- Human-created noise pollution is forcing some whales to call louder.
- Calling louder requires whales to expend more energy and to probably strain themselves.
- If ambient noise is too loud, whales may give up trying to communicate with each other altogether.
Noise pollution created by humans is forcing endangered North Atlantic right whales and other whale species to increase the amplitude of their calls in an attempt to be heard by each other over the din, according to a new study.
The paper, published in the latest Royal Society Biology Letters, provides the first evidence that baleen whales can modify the loudness of their calls in response to outside noise.
One downside is that "shouting," as for humans and other animals, requires more energy expenditure and probable strain, so we are making life more difficult for these already at risk marine mammals. Since communication is tied to mating, feeding and more, these critical aspects of whale life may also be impacted.
Another concern "is that when noise exceeds a certain level, right whales will not be able to increase their call amplitude enough to compensate," project leader Susan Parks told Discovery News.