Underwater Noises Cause Stress in Baleen Whales
It has been found by a team of researchers at New England Aquarium in Boston that whales in Bay of Fundy tend to be stressed because of sounds produced by ships. The stress is risking the whales further to be prone to various diseases.
The report has unveiled that the big baleen whales that have been spending their lives in the Bay of Fundy off the East Coast, become stressed and anxious when large number of ships sail through the bay. It has been concluded by the team after the study that calm whales can only be found in calmer and quiet oceans. Hormone levels in whales’ poop led the researchers to discover the reason of stress levels in them.
"Compared to the four following years, there was something different that affected their baseline stress levels. A big decrease in their fecal stress hormones -- that tells me the whales are responding to the noise in their environment with stress", avowed Rosalind Rolland, an author of the study.
However, previous studies had shown that whales changed their vocalization because of underwater sounds. The study this time has led the team to affirm that right whales respond to noises with physical changes as well. They go through physiological stress as a result of noises made underwater.
It is being feared by the researchers that the physical changes caused in whales could further lead to behavioural changes in them. The team has told that the stress caused in them could be the reason for varied diseases in them as well as would make it hard for them to reproduce. Also, whales could even develop immune and reproductive problems as a result of stress levels, concerns the team.
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