Whales: A World of Sound

COURSE

Course description

Acoustics is the primary means by which whales and dolphins “see” in the dark depths of the oceans. Some click, some whistle, some moan, some sing—all use their vocal repertoire to communicate, aggregate with conspecifics, navigate and forage. We will review specialized processes that allow cetaceans to “speak” underwater, and how that influences the way in which both toothed and baleen whales live. We will also explore the auditory system that allows whales to sense their world over great distances. The growing importance and effect of anthropogenic noise, how it affects whale habitat use, behaviour, energetics and even species success is an integral part of this discussion. Results from cutting edge research from the BC coast and beyond will be presented. Bones, photographs and examples of medical imaging and recordings of whales’ sounds will enliven the discussion.

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