The sound is thought to be a minke whale call. Image Credit: NOAA
A mysterious metallic sound recorded by researchers could actually be a never-before-heard whale call.
Picked up by autonomous robots known as "passive acoustic ocean gliders" which are typically used to record whale vocalizations at depths of up to 1,000 meters, the strange sound was recorded on a regular basis during the fall and spring in a region of the Pacific Ocean to the east of Guam.
Consisting of five parts with a duration of around 3.5 seconds, the sound, which has been dubbed the "Western Pacific Biotwang", is now thought to be an unknown minke whale call.
"It's very distinct, with all these crazy parts," said marine bioacoustics expert Sharon Nieukirk from Oregon State University. "The low-frequency moaning part is typical of baleen whales, and it's that kind of twangy sound that makes it really unique. We don't find many new baleen whale calls."
Efforts are now underway to try and translate the call to find out what it means.
"If it's a mating call, why are we getting it year-round? That's a mystery," said Nieukirk.
"We need to determine how often the call occurs in summer versus winter, and how widely this call is really distributed."
Please Login or Register to post a comment.