15 Feb 2023
The Whales create sound patterns to communicate with each other. These sounds are generally referred to as whale songs. The songs are mostly about prey and breeding grounds. Humpback whales create such songs during mating season alone. Only the males of the species sing and the females don’t! Some other whale species create the songs during feeding periods. Therefore, whale songs are very essential for the survival of the largest mammal on the earth. However, a recent study says that deep-sea mining is disrupting the whale song. The songs are not able to fulfil the purpose of their creation. They are stopped midway by the vibrations and disturbances from the deep sea mining. Thus, deep-sea mining may endanger the survival of whales.
What is the issue?
The whale song frequencies range between 20 Hz and 10 KHz. The songs can be heard even if the mammals are miles apart and the songs may run for days together. Seabed mining of nickel and cobalt is interfering with whale communication. The sounds produced by the digging equipment, rock blasters, and vehicles operated on the sea floor bed are overlapping with the frequencies of whale songs. Thus, the messages sent are disrupted. This leads to wrong message delivery or no message delivery at all.
Impacts of deep-sea mining
The mothers may separate from their calves. Mating may be affected. Communication disruption between groups will affect the biodiversity of the species.