The Science of Sustainability

Tag: killer whales

Web Extra: Orca Sounds vs. Underwater Noise

Web Extra: Orca Sounds vs. Underwater Noise

When listening for orca whales underwater, researchers distinguish their sounds from other noises such as boats, ships, and other sea animals with hydrophones. Learn how these instruments work in this web extra from QUEST Northwest.

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Two Endangered Icons: Southern Resident Killer Whales and Chinook Salmon

Two Endangered Icons: Southern Resident Killer Whales and Chinook Salmon

Kenneth Balcomb, senior scientist at the Center for Whale Research Friday Harbor, Washington, explains the connection between the Southern Resident killer whales (orcas) and chinook salmon.

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Science on the SPOT: Sound Waves – Listening to Orcas

Science on the SPOT: Sound Waves – Listening to Orcas

They are an icon of the Pacific Northwest, stirring a mix of fascination, awe and affection. Thousands of people come to the San Juan Islands in Puget Sound just to catch a glimpse of the Southern Resident orcas that call these waters home.

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Into the Waves with Orcas

Into the Waves with Orcas

Orcas use sound to navigate, find food and communicate. But underwater noise is making it more difficult. We explore how scientists use hydrophones to track noise from ships and boats to discover what affect noise pollution really has on orcas.

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Why Killer Whales Don’t Eat People: Where Science and Legend Meet

Why Killer Whales Don’t Eat People: Where Science and Legend Meet

It’s clear that in the wild, orcas seem to have a pretty universal rule: don’t attack humans. The reason would appear to be both biological and cultural.

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Cultural Differences in Northwest Orcas

Cultural Differences in Northwest Orcas

Even though different groups of orcas in the Pacific Northwest often share the same waters, they don’t interact outside of their group, follow a distinct diet and demonstrate unique behaviors.

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Puget Sound Orca Poop is a 'Treasure Trove' for Researchers

Puget Sound Orca Poop is a 'Treasure Trove' for Researchers

Scientists are looking for clues in killer whales' aquatic droppings as they try to determine why their numbers remain so low in Puget Sound. To sniff out these floating data dumps, researchers have turned to a furry colleague named Tucker.

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The Killer Affecting Killer Whale Populations

The Killer Affecting Killer Whale Populations

Nothing excites whale researchers and whale fanatics more than seeing a new calf born into the pod. However, researchers have learned that calf survival rates are incredibly low, especially for the orca’s first born. The mother’s young calf often dies because of something the mother passes on to her offspring—PCBs.

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Watching the Water

Watching the Water

While at sea, I've seen common Alaskan wildlife. Humpbacks have spouted and breached, raven and eagles have dived at the water for a dinner of spawning salmon. But I keep looking at the water, hoping to glimpse Orcas.

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