Carlsbergfondet - Forskningsinfrastruktur - A whale of a song - Unraveling sound production mechanisms in toothed whales

Project: Research

Project Details


Over the last decade there has been increasing societal concerns on how anthropogenic disturbance affects the natural world around us, including terrestrial and marine organisms. Toothed whales rely critically on sound for communication,navigation and food finding. They successfully use echolocation to consume a biomass that is several times larger than that of the combined human fisheries.
However, we know next to nothing about how their sound production works and hence how the dynamics of this vital system may enable a noise-mitigating plasticity as found in the terrestrial animals when influenced by (anthropogenic) noise. In that context, it is critical to understand how cetaceans produce sound in order ton evaluate how well they can adapt their acoustic behavior to a changing environment where human encroachment provide ever increasing levels of anthropogenic noise.
Our study seeks to address how toothed whales produce sounds and investigates the plasticity of their sound production system with implications for effects of anthropogenic noise pollution in water.
The physical boundaries to which cetaceans can adjust the acoustic parameters of their natural vocal repertoire can become a strong argument in future management decisions reducing or banning anthropogenic noise in urban and coastal areas.
Effective start/end date01/01/201531/12/2015