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Unique study shows oil, gas seismic work not affecting Gulf sperm whales
Date:8/21/2008

olled exposure to seismic exploration on the swimming and diving behavior by sperm whales in the Gulf, and also revealed a wealth of data about sperm whale biology and habitat.

"We now know that the sperm whales in the Gulf appear to be their own distinct stock they show genetic and social differences from other sperm whales around the world," Biggs says.

"There are believed to be about 500 to 1,500 sperm whales that reside in the Gulf. Most of these are family groups of females and maturing young. When one family group socializes with another family group in the Gulf, they make very distinct sounds. Even though the family groups are visited by males that come into the Gulf from other oceans, their 'clicking' sounds, called codas, the Gulf sperm whales make appear to be different from most others made by sperm whale groups in other parts of the world.

"The five-year study has greatly contributed to our knowledge of sperm whales, especially those found in the Gulf of Mexico. It's also raised new questions we need to know more about, such as their feeding and breeding patterns. There's still a lot we don't know about these huge creatures."


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Contact: Keith Randall
keith-randall@tamu.edu
979-845-4644
Texas A&M University
Source:Eurekalert

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