Unique underwater sound identified as minke whale

A unique underwater sound that has been puzzling scientists since the 1960s has been identified as belonging to Antarctic minke whales.

The repetitive signal with a slight downsweep that happens every two to four seconds - dubbed the ‘bio-duck’ sound - is heard mainly in winter and spring in the Southern Ocean and off the Australian west coast.

Researchers led by Dr Nick Gales, Chief Scientist in the Australian Antarctic Division, tagged two minke whales with a recording device and compared the collected sounds to archived recordings. They confirmed that the acoustic activity issued by the whales was the same ‘bio-duck’ sound.

Researchers will now be able to use routine ocean recordings to identify minke whales and collect information regarding population size, migration and other behaviours.

Read more at Australian Antarctic Division