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We need whale poo 📷 WDC NA

Whales are our climate allies – meet the scientists busy proving it

At Whale and Dolphin Conservation, we're working hard to bring whales and the ocean into...
Minke whale © Ursula Tscherter - ORES

The whale trappers are back with their cruel experiment

Anyone walking past my window might have heard my groan of disbelief at the news...
Boto © Fernando Trujillo

Meet the legendary pink river dolphins

Botos don't look or live like other dolphins. Flamingo-pink all over with super-skinny snouts and...
Risso's dolphin entangled in fishing line and plastic bags - Andrew Sutton

The ocean is awash with plastic – can we ever clean it up?

You've seen pictures of plastic litter accumulating on beaches or marine wildlife swimming through floating...
Fin whale

Is this the beginning of the end for whaling off Iceland?

I'm feeling cautiously optimistic after Iceland's Fisheries Minister Svandís Svavarsdóttir wrote that there is little...
Mykines Lighthouse, Faroe Islands

Understanding whale and dolphin hunts in the Faroe Islands – why change is not easy

Most people in my home country of the Faroe Islands would like to see an...

Dolphin scientists look like you and me – citizen science in action

Our amazing volunteers have looked out for dolphins from the shores of Scotland more than...
Atlantic white-sided dolphins

The Faroes dolphin slaughter that sparked an outcry now brings hope

Since the slaughter of at least 1,423 Atlantic white-sided dolphins at Skálafjørður in my home...

That‘s just “quackers” …

Back in the 1960’s submarines detected a bizarre “quacking” sound in the southern ocean and have been perplexed as to its origins ever since. The noise – nicknamed the “bio-duck” – was only heard during winter and spring months and was attributed to everything from ships to fish, but no-one really knew what was making the noise and until now it was purely guess work. 

Researchers using novel acoustic recorders now claim to have conclusive evidence that the “bio-duck” is actually the chattering of the Antarctic minke whale. Although there are still lots of questions surrounding the production of the strange quacking noise they do know that the vocalisations appear to be made close to the surface and before the whales embark on a deep dive to find food. 

More research needs to be undertaken but one exciting result of this positive identification of the noise means that more can be learnt about the migratory routes of these elusive whales as currently little is known about their movements.

Interestingly, although not published, similar “quacking” calls have been recorded from minke whales in the winter months in the North Atlantic. So perhaps it’s not just the Antarctic minke whales who are making these sounds … or perhaps they’re travelling much further than anyone ever thought? 

If one thing is for sure, we’ve still got much to learn about these amazing creatures.

Listen to the sound made by the whales, courtesy of livescience.