humans have been exploring the oceans
for thousands of years but only in the past several hundred years has our
activity at sea increased dramatically as activity in the ocean increases there
could be more impacts on species protected by federal law like marine
mammals the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Boehm oversees energy and
mineral development in US federal waters and wants to understand how noise from
these activities could affect animals in the ocean such as whales this is
important because marine mammals evolved to use sound for communication
navigation feeding virtually every aspect of their lives as it is much
easier to hear underwater than to see but there are gaps in our understanding
of whales much of what we know we learned from watching them at the
surface so what are they doing when they’re not at the surface sperm whales
and beaked whales dive thousands of feet deep and rarely surface this makes them
difficult to study through traditional methods
that’s why Boehm is conducting a project called Maps the marine mammal passive
acoustics and spatial ecology project that will improve our understanding of
deep diving whales maps is looking at the whales behavior how deep are they
diving are they spending their time near the sea floor or just below the surface
we need to understand the whales behavior so we can understand how ocean
energy development might affect them we’re using new tagging and behavior
mapping technologies we’re using a specially designed research vessel that
is small and very quiet allowing us to tag whales more easily than we could
from a larger vessel we attach special tags to the whales that record how fast
they’re swimming and in what direction these tags can also listen to the whales
so we know what sounds they’re making and we can hear noises in the water that
the animals here we can use this information to see the movement of the
animals underwater to virtually ride along for a day in the life of a deep
diving whale if we know where these animals are and what they’re doing Boehm
can work to plan ocean Energy and Mineral development in ways that lessen
potential impacts this research will give us a more complete picture of these
understudied marine mammals and ultimately make the oceans a safer place
for these incredible species find out more at Boehm gov or follow the research
at open Explorer National Geographic comm / expedition / beaked whales