Scientists fight to protect orcas from man-made noise pollution

  • Experts are studying how man-made noise pollution, like from boats and oil drilling, is threatening the lives of orcas.
  • One team of scientists is collecting hundreds of hours of orca recordings off the coast of Norway in an effort to make to region a marine protected area.
  • Man-made noises interfere with orcas’ communication, which they use for hunting and mating.
  • And orcas trying to escape the underwater cacophonies may travel too far to the rocky shoreline, which can result in stranding and death.
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Orcas have a language of their own. They communicate through touch, movement, and most importantly, sound.

And it’s marine scientist Ellyne Hamran’s job to eavesdrop on them. 

Hamran is an acoustic researcher studying the sounds marine mammals like whales and dolphins use to communicate. She’s captured hundreds of hours of orca recordings.

This summer, she’s listening to the

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