Smithsonian Highlights Research about Acoustic Monitoring of Beaked Whales

A Cuviers’ beaked whale. According to Dr. Hildebrand, the white scars are from cookiecutter sharks (Isistius brasiliensis) who take bites out of these animals. (Photo courtesy of Ocean Treasures Memorial Library)

A Cuviers’ beaked whale. According to Dr. Hildebrand, the white scars are from cookiecutter sharks (Isistius brasiliensis) who take bites out of these animals. (Photo courtesy of Ocean Treasures Memorial Library)

The Smithsonian recently published an article about how researchers are using sound or echolocation to learn more about the elusive beaked whale. Some of these whales live and forage in the vicinity where the Deepwater Horizon incident happened, and researchers are monitoring their numbers and location to learn how the oil spill may have affected their populations.

Read the article Seeing with Sound: Acoustic monitoring of beaked whales can help determine oil spill impacts where researchers Kait Frasier, Simone Baumann-Pickering, and John A. Hildebrand (Scripps Institution of Oceanography) explain how they are studying these fascinating creatures.

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GoMRI and the Smithsonian have a partnership to enhance oil spill science content on the Ocean Portal website.

This research was made possible in part by a grant from BP/The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) to the Center for the Integrated Modeling and Analysis of Gulf Ecosystems II (C-IMAGE II).

The GoMRI is a 10-year independent research program established to study the effect, and the potential associated impact, of hydrocarbon releases on the environment and public health, as well as to develop improved spill mitigation, oil detection, characterization and remediation technologies.  An independent and academic 20-member Research Board makes the funding and research direction decisions to ensure the intellectual quality, effectiveness and academic independence of the GoMRI research.  All research data, findings and publications will be made publicly available.  The program was established through a $500 million financial commitment from BP.  For more information, visit http://gulfresearchinitiative.org/.

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