Register for an account

X

Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.

X

Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.

Planet Earth

Researchers identify mysterious sounds first heard by 1960s submarines.

599px-Minke_whale_in_ross_sea.jpg

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

Photo: Wikimedia CommonsIn the 1960s, sailors in submarines off the coasts of Antarctica and Australia noticed a mysterious noise, which they called the "bio-duck sound" due to its resemblance to a duck quacking (see video below). The source of the sound remained a mystery for decades... until now. In this study, researchers discovered the bio-duck sounds in recordings that also contained sounds already known to be produced by Antarctic Minke whales. The association of the bio-duck sounds with minke whales will help researchers track and study these whales, which is difficult due to the icy seas in which they live -- seas that are undergoing rapid changes associated with global warming.Mysterious bio-duck sound attributed to the Antarctic minke whale (Balaenoptera bonaerensis). "For decades, the bio-duck sound has been recorded in the Southern Ocean, but the animal producing it has remained a mystery. Heard mainly during austral winter in the Southern Ocean, this ubiquitous sound has been recorded in Antarctic waters and contemporaneously off the Australian west coast. Here, we present conclusive evidence that the bio-duck sound is produced by Antarctic minke whales (Balaenoptera bonaerensis). We analysed data from multi-sensor acoustic recording tags that included intense bio-duck sounds as well as singular downsweeps that have previously been attributed to this species. This finding allows the interpretation of a wealth of long-term acoustic recordings for this previously acoustically concealed species, which will improve our understanding of the distribution, abundance and behaviour of Antarctic minke whales. This is critical information for a species that inhabits a difficult to access sea-ice environment that is changing rapidly in some regions and has been the subject of contentious lethal sampling efforts and ongoing international legal action."

Related content: NCBI ROFL: Whale ménage à trois: now with 1,000-kg testes! NCBI ROFL: Intense dead fish smell proven no excuse for not working.Holy carp! Fish can use tools too!

    2 Free Articles Left

    Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.

    Subscribe

    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

    Want unlimited access?

    Subscribe today and save 70%

    Subscribe

    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In