Saturday, October 06, 2012

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Dolphin Communication Diplomacy

Tonal whistle sounds allow dolphins to stay in contact with each other, and to coordinate hunting strategies. The burst-pulsed sounds (which are more complex and varied than the whistles) are used “to avoid physical aggression in situations of high excitement, such as when they are competing for the same piece of food. Dolphins Use Diplomacy in Their Communication
Pacific Whitesided Dolphin Burst Calls - Orchive
- recording by Orcalab

Sunday, June 17, 2012

242A Calls

There were 61 northern resident discrete calls identified for tape 242A (August 5, 2004, 19:30 - 20:17). The majority of calls were; N4 (40%), N16 (20%), and N7 (15%) respectively. The A12s were identified at Cracroft Island where the majority of calls were heard.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Endangered orcas’ habitat scheduled for seismic tests on June 11th, 2012

Even though Columbia University’s Earth Observatory sent in their application for “Incidental Harassment Authorization to take marine mammals” last January, the permit was granted at the end of April with a 30 day comment period – but no notice was sent, other than in the Federal Register. Now, with just days to prevent this, scientists and advocates are scrambling to block the seismic exploration before the orcas (along with nearly two dozen other species of whales and dolphins) are exposed to sound levels believed to have caused the mass death of thousands of dolphins in Peru.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

242B Calls

There were 80 discrete northern resident calls identified for recording 242B (August 5, 2004). The majority of calls were N4 (41%), N1 (31%), and N5 (14%). A1 and A4 pods were identified, whales were rubbing on pebbles at 20:29. Fig1'

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

New Calf for L Pod

L119 was born recently to 25 year old L77 and is the second documented calf for this whale. The first was seen in 2010 for just one day. L pod is part of the southern resident killer whale endangered population now totaling 89 animals (CWR). 190435575_b2b488f798_o-

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Fetal Mineralization of the Tympanic Bulla

Early mineralization of the tympanic bulla allows immediate sound conduction in the aquatic medium and consequently holds potential importance for mother-calf relationship and postnatal survival. Deposition of bone mineral in fetal and newborn specimens of the fin whale Balaenoptera physalus is remarkably higher in the bulla tympanica than in the adjacent basal skull or in the rest of the skeleton. The evolution of the cetacean skeleton followed a path that differentiated this group from other terrestrial mammals about 50 million years ago.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Whales Have a Sensory Organ Unlike Anything Ever Seen

The biggest of the baleen whales are known as rorqual whales, a group that includes humpback whales, fin whales and, of course, the blue whale — the largest animal to ever live. Scientists have discovered a grapefruit-sized mass of vessels and nervous tissues located in whales' chins, and they believe it's an entirely new kind of sensory organ. It's possible the organ is what allows these massive creatures to eat using a lightning-fast mouth movement called "lunge feeding."

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Quiet Recordings

Tapes 230A to 250B recorded by Orcalab in 2004 were analyzed for relatively quiet and loud ambient sound levels for computation by UVIC's Orchive program. This will allow researchers to organize and sample the large database of information for future studies.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Bottlenose Dolphins use Greeting Calls

In cases where dolphin pods joined and swam together, the researchers found, such meetings were preceded by one dolphin in the group producing a signature whistle and another dolphin in the second group answering. When dolphin groups swam by one another and didn't join, these meet-and-greet whistles were absent.

Live Science

Friday, February 24, 2012

J26 Tagged


The southern resident killer whales are an endangered population of 85 animals. J26 / Mike (male b.1992) was satellite tagged on February 20, 2012. This research is being conducted by NOAA to track movement patterns, habitat use, and feeding behavior of this population of 85 animals.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Tracking Endangered Whales may Harm

Ken Balcomb, a senior scientist at the Center for Whale Research in Friday Harbour, Wash., has seen other killer whales that were tagged off Alaska and is concerned. “They’re heavy-duty barbs, and the only way (the tag) comes off is tearing away flesh and leaving a golf-ball sized hole.” The current southern resident population is 89, assuming a young calf spotted Dec. 17 is still alive, Mr. Balcomb said. The whales travel in three separate family pods labelled J, K and L. The average lifespan of a female killer whale is about 52, but Mr. Balcomb said one of the females in J-pod is close to 100. Males don’t live as long, to an average of about 29, but a male in J-pod died last year at the age of 60. Southern residents spend their summers around Washington state waters and off southern Vancouver Island. In the winter, they’ve been spotted as far north as Haida Gwaii and as far south as Monterey, Calif. Mr. Balcomb, who’s been studying southern residents for decades, said his concern is the barbs could cause an internal infection, like the minor puncture wound that killed a 20-year-old resident whale a few years ago. “Because these whales live in an urban environment that has a lot of toxins and a lot of problems for their immune and reproductive system, they’re especially susceptible to these injuries.”

Mr. Hanson has tagged more than 250 whales from 15 different species and said there has been no adverse impacts connected to survival. “There’s been a lot of concern voiced about that. It’s one of these things where we feel this is within the range of natural sorts of occurring tissue impact that affect the animals.” Both Mr. Hanson and Mr. Balcomb agree the whales often have cuts and scrapes on their hides and have many scars. None of the resident whales have been tagged yet. Mr. Hanson is hoping to head out next month, but the residents aren’t easy to find and in poor weather, they may not be able to tag the animals. “They are sort of moving needles in a haystack,” he said.

The tag is about the size of a nine-volt battery and it would be shot from a cross bow or pneumatic gun into the dorsal fin. The tags can remain attached anywhere from three to nine weeks until they fall out, leaving the wound to heal on its own, Mr. Hanson said. “Obviously, the further out we go from the tag date the more interesting the information, the more valuable it is for these longer-term monitoring periods.” The transmitter could last about six straight weeks, but in order to stretch out the life cycle, they would turn off and on the transmitter, he said. Researchers hope to be able to follow the whales to collect samples of anything left of what the orca’s have eaten and any fecal matter to determine what they’ve been eating. While transient killer whales eat mammals, the diet of resident whales is mostly salmon. Mr. Hanson said they believe the whales eat Chinook salmon but that’s part of what he hopes the tagging process will help determine. A cross-border scientific panel is already looking into the possibility that limiting the lucrative Chinook fishery could improve the survival rate of the resident population. A decision from the panel is expected at the end of this year. Mr. Hanson said he hopes their research will be able to contribute some information for the panel, along with more data about where the whales hang out in order to designate critical habitat areas under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

Globe and Mail

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


The rubbing actively heard at RB (rubbing beach) during the beginning of the tape (21:07) was relatively quiet with N4 calls heard later at 21:12. The N4 call was heard with the most frequency (46%) throughout the recording. Whales identified were the A5s and A30s.

Rubbing Beach

Call Types - N2 (n=2), N4 (n=11), N5 (n=3), N9 (n=4), N25 (n=4) [N=24]

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