Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Study To Assess Risk Factors Of Vessel Collisions With Endangered Northern Right Whales

Date:
July 30, 2001
Source:
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Summary:
Scientists and engineers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and their colleagues will use a new digital recording tag to study and assess the risk factors of vessel collisions with the endangered Northern right whale. Less than 300 of the whales remain.

Scientists and engineers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and their colleagues will use a new digital recording tag to study and assess the risk factors of vessel collisions with the endangered Northern right whale. Less than 300 of the whales remain.

Related Articles


Senior Scientist Peter Tyack of the Institution's Biology Department, who is heading the study with colleagues at the New England Aquarium, says the primary human-induced causes for right whale deaths are vessel collisions, which account for 35 percent of the deaths, and entanglement in fishing gear, which accounts for 5 percent of right whale deaths. Scientists are currently trying to save a right whale off the Massachusetts coast entangled in a fishing line.

"Right whales are so buoyant, they float to the surface," Tyack says. "If this reduces their ability to maneuver, it may pose a risk of collision with ships. The whales can hear and localize natural sounds very well, but they have not been observed to respond to oncoming vessels."

The study is supported by a grant from the Mitsubishi Corporation and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's right whale research program through the National Marine Fisheries Service at NOAA. Collaborators include the International Fund for Animal Welfare and the New England Aquarium.

"We need to address questions like what age and sex classes, behavioral contexts or habitats pose the greatest risk," Tyack adds. "What vessel characteristics, such as speed, maneuvering, and acoustic signature, pose the greatest risk? The tag will enable us to learn a lot more about how the whales respond to vessels as they get closer and may eventually help us develop an acoustic alerting system."

The new study will focus on the behavioral perspective, using the digital acoustic recording tag to measure sound stimuli with vocal, behavioral and physiological responses. The researchers will also follow whale responses to uncontrolled vessel approaches, playbacks of natural sound, and controlled exposure to vessel noise during vessel approach. They will also assess the distribution and abundance of right whales in the western North Atlantic and collect photographs of individual whales, which can be identified by natural markings called callosities. These data will be integrated into a database to update information on population status, reproduction, mortality, human-caused scarring, and other factors.

Tyack and his colleagues note that the Northern Atlantic right whale is an endangered population, with less than 300 individuals remaining. Extinction is likely in 100 years unless reproduction increases or mortality decreases. The population is only growing at a rate of 1-2 percent, while the South Atlantic right whale population is growing at a rate of seven percent.

"Our ignorance of the reproductive behavior and the mating system of right whales is so profound that we do not even know the season and location where mating takes place," Tyack notes. "This hinders our ability to determine the effects of disturbances like vessels and to minimize them. We hope this study will help provide data critical to understanding reproduction in ways that may point to how we can enhance the recovery of this most endangered of baleen whales. "

Tokyo-based Mitsubishi Corporation is a trading and investment company engaged in a broad range of businesses, including information technology and electronics, energy, metals, machinery, chemicals and Living Essentials. As one of the world's most diverse business enterprises, Mitsubishi Corporation, works closely with its global clientele to develop new businesses through project coordination, sourcing of raw materials, capital investments, and global marketing and distribution.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. "Study To Assess Risk Factors Of Vessel Collisions With Endangered Northern Right Whales." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 July 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/07/010730080757.htm>.
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. (2001, July 30). Study To Assess Risk Factors Of Vessel Collisions With Endangered Northern Right Whales. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/07/010730080757.htm
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. "Study To Assess Risk Factors Of Vessel Collisions With Endangered Northern Right Whales." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/07/010730080757.htm (accessed November 24, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, November 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Stray Dog Follows Adventure Racing Team for 6-Day Endurance Race

Stray Dog Follows Adventure Racing Team for 6-Day Endurance Race

Buzz60 (Nov. 24, 2014) A Swedish Adventure racing team travels to try and win a world title, but comes home with something way better: a stray dog that joined the team for much of the grueling 430-mile race. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Deadly Japanese Pufferfish Discovered in Crimean Waters

Deadly Japanese Pufferfish Discovered in Crimean Waters

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) The capture of deadly Japanese pufferfish in the waters of Crimea is causing concern for fishermen and scientists alike. Sharon Reich reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Terrifying Black Seadevil Fish Captured on First-of-Its Kind Video

Terrifying Black Seadevil Fish Captured on First-of-Its Kind Video

Buzz60 (Nov. 24, 2014) An aquarium captures a first-of-its kind video of a notoriously camera-shy fish that’s also not so camera-friendly. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Red Panda Cubs Explore the Bratislava Zoo

Red Panda Cubs Explore the Bratislava Zoo

AFP (Nov. 24, 2014) Four-month old Red Panda twins Pim and Pam still rely on their mother for breast milk at the Bratislava Zoo in Slovakia, but the precocious cubs have begun to branch out to solid foods, as well. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins