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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Researching Whales

Author: Guest Writer/Friday, June 29, 2012/Categories: Uncategorized

When doing research you need the right gear. When the subjects are whales the gear is typically big, specialized, and expensive. A one-of-a-kind research vessel owned by the Center for Marine Research of Western Australia was built to naval standards for just this purpose. Named Whale Song it sails from the tropics to Antarctica looking for the large marine mammals as their populations have slowly increased since whaling was outlawed in the mid-20th Century.

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Marine Research Vessel                    The Whale Song   

(credit: SWP Media)                         (credit: SWP Media)

The Whale Song is equipped with all nature of GPS, radar, and other technologies to locate and track the large sea creatures including humpback and pygmy blue whales which breed and migrate along the western Australian coasts during the winter and spend their summers in Antarctic waters. As the CWR’s website states about their research:

“both humpback whales and blue whales are excellent indicator species for the health of our oceans. They are large, relatively easily monitored animals which feed directly on animals which drive the ocean food chain, the shrimp-like krill. The health of the whales’ populations is therefore a biological window into the health of their ocean environment.”

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Whale Song Deck                         GPS and Underwater Generated Maps

(credit: SWP Media)                     (credit: SWP Media)

Using their high tech gear, the CWR has assisted the Australian government in delineating underwater terrain maps necessary for whales and other marine mammals. Protection zones are being established around western Australia by the maps created by this gear. However, collisions with pleasure boats and large shipping vessels remains a critical problem and the Australian Navy has begun a major program to better help understand the mammals sonic communication systems in an attempt to try and develop methods to avoid future encounters. The Naval staff that are assisting in the whale research have become new enthusiasts for the whale research collaborations. They are developing new approaches for the Nave to conducting their marine military responsibilities while being mindful of the amazing creatures roaming in the midst.


Shale Song On-board Computer

(credit: SWP Media)

Not many people enjoy enjoy an office environment with this sort of computer screen.



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