A lucky placement of acoustic survey equipment has allowed scientists to get some rare insight into what sperm whales did in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The bottom line: An acoustic site just nine miles from the spill and 1, meters 0. That, along with other acoustic archives of sperm whale calls from around the Gulf of Mexico and a rapid response grant from the National Science Foundation given to gather more acoustic data right after the spill, has allowed scientists to draw some preliminary conclusions about sperm whales' reactions to the spill. For years before the oil spill, the listening post nearest the now destroyed BP oil rig had detected a fairly steady rate of about five sperm whales nearby.
If the Gulf of Mexico oil spill kills just three sperm whales, it could seriously endanger the long-term survival of the Gulf's native whale population. There are approximately 1, sperm whales in the northern Gulf of Mexico. A preferred feeding ground is along the continental slope, right in.
If the Gulf of Mexico oil spill kills just three sperm whales , it could seriously endanger the long-term survival of the Gulf's native whale population, scientists say.
Grease Overflow Truth: Tracking Whales Using Sub aqua Recordings
Azmy Ackleh reviews modelling simulations of how environmental disturbances impact sperm whales. The contour plot on the left shows that a small change in survival rates over a long time period results in a large change in population dynamics. Photo provided by A. Researchers used population models to investigate how reduced survival and fertility after environmental disturbances, such as an oil spill, might affect sperm whale populations. Model simulations indicated that the magnitude of a disturbance had a stronger impact on recovery from lethal and sublethal effects than its duration. The researchers published their findings in Ecotoxicology:
The environmental group Greenpeace is raising new questions about why it took the federal government more than two years to release information about a dead sperm whale that was discovered during the BP oil spill.