New research interprets Whale social sounds

Oma Tafua, Niue’s non-government organization conducting whale research in Niue has finally interpreted social sounds recorded last year. 

Marine science graduate and acoustics student April Howeling attached to the research program for a week helped Oma differentiate between acoustic recordings revealing their first documented social sounds recorded last year are actually whale cries.

April Howeling who has the privilege of working with Michael Noad, professor who’d discovered the cultural transmission of the whale song traveling easterly across countries, trained April in acoustics. 

It was here in Niue where she picked up the first documentation made by Oma Tafua last year of social sounds which were exhibited by 3-4 adults.  April confirmed with experts that these sounds are indeed cries only observed with multiple animals. 

She further explained it could have to do with competing for a female, but further research combining underwater video and acoustics would have to be conducted in order to confirm this..  Such social sounds are poorly studied and analysis of it will go a long way.  She introduced Oma to Adobe Audition that visually connects acoustics to help differentiate between songs, cries and other social sounds. 

Grateful for the introduction to the visual and digital aid, Oma now is excited to showcase this when visiting schools in the coming weeks.

The research has been aided by donor funders Niue Ocean Wide Project which ended last year. 

The NGO now seeks additional funding for ongoing research.  

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