Dolphins Are Adjusting The Way They Communicate Because Of Noises Boats Make
Whenever humans go out on the water in the ocean, what lies underneath the waves is usually just an afterthought. Our boats and other recreational vehicles make such loud noises, they can be heard deep under the ocean’s surface. How has that affected the local wildlife in the deep blue?
Dolphins are known for their different calls. They use echolocation, much like bats, to navigate an area when they have trouble finding their way. They speak to members of their pods using clicks and squeaks only another dolphin would understand.
Using underwater mics placed at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean by researchers at a University in Maryland to see how dolphins deal with the ambient noises from boats and other vessels cruising along the surface. Researchers revealed in their new study that dolphins were increasing the frequency of their whistles, but shortening the time they whistled for.
“It’s kind of like trying to answer a question in a noisy bar and after repeated attempts to be heard, you just give the shortest answer possible,” stated Dr. Helen Bailey, one of the marine biologists in Maryland, who studies protected species.
“These whistles are really important,” Bailey added. “Nobody wants to live in a noisy neighborhood. If you have these chronic noise levels, what does this mean to the population?”
Since dolphins are social creatures, communication is very important. Shorter calls mean less information, and less information might endanger a whole pod itself.
Scientists hope this information may help lead the way in creating boats with engines that make far less noise than what we have today.
There are plans to look into more eco-friendly ways to transport heavy cargo that doesn’t create noise pollution for the sea life underneath the shipping lanes.
Do you think with our current technology, we can produce engines that will put our dolphin friends at ease?