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It may sound quacky, but mysterious duck-like sounds in the oceans are made by whales, a new study says.
Scientists have been trying to decode the perplexing low-frequency sounds, which occur every winter in the Southern Hemisphere in the ocean around Antarctica, since sonar began detecting them in the 1960s.
The noise was so deep and repeated so regularly that at first, researchers weren’t even sure that a living creature could be producing the noise. Now, analysis of calls between Antarctic minke whales (Balaenoptera bonaerensis) reveal the marine mammals were the source of the sound. So when a group of scientists asked her to analyze acoustic data from Antarctic minke whales, Risch leaped at the chance to investigate what she believed might be the source of bio-duck. Antarctic minke whales, which weigh between six and nine tons and measure about 25 to 35 feet (7 to 11 meters), use baleen to filter out krill and other small marine animals from the frigid waters off Antarctica. The animals spend their winters in the warmer waters nearer the tropics and return to Antarctic waters to breed during the summer. Like many marine mammals, Antarctic minke whales were believed to communicate by calling to each other beneath the waves. So in 2013, Risch and colleagues took a boat into Wilhelmina Bay, off the western Antarctic Peninsula, and used a handheld pole to attach sound recorders to two wild minke whales. These acoustic devices, which were attached by specialized suction cups and stayed on for several hours, recorded all of the animals’ calls before detaching and falling to the bottom of the ocean. But from each whale, Risch was able to identify several bio-duck calls that were distinct from the other calls. The team has solved the major mystery of bio-duck, but plenty are left for them and other scientists to uncover.
For instance, no one knows the purpose of bio-duck calls or how the whales use them to communicate with each other.


Nor does Risch have any idea why bio-duck is used only at the height of the southern summer and not at other times of the year. THERE IS A VAST LOT MORE TO BE LEARNED ABOUT THESE GREAT ANIMALS ENRICHING OURSELVES IN THE PROCESS BUT ARE WE DOING ENOUGH.
Cher, atleast the japanese kills them for food…while Americans kill humans for nothing.
We’re Moving!As of October 22, 2014, Weird & Wild will be hosted on National Geographic's main news site.
Top News Watch PostsA Sacred Reunion: The Colorado River Returns to the SeaWhat's Making Duck Sounds in the Ocean? What better way to illustrate the concept of redshift than with that bane of speedy motorists, the radar gun? That's how a crew for the National Geographic Channel wound up filming a radar-gun-wielding detective at Fermilab earlier this month. To better understand the evolution of the universe, cosmologists are eager to measure the speed of celestial objects moving away from Earth.
When it comes to celestial objects, the redshift also indicates their distance from Earth: The faster a star moves away from Earth, the more its color shifts toward the red end of the spectrum and the farther away it is from Earth.
A radar gun measures the speed of passing cars by using electromagnetic waves, which travel at the speed of light. The film crew recruited Detective Shawn Mazza (right) of the City of Batavia Police Department to operate and pose with a radar gun. When going through the recordings, my heart jumped a little bit when I found a sound that was a good candidate for the signal,” said Risch, whose study appeared April 22 in the journal Biology Letters.


Most of the calls were downsweeps, or short bursts of sound that start off at a higher frequency and rapidly fall to a lower one.
Other acoustic experts on her team agreed: The Antarctic minke whale was the source of bio-duck. It will be part of a film about the evolution of the early universe--the period shortly after the big bang--in the "Naked Science" series.
Cameraman Andrei Khabad (second from left) spent more than an hour capturing Mazza in action, for what will probably be a minute-long explanation in the documentary. If the car is moving at the same speed as the radar gun, the returning waves have the same wavelength and frequency as the waves that leave the gun. Khabad filmed the detective from every angle, from close-ups of Mazza holding the radar gun to shots of him chasing a speeding car.
If the car is moving away from the radar gun, the returning waves have a wavelength and frequency different from the outgoing ones.
At least, that's what it will look like in the final cut; in reality, the police car rarely moved more than 10 feet in any of the scenes they filmed.



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