North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis) ignore ships but respond to alerting stimuli.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

North Atlantic right whales were extensively hunted during the whaling era and have not recovered. One of the primary factors inhibiting their recovery is anthropogenic mortality caused by ship strikes. To assess risk factors involved in ship strikes, we used a multi-sensor acoustic recording tag to measure the responses of whales to passing ships and experimentally tested their responses to controlled sound exposures, which included recordings of ship noise, the social sounds of conspecifics and a signal designed to alert the whales. The whales reacted strongly to the alert signal, they reacted mildly to the social sounds of conspecifics, but they showed no such responses to the sounds of approaching vessels as well as actual vessels. Whales responded to the alert by swimming strongly to the surface, a response likely to increase rather than decrease the risk of collision.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Nowacek, DP; Johnson, MP; Tyack, PL

Published Date

  • February 2004

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 271 / 1536

Start / End Page

  • 227 - 231

PubMed ID

  • 15058431

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC1691586

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1471-2954

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0962-8452

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1098/rspb.2003.2570


  • eng