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The fin whale, under more threat in the Mediterranean than thought
Date:7/26/2012

region of the western Mediterranean", confirms Castellote, who highlights the fact that this region had previously been identified as a feeding area.

The importance of the study is the critical state situation of the whale in these waters where it is the only mysticete (it has a baleen instead of teeth). The species is particularly susceptible to collisions with merchant vessels and ferries, which is the main cause of fin whale mortality.

Among other threats, an "insufficient" knowledge of their basic ecological characteristics such as distribution and population size stands out. For the biologist, "from a conservation point of view, it is essential to understand the geographical distribution and population size of the Mediterranean fin whale, because if not, appropriate management methods cannot be implemented".

The danger of undersea noise

Maritime traffic and geophysical exploration including the search for hydrocarbons "drastically" reduces the song effectiveness linked to reproduction and which propagates hundreds of kilometres beneath the Sea of the whales, which are also the group of marine mammals with the greatest acoustic sensitivity at low frequencies. "The noise generated through human activity in the oceans leads to possible chronic effects on the health of this species", Castellote states.

To control these threats the same researchers identified in another report the possible impact of noise generated by human activity on the acoustic behaviour and geographical movement of the fin whales in various regions of the Mediterranean Sea and in the northeast Atlantic.

After analysing 20,547 hours of recordings of the sounds emitted by the whales, the study published in Biological Conservation indicated that the whales modified the characteristics of their songs in order to try to reduce the impact of noise on their propagation.

In addition the researchers recorded a massive displacement of fin whales, triggered by t
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FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology
Source:Eurekalert  

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