HomeNewsBiologyEndangered blue whales recorded off southwest coast of India

Endangered blue whales recorded off southwest coast of India

Divya Panicker set out the underwater microphone, or hydrophone, off India’s Kavaratti Island. Credit: Sayed Abdullakoya

Research from the University of Washington exhibits that endangered blue whales are current and singing off the southwest coast of India. The outcomes counsel that conservation measures ought to embody this area, which is contemplating increasing tourism.

Analysis of recordings from late 2018 to early 2020 in Lakshadweep, an archipelago of 36 low-lying islands west of the Indian state of Kerala, detected whales with a peak exercise in April and May.

The research was printed in May within the journal Marine Mammal Science.

“The presence of in Indian waters is well known from several strandings and some live sightings of blue whales,” mentioned lead writer Divya Panicker, a UW doctoral pupil in oceanography. “But such as where blue whales are found, what songs do they sing, what do they eat, how long do they spend in Indian waters and in what seasons are still largely a mystery.”

Answers to these questions will likely be necessary for the area, which can be experiencing results of local weather change.

“This study provides conclusive evidence for the persistent occurrence of blue whales in Lakshadweep,” Panicker mentioned. “It is critical to answer these questions to draw up science-based management and conservation plans here.”

While huge blue whales feed within the waters round Antarctica, smaller pygmy blue whale populations are identified to inhabit the Indian Ocean, the third-largest on the planet.

This recording was from 28 April 2019 off Kavaratti Island in India. The recording has been sped up by 10 occasions to deliver it throughout the vary of human listening to. Credit: Panicker and Stafford/Marine Mammal Science

In earlier preliminary analysis, Panicker—who grew up in Cochin, India—talked to native fishers who reported seeing whale blows throughout the spring months.

But since whales floor solely often and soundwaves journey effectively in , one of the best ways to check whales is similar means they impart.

The typical blue whale track is a collection of 1 to 6 low moans, every as much as 20 seconds lengthy, under the edge of human listening to. The sample and variety of moans varies for various populations. Songs present insights into this poorly studied inhabitants; a doable new track was just lately reported within the central Indian Ocean and off the coasts of Madagascar and Oman.

For the brand new research, scuba divers positioned underwater microphones at two ends of Kavaratti Island. Other research in close by waters prompt that the presence of blue whales can be seasonal, and recordings confirmed their presence between the winter and summer time monsoons.

“Our study extends the known range of this song type a further 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) northwest of Sri Lanka,” Panicker mentioned. “Our study provides the first evidence for northern Indian Ocean blue whale songs in Indian waters.”

Endangered blue whales recorded off southwest coast of India
The crimson star exhibits the place divers positioned two underwater microphones, from late 2018 to fall 2019 and from fall 2019 to early 2020, at depths of 11 meters (36 toes) and 29 meters (95 toes), off the southwest Indian coast. The field on the proper is a magnified view of the research area. Black dots present the place unlawful Soviet whaling ships hunted blue whales up to now. Credit: Panicker and Stafford/Marine Mammal Science

The researchers consider that the whales are probably resident to the northern Indian Ocean, and are available to the Lakshadweep atoll seasonally.

“The Indian Ocean is clearly important habitat for blue —an endangered species that is only very slowly recovering from 20th-century commercial and illegal whaling, especially in the Indian Ocean,” mentioned senior writer Kate Stafford, an oceanographer on the UW Applied Physics Laboratory.

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More info:
Divya Panicker et al, Northern Indian Ocean blue whale songs recorded off the coast of India, Marine Mammal Science (2021). DOI: 10.1111/mms.12827

Endangered blue whales recorded off southwest coast of India (2021, June 10)
retrieved 10 June 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-06-endangered-blue-whales-southwest-coast.html

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