGGESTED READING : INTERNATIONAL WHALING COMMISSION 
     SOURCES:   IE  | Singing Whales in Indian Ocean | UPSC 

 

DISCOVER MORE : GENERAL STUDIES-III

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