Sperm whale long-range echolocation sounds revealed by ANTARES, a deep-sea neutrino telescope
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Despite dedicated research has been carried out to adequately map the distribution of the sperm whale in the Mediterranean Sea, unlike other regions of the world, the species population status is still presently uncertain. The analysis of two years of continuous acoustic data provided by the ANTARES neutrino telescope revealed the year-round presence of sperm whales in the Ligurian Sea, probably associated with the availability of cephalopods in the region. The presence of the Ligurian Sea sperm whales was demonstrated through the real-time analysis of audio data streamed from a cabled-to-shore deep-sea observatory that allowed the hourly tracking of their long-range echolocation behaviour on the Internet. Interestingly, the same acoustic analysis indicated that the occurrence of surface shipping noise would apparently not condition the foraging behaviour of the sperm whale in the area, since shipping noise was almost always present when sperm whales were acoustically detected. The continuous presence of the sperm whale in the region confirms the ecological value of the Ligurian sea and the importance of ANTARES to help monitoring its ecosystems.
CitationAndre, M., Caballe, A., Van Der Schaar, M., Solsona, A., Houegnigan, L., Zaugg, S., Sánchez, A., Castell, J., Vila, F. Sperm whale long-range echolocation sounds revealed by ANTARES, a deep-sea neutrino telescope. "Scientific reports", 12 Abril 2017, vol. 7.