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Beaked Whales to be Tagged and Monitored During World’s Largest Joint Navy Exercise

Bioacoustics, Sonar Add comments

For the first time, researchers will have the chance to see in detail how beaked whales respond to actual military active sonar exercises, thanks to two studies taking place during the biannual RIMPAC exercises around Hawaii this month. RIMPAC, the world’s largest multi-national naval exercise, involves 20,000 troops from ten countries, and runs through July. One team will be tracking dive patterns only on 30-35 whales, while researchers from another team will attach suction-mounted D-tags to beaked whales; the tags remain attached for several hours before falling off and rising to the surface for retrieval. While attached, the tags track the dive patterns of the whales, as well as recording all sounds, so that researchers can hear what sound level triggered any observed behavioral changes. D-tag studies have been an increasingly valuable research tool over the past several years, but until now, had been used only in controlled experimental settings (with researchers making or playing sounds in the vicinity), rather than in “real world” settings. Sources: AP, 7/3/08 [READ ARTICLE]

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