Monday, December 18, 2017

Episode 399 (12-18-17): Whales in Song, Sound, and Migration Past Virginia


CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (4:16).

Transcript of audio, notes on the audio, images, and additional information follow below.

All Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 12-15-17.


TRANSCRIPT OF AUDIO

From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of December 18, 2017.

MUSIC – ~ 9 sec

This week, we’re using that music and two mystery sounds to introduce a group of large mammals that migrate from time to time past Virginia’s coastline. Have a listen for about for about 45 seconds and see if you can guess the subject of the music, and what’s making the swishing sounds and strange call. And here’s a hint: take a deep breath, sing a song, and think big!

MUSIC - ~ 27 sec

SOUNDS - ~19 sec

If you guessed whales, you’re right!  You heard part of of “Leviathan,” by John McCutcheon and Bob Read, on the 2001 album “Supper’s on the Table…Everybody Come In,” from Rounder Records.  The sounds you heard were, first, the spouting that occurs when resurfacing whales breathe through their blowhole, which is a nostril on top of their head; and second, a Humpback Whale song for breeding or other communication.

This time of year—from December to about mid-March—sightings of migrating whales, such as Fin and Humpback whales, are a hoped-for prize of wildlife-watching cruises that run out of Virginia Beach.  At least 14 species of whales are known to occur in the waters off Virginia’s coast—some regularly during migrations, others only occasionally.  Another four to six species commonly called whales but actually categorized as dolphins—such as Killer Whales—have also been recorded from Virginia waters.

Six of the whale species known from Virginia waters are on the federal Endangered Species List.  Collectively worldwide, whales face a number of dangers, including accidental ship strikes, entanglement in fishing gear, underwater noise, chemical pollution, marine debris, and the whaling that continues in a few countries.

Thanks to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and to the National Park Service for making this week’s sounds available for public use.  Thanks also to Appalseed Productions for permission to use this week’s music, and we close with a few more seconds of “Leviathan.”

MUSIC - ~ 16 sec

SHIP’S BELL

For more Virginia water sounds, music, and information, visit us online at virginiawaterradio.org, or call us at (540) 231-5463.  Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment.  Thanks to Stewart Scales for his banjo version of Cripple Creek to open and close the show.  In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.

AUDIO NOTES AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

This episode revises and updates Episode 92 (12-12-11); that episode has been archived.

“Leviathan” from the 2001 album “Supper’s on the Table…Everybody Come In!” is copyright by John McCutcheon and Rounder Records, used with permission.   More information about John McCutcheon is available online at https://www.folkmusic.com/.

The whale spouting sound was taken from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife National Digital Library, http://digitalmedia.fws.gov/cdm/ (for sound clips specifically, see http://digitalmedia.fws.gov/cdm/search/searchterm/%28mp3%29).

The Humpback Whale sound was taken from a National Park Service recording (“Humpback Whales Song 2”) made available for public use on the “Community Audio” page of the Internet Archive Web site, at http://www.archive.org/details/HumpbackWhalesSongsSoundsVocalizations.

Click here if you’d like to hear the full version (1 min./11 sec.) of the “Cripple Creek” arrangement/performance by Stewart Scales that opens and closes this episode.  More information about Mr. Scales and the group New Standard, with which Mr. Scales plays, is available online at http://newstandardbluegrass.com.

PHOTOS
Humpback Whale. Photo by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, accessed online at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/mammals/whales/humpback-whale.html.
Northern Right Whale spouting. Photo by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), taken about 2007, location not identified. Accessed from the NOAA Photo Library, online at https://www.flickr.com/photos/51647007@N08/5277845710/.
Northern Right Whale entangled in fishing gear. Photo by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)/National Marine Fisheries Service Northeast Regional Office, taken May 20, 2003, location not indicated. Accessed from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Photo Library, online at https://www.flickr.com/photos/51647007@N08/11468611605/.

EXTRA FACTS ABOUT WHALES FOUND IN VIRGINIA WATERS


Following a list of the whale species and of dolphin species commonly referred to as whales that ahve been recorded from Virginia waters, according to the following three sources:

1. Robert A. Blaylock, The Marine Mammals of Virginia (with notes on identification and natural history), Virginia Institute of Marine Science, 1985; online (as a PDF) at http://nsgd.gso.uri.edu/vsgcp/vsgcpe85001.pdf.

2. Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center, “Virginia Strandings,” online at https://www.virginiaaquarium.com/conserve/outreach-events; on this page is a link to “Virginia Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Species List” (direct link is https://www.virginiaaquarium.com/conserve/Documents/Virginia-MM-ST-Species-Lists.pdf).

3. Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, “Fish and Wildlife Information Service/Species Information,” online at https://vafwis.dgif.virginia.gov/fwis/?Menu=Home.Species+Information; use this link for whales.

The numbers after the species name in the list indicate which one(s) of the each of the three sources included that species.

Species currently categorized by scientists as part of whale familiesAntillean Beaked (or Gervais’ Beaked) Beaked Whale – 1, 2, 3
Blue Whale – 1, 3
Bryde’s (or Eden’s) Whale (possibly two separate species) – 1, 2, 3
Dense-beaked (or Blainvilles Beaked) Whale – 1, 2, 3
Dwarf Sperm Whale – 1, 2, 3
Fin (or Finback) Whale – 1, 2, 3
Goose-beaked Whale – 1, 3
Humpback Whale – 1, 2, 3
Minke Whale – 1, 2, 3
Northern Right (or North Atlantic Right) Whale – 1, 2, 3
Pygmy Sperm Whale – 1, 2, 3
Sei Whale – 1, 2, 3
Sperm Whale – 1, 2, 3
True’s Beaked Whale – 1, 2, 3

Species currently categorized by scientists as part of dolphin family
Atlantic Pilot (or Long-finned Pilot) Whale – 1, 2, 3
False Killer Whale – 3
Killer Whale (or Orca) – 3
Melonheaded Whale – 2
Pygmy Killer Whale – 2
Short-finned Pilot Whale – 1, 2, 3

SOURCES USED FOR AUDIO AND OFFERING MORE INFORMATION

Robert A. Blaylock, The Marine Mammals of Virginia (with notes on identification and natural history), by Virginia Institute of Marine Science, 1985; online at http://nsgd.gso.uri.edu/vsgcp/vsgcpe85001.pdf.

International Whaling Commission, “Environmental Concerns,” online at https://iwc.int/environment.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, “Marine Mammals/Whales,” online at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/mammals/#whales.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, “Bryde’s Whale (Balaenoptera edeni),” online at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/mammals/whales/brydes-whale.html.

National Park Service, “Humpback Whales Songs Sounds Vocalizations,” online at https://archive.org/details/HumpbackWhalesSongsSoundsVocalizations/Humpback_whale_song_3.mp3.

PBS Nature, “Humpback Whales—Songs of the Sea,” 11/3/01, online at http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/humpback-whales-song-of-the-sea/2874/.

Rudee Tours, “Wildlife Watching—Whale Cruises—Virginia Beach,” online at https://www.rudeetours.com/tours-cruises/winter-wildlife-cruises/.

Karen Terwilliger and John Tate, A Guide to Endangered and Threatened Species in Virginia, McDonald and Woodward, Blacksburg, Va., 1995.

U.S. Marine Mammal Commission, “Oil and Gas Development and Marine Mammals,” online at https://www.mmc.gov/priority-topics/offshore-energy-development-and-marine-mammals/offshore-oil-and-gas-development-and-marine-mammals/.

Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center, “Boat Trips,” online at https://www.virginiaaquarium.com/learn/boat-trips.

Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center, “Documenting Whale Migration Off Virginia’s Coast,” online at https://www.virginiaaquarium.com/conserve/research-projects.

Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center, “Virginia Strandings,” online at https://www.virginiaaquarium.com/conserve/outreach-events.  On this page is a link to “Virginia Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Species List”; direct link is https://www.virginiaaquarium.com/conserve/Documents/Virginia-MM-ST-Species-Lists.pdf).

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, “Fish and Wildlife Information Service/Species Information,” online at https://vafwis.dgif.virginia.gov/fwis/?Menu=Home.Species+Information.

RELATED VIRGINIA WATER RADIO EPISODES

All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/p/index.html).  See particularly the “Mammals” subject category. Episode 399 (replacing Episode 92) is the only episode so far on whales.

FOR VIRGINIA TEACHERS – RELATED STANDARDS OF LEARNING (SOLs) AND OTHER INFORMATION

The episode may help with Virginia 2013 Music SOLs at various grade levels that call for “examining the relationship of music to the other fine arts and other fields of knowledge.”

This episode may also help with the following Virginia 2010 Science SOLs:

Grades K-6 Earth Resources Theme
4.9 - Va. natural resources, including watersheds, water resources, and organisms.
6.9 – public policy decisions related to the environment (including resource management and conservation, land use decision, hazard mitigation, cost/benefit assessments).

Grades K-6 Life Processes Theme
3.4 - behavioral and physiological adaptations.

Grades K-6 Living Systems Theme
2.5 - living things as part of a system, including habitats.
3.5 - food webs.
3.6 - ecosystems, communities, populations, shared resources.
4.5 - ecosystem interactions and human influences on ecosystem.

Life Science Course
LS.8 - community and population interactions, including food webs, niches, symbiotic relationships.
LS.9 - adaptations for particular ecosystems’ biotic and abiotic factors, including characteristics of land, marine, and freshwater environments.
LS.10 - changes over time in ecosystems, communities, and populations, and factors affecting those changes, including climate changes and catastrophic disturbances.
LS.11 - relationships between ecosystem dynamics and human activity.

Biology Course
BIO.8 - dynamic equilibria and interactions within populations, communities, and ecosystems; including nutrient cycling, succession, effects of natural events and human activities, and analysis of the flora, fauna, and microorganisms of Virginia ecosystems.

The episode may also help with the following Virginia 2015 Social Studies SOLs:

Grades K-6 Economics Theme
3.8 – understanding of cultures and of how natural, human, and capital resources are used for goods and services.

Civics and Economics Course
CE.6 – government at the national level.
CE.10 – public policy at local, state, and national levels.

World Geography Course
WG.2 - how selected physical and ecological processes shape the Earth’s surface, including climate, weather, and how humans influence their environment and are influenced by it.
WG.3 - how regional landscapes reflect the physical environment and the cultural characteristics of their inhabitants.

Government Course
GOVT.7 – national government organization and powers.
GOVT.9 – public policy process at local, state, and national levels.
GOVT.15 – role of government in Va. and U.S. economies, including examining environmental issues and property rights.

Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/.

Following are links to previous Water Radio episodes (various topics) designed especially for certain K-12 grade levels.
Episode 249 (1-19-15) – on freezing and ice, for kindergarten through 3rd grade;
Episode 250 (1-26-15) – on boiling, for kindergarten through 3rd grade;
Episode 255 (3-2-15) – on density, for 5th and 6th grade;
Episode 282 (9-21-15) – on living vs. non-living, for kindergarten;
Episode 309 (3-28-16) – on temperature regulation in animals, for kindergarten through 12th grade;
Episode 332 (9-12-16) – on dissolved gases, especially dissolved oxygen in aquatic habitats, for 5th grade.