Beluga whales hear their own recorded signals for the first time

Beluga whales hear their own recorded signals for the first time

3 October 2017

This year scientists have, for the first time, recorded and played some of the signals made by beluga whales in Anadyr Liman, Chukotka.


Roman Belikov, senior researcher of the Institute of Oceanology, the Russian Academy of Sciences, said that scientists had been recording videos and taking photos of beluga whales for a month, and also recorded their voices with hydrophones.


Belikov said they had lowered the hydrophones vertically into the water in an improvised protective shell. The signals were recorded on several channels so that scientists could later reproduce the signals in the water with maximum accuracy. The recording took place at night to avoid interference from man-made noises.


Belikov also said that despite serious differences in the signals of various populations, beluga whales did respond to the recorded sounds.


 “For instance, we played a signal made by a very young beluga whale, now in the White Sea, or signals from White Sea animals, or from Anadyr animals – and beluga whales did respond,” the scientist said, adding that the current studies were only a pilot project.


“However, this opens up the possibility of communicating with the white whales and gaining an insight into what they are talking about in the future,” Belikov said.