Home Science Noise from big Ships disturbing Pacific Northwest Orca Whales

Noise from big Ships disturbing Pacific Northwest Orca Whales


Pacific Northwest Orca Whales also referred as the killer whale or blackfish belongs to the dolphin family and it is the largest member of its family. It is found in all oceans and have a diverse diet. It is in the news after reports that noise from Large Ships is troubling Pacific Northwest Orca Whales.

Scott Veirs, an oceanographer who started a study on the subject published in the journal PeerJ, said that the ships are prevalent and also quite loud as compared to other noises in the oceans.

Noisy ships are causing problems for both Baleen and toothless and toothed whales as per a study which has been published in PeerJ. Whales communicate and navigate in a unique way, and any interfering sound which is at the right frequency can make the whales distressed and unable to hunt or even lose their bearings and get lost.

It has been proved by scientists that low-frequency growl of ships as harmful and lethal to large toothless whales, like blue whales and humpbacks. The latest studies point out that toothed whales like killer whales and dolphins could also be affected.


The concentration of noise in the low-frequency bracket has increased almost ten times since the sixties, but researchers from the Beam Reach Marine Science and Sustainability School wanted to see if the concentration of the noise in the higher frequency bracket has also increased. The results were startling. Ships not only emitted low rumbles that would disturb massive baleen whales but they also increased the noise at medium and high frequencies — including at 20,000 Hz, a frequency in which orcas hear the best.

The whales also have to deal with other problems besides noise pollution. The global warming is warming the oceans, and they have to contend with greater toxic algae blooms. Preys are disappearing fast, and toxic chemicals are finding the way to their blubber and whaling are still practiced in parts of the world.

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