Ship Noise Stressing Out Whales

Right whales may be getting sick and not reproducing as a result

By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 10, 2012 3:14 PM CST

(Newser) – A group of whales in Canada is being stressed out by noise emanating from ship traffic, a new study suggests, and the stress may be harming the whales' immune system and making it harder for them to reproduce. Scientists measured the stress hormones in the poop of right whales in the Bay of Fundy and discovered that whales are less stressed when fewer ships sail the area, reports LiveScience.

"What this study has shown is that they are having a measurable physiological stress response to the noise in their environment," says one researcher. The whales in question communicate across long distances using low-frequency sounds, similar in frequency to the tones produced by nearby ships.

In this 2007 photo released by the New England Aquarium, a right whale dives near a ship in Canada’s Bay of Fundy.
In this 2007 photo released by the New England Aquarium, a right whale dives near a ship in Canada’s Bay of Fundy.   (AP Photo/New England Aquarium)
This undated photo provided by the Atlantic Canada Tourism Partnership shows whale watching in the Bay of Fundy.
This undated photo provided by the Atlantic Canada Tourism Partnership shows whale watching in the Bay of Fundy.   (AP Photo/Atlantic Canada Tourism Partnership)
« Prev« Prev | Next »Next » Slideshow
My TakeCLICK BELOW TO VOTE
5%
8%
11%
62%
5%
8%
To report an error on this story, notify our editors.

NEWS FROM OUR PARTNERS
Other Sites We Like:   The Street   |   HitFix   |   PopSugar Tech   |   RealClear   |   24/7 Wall St.   |   CollegeHumor   |   Barstool Sports   |   OK!