– [Grace] Welcome to NOAA Live, my name is Grace Simpkins, and I’m gonna be moderating today’s webinar This series is sponsored by NOAA’s regional collaboration network, which is split across the country and it helps connect people to what NOAA does It’s also sponsored by Woods Hole Sea Grant where I work, located at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts To find out about future webinars, you can look under the Woods Hole Sea Grant education tab on our webpage, or just follow us on Facebook This is our sixth webinar in a series designed to help you get to know NOAA and some of the incredible experts that work there during these weeks of school closures All of our speakers work for some part of NOAA You’ll hear me saying no, NOAA quite a bit, and that stands for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Today, I have the pleasure of introducing you to my friend, Doctor Genevieve Davis, and the reason I introduce her as Doctor Genevieve Davis is just this week she became Doctor Davis, which is very exciting, so I know she can’t hear or see you, but everyone give her a round of applause, because it’s very exciting, when I go into classrooms I talk about being a junior scientist, and if you become really, really expert at what you do, you can become a senior scientist So it’s very exciting, um, that that happened this week She’s going to talk to you all about studying marine mammals and sound Now just a few guidelines I think most of you are familiar with this, before I really turn it over to Gen You are all muted because we have a lot of people on the line, and we want everyone to be able to hear We do want to hear from you though, so there’s a box where you can write questions We encourage you to ask them as we go, and I will be keeping track for Gen She will stop every one and then and answer a few We won’t get to everyone’s questions, so I apologize for that, but we’ll answer as many as we can Depending on your device, how you access the question box may be different, for some of you it might be a question mark on the bottom or the side of the screen, others might have a little box on the side with an arrow, a little red arrow and a hand Click on the arrow to show the question box We’ll not be using the raise hand function Now I’d like to share with you where folks are from because that’s pretty exciting So Gen, we have some people from Virginia, we have some people from Thalmouth and Ashby, that’s where we’re located We have some people from New Brunswick, Canada, Ontario, Oregon, Woodstock New Hampshire, Boseman Montana, Madison Wisconsin, Fairfax Maryland, Texas, Georgia, Plymouth, and I’m sure that some, because there were so many people Yeah, so many people weighing in But, and Colorado and Connecticut, but for now I want to turn it over to Gen because she has some really exciting things to tell us about marine mammals and sound So over to you, Gen – [Gen] Thanks Grace, hi everyone, welcome, this is really exciting to be able to talk to you all about my passion in life, and just so you know, I didn’t know this passion existed when I was growing up I was exposed to sound during an internship in college, and marine mammals, and fell in love with this work, and 10 years later here I am And so I’m hoping I can give you some of that love today So before we start talking about sounds and listening to them, I think the most important thing to do is to talk about hearing And so we’re gonna start with a hearing test And one of the things with sound that you have to think about, there’s two main words that we talk about when we describe sound There’s amplitude, which is how loud or intense the sound is, and frequency, which is the pitch So I want you to think if you’re playing a piano, and you have your keys, those lower keys are the lower frequencies, and the higher keys up on the right, those are your higher frequencies And then how hard you’re pressing on those piano keys, that’s how loud it is and that’s the amplitude So, when we do our hearing test, we’re gonna have to listen to different frequencies, and I want you to see how high you can hear And we’re gonna play them as loud as we can, so we’re hoping you’re going to be able to And I want you, when you can no longer hear your frequency, when I tell you how loud, what the frequency range is, put that into the question box And Grace is gonna keep track of how high you can hear Okay, so here we start This is eight kilohertz (click) (swoosh) Okay, we’re gonna move on to 10 kilohertz (click) (swoosh) Hopefully you can hear that We’re gonna go to 12 kilohertz (swoosh) We’re moving on to 14 (silence) Okay now we’re gonna end up closer to the end of my hearing range, this is 16 kilohertz (silence) I can’t hear them any more This is 18 kilohertz (silence) Can anyone still hear? We’re gonna go to 20 kilohertz
(silence) Okay, now we’re gonna go to the maximum range, this is gonna be 22 kilohertz (silence) Okay, so enter in your box the highest frequency range you could hear – [Grace] So just to share with you the results, I’m kinda looking at them, a lot of folks it was about 18 kilohertz where they stopped, some people said 20, a few, there were a few at each range, but it seems like the majority of them were 18 kilohertz And just while people are still putting in their results, I just had a question about amplitude, about pitch and frequency, so when you think about amplitude and you think about loudness I was just really loud, wasn’t I? And when you think about pitch, Gen was talking about the low pitch sounds, if everyone wants to make a low pitched sound, and if anyone wants to make a high, elementary school students are much better at making pitch sounds than I am That’s your pitch, is how deep or how high pitched it is So yep, so it looks like everybody, some people were disappointed that they couldn’t hear it after the first one, don’t worry about it As we get older our hearing does drop off But a lot of folks said 18, 18 to 20 So there you go, those are your results – [Gen] Great And something to keep in mind is as we get older our hearing range does change and it gets smaller So you might, if you have an adult in the room with you, they might not be able to hear as high as you can Or you might find that as you get older, your range is no longer as good as it used to be Okay, so we just talked about humans and what we can hear, but I want you to think, what do you hear when you go outside? So right now if I were to go outside I might hear the rain So I would know that weather is occurring I might hear cars going by On a nice day I might hear the birds chirping And if you’re in the city maybe you hear sirens or you might hear lots of cars So depending on where you are you might have a different background noise that you hear Now I want you to think, and before you look too closely at this picture, I want you to type in the question box, what do you think you hear if you stuck your head underwater and went out in the ocean to listen? What would we hear? – [Grace] Okay I’m gonna share them with you as they come in, so Reegan is saying that you might hear boats And David is saying that you might hear whooshing, some folks are saying ships, some folks are saying, Rebecca said water, the ocean You might hear waves or whales You might hear animals Okay, someone has seen this before, someone said airgun Clicking noises Bubbles, voices from above the water Maybe a splashing fish And bubbles from if you’re exhaling, if you’re breathing while you’re underwater So I think that, and maybe a motor, someone you might hear a motor – [Gen] Excellent, that’s great That really captures everything we’re hearing So if we do look at the next slide, everything that this is talking about, it’s the soundscape, and all the different sounds that we’re hearing undersea So you can hear animals, so there’s the biological sounds, there’s the anthropogenic, which is human caused sounds, which many people mentioned So ship noise, seismic surveying, which is airguns when we go looking for oil under the ocean floor We hear waves, so there could be wave energy and you can hear movement of water And environment, so whether it’s stormy out and it may be really loud Then there’s other sounds that can come from the bottom of the sea floor, so volcanic activity, earthquakes, and we talked about animals So marine mammals make sounds, and we’ll look at a bunch of those, as well as invertebrates and fish Okay, so if we go to the next slide we can actually hear some of these sounds We’re gonna start with some environmental sounds, this is called ice calving which is, sounds kind of like an earthquake (rumbling and crackling) And it might be hard, this is a cool sound, this is a phenomenon from ice, when it’s rubbing against itself (rumbling and siren-like wailing) So that’s a sound from nature
It might sound kind of like a siren to you Now we’re gonna try, this is an airgun, so this is when we’re looking for oil on the bottom of the ocean, seeing if we can find it (low pitched bloop) (low pitched bloop) So are you thinking how that would sound outside your home, all the time consistently if humans were trying to find oil? And this is just an example of a vessel, so whenever boats make noise (repetitive churning rumble) Okay so there’s lots of different boats that make noise, that’s one of them So we listened to some environmental sounds, we listened to some anthropogenic sounds, of human-caused sounds And we’re gonna look at some marine mammal sounds soon, but first I want to talk about why marine mammals make sounds Why is it important? – [Grace] So Gen, can I just step in here really quick, cause some folks were saying they wanted to hear some of the sounds over again And I know Gen was gonna mention this later, but if you go to website, the NOAA Live website, where Gen’s webinar is listed, you’ll see underneath that there is a link to a sound page, all of the sounds that you hear today you can go visit and listen to the sounds on your computer You’ll probably hear them louder, but it also gives you a chance if you aren’t hearing everything you wanna hear, we won’t be playing sounds a second time but you can go there afterwards and listen And folks, a couple people asked, can you just explain again what an airgun is, because I think they were wondering – [Gen] Yep, so, when we go to look to get oil out of the bottom of the ocean floor, airgun is the machine we use to blast sound into the floor to listen and see if there’s oil there So it just produced a really loud sound, and it’s how we look to see if that’s a place where we want to find oil (rustling) Okay, so if everyone can close your eyes, and try and think of the game where it’s summertime and we’re all able to be around each other again And when you play Marco Polo So think about that game, think about how you play it What you do is, the main person closes their eyes, and they say Marco, and you’re listening to people around you saying Polo, right? And so you’re trying to find someone without using your vision, but using your ears And so this is how marine mammals use sound It’s just like playing Marco Polo So if you imagine living underwater, it’s very hard to see cause light doesn’t go very far So often you’re surrounded by darkness And many marine mammals therefore have to rely on sound, rather than sight And they often use it just like we use vision And so we’ll go through all the different ways that they’ll be using it So when you close your eyes I want you to imagine what you can do right now How can you see what’s going on? You might hear your dog snoring next to you You might hear someone in the household cooking and making a meal You might be able to smell the meal So you can use sound to understand what’s going on without having to look all the time Okay And so what’s really interesting about sound is that it travels really far underwater So if you can imagine your habitat is suddenly the ocean, your home is the entire ocean How do you communicate across this large space? So sometimes a whale, in good conditions, if it’s calling near Newfoundland, Canada, which is that orange circle up top, it can be heard all the way down in Bermuda, which is that green circle down there And this is looking at the entire North American continent So that’s really far! And not only can it travel far, but it travels faster So sound can travel five times faster underwater than it can in the air Okay, so what do you think, before we go there, what do you think marine mammals use sound for? Can anyone enter in the question box, what you think they might communicate for? Oops I just gave one away – [Grace] So let’s see Jennifer said that they use sound for finding food Uh, someone said their dog doesn’t snore She was saying that because my dog is snoring next to me (laughter) Christine said to communicate, Andrew said it’s to find prey, Annabelle said finding food We have a bunch of people saying communication Oh, Gabe said echolocation, I love that word Someone said mating, for communicating with other animals,
that was Noah And to find each other, searching, finding danger, through echolocation, let’s see To see where other whales are and their food Yeah, to ask for help Warnings, finding their babies, navigating I think that’s a pretty good list – [Gen] That’s an impressive list So we look, you’re all right, everything you said was perfect Marine mammals use sound for communicating, so that can be finding other species, finding mates, a lot of male baleen whales, which we’ll look at little closer at in a second, use this really cool long patterned song to display, to find a mate It can be for mom and calves to stay in communication, to stay close We can use it for predator warning It can also, next, look for food, like many mentioned, and some of you used that awesome word, echolocation If, uh, just click next, next, thanks So for finding prey, so we can, send a signal, toothed whales, which we’ll also look at closer in a little bit, can send a signal out and receive it with sound, be able to see where food is and find it And someone also mentioned navigation, which is perfect because they also use sound for that And a lot of our whales are traveling really long distances throughout the year, and so they’re using sound to understand where they are and find other species as they go into different areas So, we did a little bit of a hearing test to understand our frequency ranges, and marine mammals also have a really different vocal ranges that we’re communicating with And also hearing ranges as well And so different marine mammals use different calls for different purposes And we just talked about a bunch, so there’s to find other species, to find species within their group, and do food, each one has a specific hearing range and frequency range that they’re communicating over So typically our larger whales are communicating over lower frequencies, so remember those are our lower piano keys Grace showed us those low frequencies And some of our smaller animals, our toothed whales, are typically communicating over higher frequencies A lot of times, way beyond our human hearing range And so this is showing you, for example, harbor porpoises, which are one of our tiny toothed animals, they have ultrasonic clicks that should be way beyond our human hearing range So we can’t hear what they do Okay So, we talked about what makes underwater sounds, we’re gonna go into some examples now to see the differences between our different species So as you’re listening I want you to think, how can you tell them apart? Do they sound different? Are they communicating higher ranges or lower ranges? And can you start to tease them apart? So we’re gonna start with toothed whales, then we’re gonna listen to a baleen whale, and then we’ll listen to a seal, and then a fish And as we do this, I want you to think, so I’m gonna play these examples for you first, and then we’re gonna play a game And I’m gonna ask you what you think is making that sound So as you listen to these, see if you can start to pull differences So if you’ll remember from Allison and Grace’s talks earlier last week, they showed you examples for all these different kinds of whales Okay, so this is gonna be killer whale, which is our toothed whale, and Grace is pulling up teeth in case we missed it There’s a sperm whale and I believe a harbor dolphin – [Grace] Dolphin, dolphin This is to remind you the first sound Gen is playing for you are toothed whales or Odontocetes, so these are some of the teeth you would have seen So I will play that sound for you (rustling) (high pitched whoop) – [Gen] Okay, and again, if you couldn’t hear that well, you might not have, the website has all these sounds, so you can go and listen to them later So now we’re gonna listen to a humpback whale, which is a baleen whale (low rumble) (low pitched whoop and groan) (low pitched gargling and moaning) All right, so now, what do we think,
was that higher or lower than a killer whale? Was the baleen whale frequency range higher, higher, or lower than the Odontocete? But we can’t hear you – [Grace] Sorry about that Everybody, the majority of people are saying that the humpback was a lower frequency, or a lower pitched sound than the orca – [Gen] Oh, you guys are doing great, so that’s typical, baleen whales are often in our lower frequency ranges, and our Odontocetes are in our higher frequency ranges I know, so baleen whale All right so next we’re gonna go to pinnipeds, our seals And listen to an example, this is a bearded seal (high pitched whistling) (pitch descending in a swirling sound) (lower pitched groans) Okay, what do you think that sounded like? How was that different from the others? – [Grace] Folks are saying that they thought that it sounded higher pitched Some people thought it sounded like a whale Oh, Cindy’s dogs did not like that sound at all (Gen laughs) Someone thought it sounded like a balloon deflating, but they all seemed to think that it was a higher pitched sound – [Gen] Yeah so I also think, seals often sound kind of like a science fiction movie coming through? So it’s even been, they even used one I think in a Star Wars movie, right Grace, is that? – [Grace] They have used different marine mammal sounds for different sci fi, I don’t know if they actually used it but you’ll see one of the, one of the animals, I won’t tell you which one, sounds a lot like a lightsaber – [Gen] Hmm, so there we go, we might see that later Okay, and so, now we heard an Odontocete, a Mysticete, and a Pinniped, and now we’re gonna listen to a fish (rustling) And this is hattock (bubble-like chirping) So what do fish sound like? Are they different or the same? – [Grace] So folks thought that it was lower, someone thought it sounded like a weird, a woodpecker sorry A lot of people think it sounded low pitched, like a knock on the door, a little bit in between I guess, frequencies between the really low humpback and the higher pitched orca – [Gen] Okay – [Grace] And, yep Some people thought it sounded like a heartbeat – [Gen] Great, so fish are even lower frequency than a lot of our baleen whales, they’re on equal frequency ranges as baleen whales So we’ve got fish and baleen whales really low, and then seals and Odontocetes kind of in the next category So nice, I love all of your answers, you’re doing great Now we’re gonna play a game So I’ve trained all of you, you’re now my junior bio-acousticians, which we didn’t go over that word did we? What do you think a bio-acoustician is? Or bio-acoustics? – [Grace] Bio-acoustics, think about the bio part of it, and the acoustics Someone said they thought it was math related with sound Lillia said she thought it was identifying sounds from living things Uh, bio means life, someone said Liza thinks it’s someone who studies sound A couple people think that – [Gen] Yeah, so perfect, so an acoustician, is someone who just studies sound, uses sound science And bio-acoustics is using biology, the biology of sounds So how does life use sound? So you guys did great, that’s perfect Okay, so after that, now that you’re my bio-acousticians,
I’m gonna play you a mystery sound, and I want you to think as you’re listening what it sounds like So remember those species we were just listening to And if you can guess based on just listening, whether you think it’s a Odontocete, so remember a toothed whale, a Mysticete, a baleen, whale, or a Pinniped, a seal And you can just say toothed, baleen, or seal if you want I want you to put that in the question box If you want to wait, I’m gonna give you three facts after we play the sound that can help you guess which one it is And then we’re gonna look at what possible species it comes from And then I’ll tell you after that So, we’re first gonna listen to this sound and remember you can put in your answer at any point – [Grace] And just before I play the sound, I want to make the point, Kira had a really great comment And she said, you can look at the graph, this is actually called a spectrogram, and you can sort of cheat a little bit by looking at what the frequency or the pitch is, if you look at it along the Y axis here, this is just time on the X axis, and then the colors are the amplitude or the loudness, right Gen, so I just want – [Gen] Thing to notice, yeah, so we’re looking at spectograms, and spectograms are a visual way you can look at sound, and I’m so sorry I didn’t explain that earlier – [Grace] Nope that’s my team – [Gen] Yep (swirling beeping and whirring) (swirling beeping and whirring) Okay so remember, I want you to think, if you think it’s a toothed whale, a baleen whale, or a seal (swirling beeping and whirring) Okay – [Grace] Okay – [Gen] Oh, yeah – [Grace] Good – [Gen] I’ll say, we can start reading clues if we want, before you’ve guessed, or we can do both – [Grace] I have a lot of guesses, so let me just share with you, and I just wanna apologize to Kirra, is a young gentleman, so I apologize for that So a lot of folks are saying seal We have a few toothed whales, but a lot of folks are saying, um, so it’s sort of split between the two And then there are a few baleen whales – [Gen] Great lets read some clues and see if that clears anything up So this animal eats squid and fish Adults grow up to eight feet, so that’s like one and a half to two humans, about my height And weigh up to 440 pounds, which is hopefully a lot more than two of me And they’re found around Antarctica Okay, see if you can answer now what you think this animal might be – [Grace] So we’re still seeing, well we’re seeing, I think, predominantly seals But there are a few folks that think that it’s a, a toothed cetacean as well – [Gen] Great – [Grace] You want me to show choices? – [Gen] Yeah, show the choices please Okay, what do we think this is? Beluga whale, great whale, or ross seal? – [Grace] All right, it’s coming, it’s uh, it’s split, between ross seal and beluga whale, which seems – [Gen] All right, this is what it is A ross seal! And I bet if you listened again, too, we have a beluga whale example on our website, so you can go and listen to the two together All right, let’s do another one And you can look at Kirra’s clue by looking what frequency ranges these sounds are in too, but let’s listen (low pitched groaning and mumbling) Okay so I want you guys to enter what you think Do you think it’s a toothed whale, a baleen whale, or a seal?
(low pitched bubbling and groaning) Let’s find one Grace if you were talking we can’t hear you – [Grace] Thank you, I keep forgetting to switch So just a shoutout, I’ve got a lot of folks that have been voting in, and just a shoutout, Annabelle, Gabe, Reegan, Dylan, and Tati have all said that they think it’s a baleen whale A lot of folks have voted for baleen whale And I have to tell you Gen, someone even had the correct type of baleen whale I’m not gonna say who it is But someone did have the correct one – [Gen] Well let us read some facts about this animal This animal eats tiny zooplankton, primarily copepods Adults grown up to 55 feet and weigh up to 70 tons, which is like seven school buses And they’re now highly endangered, their name comes from the reason they were hunted in such high numbers So someone may have already guessed this What do we think? – [Grace] Do you want me to tell you what the guesses are? – [Gen] I would love to hear the guesses – [Grace] All right, so we have, Victor thinks it’s a blue whale, Katie thinks it’s a right whale, Annabelle thinks it’s a right whale, Juliet thinks it’s a humpback whale, Sloane thinks it’s a right whale, Sofia thinks it’s a right whale, Catherine thinks it’s a right whale, we have a lot of right whale folks – [Gen] So those are all great guesses The majority in this case does win So that was a right whale So you may have learned a lot about right whales previously from Allison and Grace, and that’s fantastic We have a few more things about them But their really specific call is called an up call, that’s their contact call, and that’s like saying, “Hey how are ya?” And my research primarily focuses on right whales, and using their acoustics to tell where they are So they’re very special to my heart – [Grace] So Gen can we pause here for a second, and can I share some of the questions that have come in, so that you can answer some of the questions? – [Gen] Mmhmm – [Grace] So one of the interesting questions that I would love to hear your answer, is “Can humans hear marine mammal sounds?” So just with our ears, if we were to listen underwater, would we be able to hear them? – [Gen] Yeah, if they’re close enough and loud enough So if you, I have not have the pleasure of doing it, but many people have told me they’ve gone snorkeling in Hawaii near humpback whales, and are able to hear them everywhere, and so that sounds wonderful But you can, if they’re close and loud enough, you can – [Grace] Great, another question we had is, “How does whale sound help with navigation?” – [Gen] Great question So they can use cues like understanding if they’re too close to shore Perhaps if there’s waves that are slamming into the cliffs And that type of thing They can also just use it as they’re navigating, they can tell when they’re in an area with other animals So a lot of times, like the right whale, you just heard some of the up calls, you’ll hear them calling as they come into an area to see if other species are around – [Grace] And someone wanted to know, Ellen wanted to know, what’s your favorite whale? – [Gen] That’s a great question I unfortunately am biased, and my favorite whale is the right whale and that’s probably because I started studying them, and I’ve continued studying them throughout my career But I also love all of them, and when you see them in person it’s hard not to like just one I think my favorite ones to see are pilot whales But I get excited about every single one of them – [Grace] And somebody else, I don’t know if you can answer this, someboedy asked, “Which whale can hear the best?” – [Gen] Ooh, you know that’s a great question! So we talked about human hearing ranges, and with whale hearing ranges it’s a little more tricky Cause we can’t necessarily take them into a lab and do a hearing test on them like we can for humans Some dolphins we can do hearing range tests on So typically we think that most whales can hear within the range that they communicate But I don’t know if we know which one has the best hearing range – [Grace] So I think one more question and then we’ll move on And the last question I wanted to ask you that came through is Maisie and Miles wanted to know, when did you first get interested in studying sound?
– [Gen] Great question, I got interested in studying sound in college when I did an internship So I didn’t know that whales produced sound before then, I didn’t know it was a thing we could use to help whales, and I originally wanted to be a veterinarian in my life, and came across this work, fell in love with it, and then continued on after school So it’s been about 11 years now I was 21 – [Grace] And I just want to clarify, because some people were asking questions and we talked about this in one of our previous talks, because you mentioned pilot whales When we use the term whale, someone made the point that they’re porpoises When we use the term whale, it’s sort of like saying something is a bug, it’s a very general term, and it can mean really any of the animals in the cetacean group Depending on who you’re talking to – [Gen] I should be more specific and say cetaceans, that would be far more accurate – [Grace] Sorry, didn’t mean to pick on you for that – [Gen] I appreciate getting picked on Should we do one more test? – [Grace] Yes, let’s do one (high pitched ringing and rhythmic thumping) – [Gen] All right what do we think? Is it an Odontocete, toothed whale? Mysticete, baleen whale, or pinniped, seal? – [Grace] So there were quite a few people that said that they thought it was a, well it seems to be mixed between a toothed whale and a seal – [Gen] Okay – [Grace] Someone said it sounds really weird, and sounds like a bell But we have a lot of either pinnipeds or toothed whales – [Gen] Excellent, lets read some facts This animal eats mollusks, clams, and other invertebrates Adults grow up to 10 and a half feet, so definitely two or more humans, and weigh up to 2700 pounds, far more than two humans They rely on thick packs of ice for resting and giving birth So they have to come out of the water to rest and give birth So we see three possible species that it could be – [Grace] Well also I wanna just tell you that overwhelmingly most people think that it’s a seal – [Gen] Okay, great Let’s see Could it be a walrus, a polar bear, or a sperm whale? – [Grace] All right, the votes are coming in, and it is overwhelmingly, well, the majority say that they think the walrus – [Gen] Okay let’s see, which is it? It’s a walrus! Nice job everybody Very impressed with all of your skills Okay, so now that we’ve heard all of these sounds that marine mammals make, and we know how important it is for them to communicate, I want you to think about what we as humans are adding as sound into the ocean So what do we put into the ocean now as sound sources? And how do you think that affects marine mammals? So enter in the question box first, what do you think we’re doing to produce sound in the ocean? – [Grace] James thinks that we’re putting boat sounds in, and Sam thinks that as well Lillia thinks we do drilling Cindy thinks that we do bomb testing Oil exploration, Ellen shared Airguns, Brody shared that Sonar, from Toby and Joshua Motors, from Diana, boat horns Windmills from Noah – [Gen] Yeah – [Grace] Um Nope go ahead – [Gen] That’s great, those are all sources of sound that we’re adding into the ocean And when you say vessels, I want you to think about all the different types of vessels that we have We have fishing boats, we have pleasure boats for going out for fun, we have commercial boats, so pretty much everything that we have from other countries comes here on a ship And so there’s lots of different boats that are adding sound into the ocean There’s all those other things you guys were mentioning
So with all of this, what do you think that does to marine mammals, how does that affect them? – [Grace] So Brody thinks that the sounds might confuse the animals, and, let’s see Annabelle thinks that it might overwhelm them A lot of folks actually are saying that it might confuse them, or frighten them Or overload them, Brody says that, a different Brody, that it might overload them with sound Someone said it might interrupt their migration paths Confuse, distract, psychological damage So I think that kinda covers it – [Gen] That covered all of it I mean so the main things that sound can do, our input of sound into the ocean, we can cause hearing loss or injury So I don’t know if your parents ever told you not to listen to your music so loud, because it can cause hearing damage, the same idea is what we’re doing to marine mammals, with sound addition Can change their behavior, so if you’re ever listening to a really loud sound sometimes you might wanna walk away because that’s really annoying, so it might change where they’re going Or it can prevent them from hearing important sounds, so maybe they can’t communicate with each other as well, cause it’s really hard to talk over a loud sound If you’re in a city and you’re trying to talk on your phone and you have sirens going by all the time, I don’t know if you’ve experienced it, but I often have a hard time hearing who I’m trying to talk to So it’s the same idea And so we wanna make sure in my lab, that the sounds we’re making don’t cause these issues, where we’re trying to study to see how we can manage our affect on marine mammals, and reduce the amount of ocean noise that we’re putting in there, and understand how our sounds are impacting them So we use what’s called passive acoustic monitoring, which is basically we can put recorders out underwater and listen And there’s a lot of different kinds of information we can get from it We can understand things like movement of animals, and the timing of where and when they are So where are they showing up in our waters? And for how long are they showing up in these different areas? We can understand things like distance to shore So how close to shore are they traveling? Or are they really further off shore? And then how is that overlapping with human activity? We can understand things like, all of the animals that are calling So, what’s really great about acoustics, is you can record anything that’s vocalizing So we can get all the baleen whales that are calling when they come by, we can get fish, we can get vessels So you’re really able to capture a lot from sound, and understand what’s happening – [Grace] So Gen, I just want to briefly go back, because a few people are asking The picture that we had in the past in the previous slide with the animals that were on the beach, they’re just wondering what happened – [Gen] Right – [Grace] To the animals I’ll go back to that slide for you – [Gen] Thank you So these are pictures that are showing strandings So this is when there’s some really loud sounds that can cause hearing damage to the point where animals get stranded, cause they either die from the hearing damage or they get confused and get washed on the shore and then they strand there So sound, loud sound, impactful sound, can have a really big impact on them That’s why we have to look and manage the sounds that we’re putting out into the ocean Anyone else have any questions? – [Grace] So we have a couple of questions here So someone’s wondering if there’s data that shows a general change in behavior due to human actions? Like how far back we have passive acoustic monitoring data? – [Gen] Yeah, we do, there’s a lot of size of looked at human effects Acoustics is a relatively newer technology compared to some of the other ones, but we do have recorders that are from the 60’s and 70’s But it was in the last 20 years has been really when it’s taken off and we’ve really been able to start looking at sound in the ocean – [Grace] So Laura wants to know if there are any rules or regulations on sound pollution in the ocean? – [Gen] Yeah, it’s getting better It’s definitely not the most common rules out there There’s a lot of other things we’re looking at too, like fishing gear and ship strikes, so trying to slow speeds down, but there are rules that are trying to reduce the amount of noise that each ship is putting out there, or trying to reduce when we’re producing noise,
so when we’re looking to develop areas and do those things like pile driving, we try and not overlap with when important species are gonna be in the area – [Grace] Okay, thanks I’m gonna just shout out a few answers to some things that came through Katie asked if walruses have live birth, they do Sam asked what animal is the lightsaber, and I encourage you Sam to go listen to the fin whale And Bridget wants to know how long you’ve been working at the lab, so I’m gonna let you answer that one – [Gen] I’ve been at the lab for nine years now – [Grace] And another question that came in from Catherine, is do all of the beached whales, the ones that are on the shore, do they get there because of sound problems, or are there other reasons they might be beaching themselves? – [Gen] There can be other reasons, there have been some cases where it’s been due to military action, there have been some cases where it’s due to different diseases that species have come across, so there’s lots of different reasons that you’ll find a stranded animal, or mass strandings We call them unusual mortality events when that happens When a lot of things strand – [Grace] Great, and this is a question from early on, but it’s been asked a couple times so I thought I’d share with you How do you find oil by hearing? I think they were, a lot of folks were curious about the airgun and so they were just wondering how you would locate oil using sound – [Gen] How to locate oil, you said? – [Grace] So I’ll take that one I think the point is that sound travels differently through air versus liquid versus solids, so when they’re sending sound down through the sea floor they’re looking for that change Because oil is a liquid versus the solid sea floor so it will do different things to the sound And that’s, you can correct me if I’m wrong Gen, but I think that’s what they’re asking about – [Gen] Yep, perfect answer – [Grace] And another question that they had, was, let’s see Sorry I’m looking through to see They were just wondering if we have any statistics or any numbers for how many animals do get impacted by sound, and I know that’s probably a tough question, but – [Gen] That’s a great question I don’t have that answer off the top of my head I bet we could look at some of the stranding reports, but we don’t have, but if they’re not able to always understand all the reasons for stranding, so if there’s a lot of them, and there’s, in an area where we have the resources to do things like a necropsy, which is looking to investigate why an animal died, that would be when we could find out, but they can’t do that for every stranding So I don’t think we have accurate numbers for that unfortunately – [Grace] Okay, a few other questions Do all of these animals, because we talked so much about them using their hearing, do they have eyes? – [Gen] Great question, they do have eyes They may not work as well as our eyes But yes, they all have eyes, and they can all see They just are often in areas where light doesn’t reach, so they’re switching to hearing instead – [Grace] And this is a question that is a throwback from a couple of webinars again, that we never answered Why is a whale shark called a whale shark, when it’s not really a whale? – [Gen] Super question Do you want me to answer that or do you want to answer that? – [Grace] I can answer it, and you can add to it if you want because I’m glad that someone asked this, and the reason I’m glad is I think a lot of times people think that it is a type of whale, but it’s actually a shark, a shark is not a mammal They have gills, they have a skeleton made out of cartilage instead of bone, but they’re called a whale shark because they’re really large and they look a little bit like a whale, and the way they feed, they’re filtering, similar to our baleen whales Well, they’re filtering So a lot of times folks name things because they’re similar to other animals So even though they’re not really a whale, that’s why they’re called a whale shark Is that good? – [Gen] Look like one, yeah I think, the look alike is the main key – [Grace] Okay, and one last question, cause then we are out of time, but I’m gonna ask this question of you Gen, because if you’ve seen Finding Dory, I think everyone is familiar with the beluga whale that was there Marta was asking, “Do beluga whales use their large head,”
I’m gonna just open this question “Do beluga whales use their large head for bouncing sound off of them?” So if you could explain beluga whales and talk about the melon that would be great – [Gen] Yeah, so beluga whales are an Odontocete, so they’re a toothed whale and they use echolocation to be able to tell where things are and what’s in front of them So they send a sound out through the melon, which is kind of a big fat ball at the top of their head that they can directly send a signal in a certain direction and understand where it’s going, and then they can receive that signal back and understand where things are So if you saw Finding Dormy, Dory, you’ll remember the beluga did echolocate in a way, and saw a picture come back It’s not quite exactly how Finding Dory showed it, but it’s similar in the idea that they can send a sound out and they receive what’s back in their head kind of like a picture So they can tell what’s around them The answer to your Finding Dory question Similar but not exactly the same – [Grace] So that was really great I want to thank you Gen, it was really neat to hear about marine mammals and sound and learn all about the different types of vocalizations or sounds they make I want to remind everyone that you can go and listen to the sounds if you go to the NOAA Live website, there is a link, also on our resources page we have a square that says sounds, and you click on that it takes you right to the sounds page, you can listen to any sounds maybe that you heard today you wanna hear again Or maybe there’s a species you’re really interested in that you didn’t get to hear today You’ll find that there are a lot of different species So thanks so much for taking the time to share your amazing research with us, Gen I encourage everyone who wants to, on Monday, our next webinar is about sail drones, which are really really neat You might think about drones that fly through the sky, well Heather is gonna talk to us about drones that sail across the ocean, how they study the ocean and the atmosphere, and it looks like a little sailboat So really, really neat, the sail drones talk So that will be at 11 Go ahead and register at the same place, still on our NOAA Live website But thanks so much for tuning in with us, and stay tuned for next week, we have some really exciting webinars So thank you so much Gen, and thank you all for coming and listening