Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Episode 551 (11-16-20): Sea Creatures Sound Off

Click to listen to episode (5:08)

Sections below are the following:

Transcript of Audio
Audio Notes and Acknowledgments
Related Water Radio Episodes
For Virginia Teachers (Relevant SOLs, etc.)

Unless otherwise noted, all Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 11-13-20.


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of November 16, 2020.

MUSIC – ~ 15 sec – instrumental

That music is part of “Leviathan’s Play,” by Andrew and Noah VanNorstrand, from the 2004 album, “Driftage.”  Leviathan is a term used in the Old Testament and other writings for mythical sea monsters.  In modern times the term is still associated with large ocean animals, particularly whales.  This week, Virginia Water Radio explores sounds from the world of leviathans; that is, we present a sample of “Sounds in the Ocean” from the Marine Fisheries Service of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, known more simply as NOAA Fisheries.  You’ll hear sounds from eight ocean animals in three groups; after each group, I’ll identify the species and where they occur.

We start with three whales, for about 30 seconds.

SOUNDS  - ~31 sec

Those were the Killer Whale or Orca, which occurs in all oceans, including waters off of Virginia; the North Atlantic Right Whale, found in Atlantic coastal waters including off of Virginia; and the Beluga Whale, which lives in the Arctic Ocean and adjacent seas.

Next are two dolphins, for about 15 seconds.

SOUNDS  - ~14 sec

Those were the [Common] Bottlenose Dolphin, found in many marine habitats worldwide, and the Atlantic White-sided Dolphin, found in Atlantic coastal waters; both occur in Virginia waters.

Last are three seals, for about 35 seconds. 

SOUNDS  - ~35 sec

Those were the Harp Seal, the Harbor Seal, and the Bearded Seal.  The Harp Seal is found along the Arctic and North Atlantic coasts; the Harbor Seal occurs on the U.S. East and West coasts, including waters off of Virginia; and the fantastic-sounding Bearded Seal lives in the Arctic and other northern regions.

Thanks to NOAA Fisheries for making these ocean sounds available.  Thanks also to Andrew and Noah VanNorstrand for permission to use this week’s music, and we close with about 25 more seconds of “Leviathan’s Play.”

MUSIC – ~ 25 sec – instrumental


Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment.  For more Virginia water sounds, music, or information, visit us online at virginiawaterradio.org, or call the Water Center at (540) 231-5624.  Thanks to Ben Cosgrove for his version of “Shenandoah” to open and close the show.  In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.


“Leviathan’s Play,” from the 2004 album “Driftage,” is copyright by Andrew and Noah VanNorstrand and Great Bear Records, used with permission.  More information about Andrew and Noah and their bands is available online at https://andrewandnoah.bandcamp.com/ and at https://www.greatbearmusic.com/.

The ocean animal sounds were taken from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries, “Sounds in the Ocean,” online at https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/science-data/sounds-ocean.

Click here if you’d like to hear the full version (2 min./22 sec.) of the “Shenandoah” arrangement/performance by Ben Cosgrove that opens and closes this episode.  More information about Mr. Cosgrove is available online at http://www.bencosgrove.com.


The animal images below (with scientific names in parenthesis) are from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries, “Sound in the Ocean,” online at https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/science-data/sounds-ocean.  Each animal name is hyperlinked to NOAA Fisheries’ species profile for that animal.

Above: Killer Whale or Orca (Orcinus orca).

Above: North Atlantic Right Whale (Eubalaena glacialis).

Above: Beluga Whale (Delphinapterus leucas). 

Above: Common Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus).

Above: Atlantic White-sided Dolphin (Lagenorhynchus acutus).

Above: Harp Seal (Pagophilus groenlandicus).

Above: Harbor Seal (Phoca vitulina).

Above: Bearded Seal (Erignathus barbatus).


Used for Audio

Encyclopedia Britannica, “Leviathan,” online at https://www.britannica.com/topic/Leviathan-Middle-Eastern-mythology.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/Fisheries, “Sounds in the Ocean,” online at https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/science-data/sounds-ocean; and “Passive Acoustic Research in the Atlantic Ocean,” online at https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/new-england-mid-atlantic/endangered-species-conservation/passive-acoustic-research-atlantic-ocean.

New World Encyclopedia, “Leviathan,” online at https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Leviathan.

Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (formerly Department of Game and Inland Fisheries), “Native and Naturalized Fauna in Virginia,” as of April 2018, online (as a PDF) at https://dwr.virginia.gov/wp-content/uploads/virginia-native-naturalized-species.pdf; and “Fish and Wildlife Information Service,” online at http://vafwis.org/fwis/?Title=VaFWIS+Species+Information+By+Name&vUT=Visitor.  Marine mammals are listed at this link.

For More Information about Marine Mammals

University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, “Animal Diversity Web,” online at https://animaldiversity.org.   Information on mammals specifically begins at https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Mammalia/.

Richard A. Blaylock, The Marine Mammals of Virginia, Virginia Sea Grant Publication VSG-85-05, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, 1985, online (as a PDF) at https://www.vims.edu/GreyLit/VIMS/EdSeries35.pdf.


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. 

Following are links to some other episodes on ocean organisms.

Atlantic Menhaden – Episode 128, 9-17-12.
Dolphins – Episode 542, 9-14-20.
Whales – Episode 399, 12-18-17. 


Following are some Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs) that may be supported by this episode’s audio/transcript, sources, or other information included in this post.

2020 Music SOLs

SOLs at various grade levels that call for “examining the relationship of music to the other fine arts and other fields of knowledge.”

2018 Science SOLs

Grades K-5 Living Systems and Processes
1.5 – Animals, including humans, have basic life needs that allow them to survive; including that animals have different physical characteristics that perform specific functions; and animals can be classified based on a variety of characteristics.
2.5 – Living things are part of a system.
3.4 – Adaptations allow organisms to satisfy life needs and respond to the environment.
3.5 – Aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems support a diversity of organisms.
4.2 – Plants and animals have structures that distinguish them from one another and play vital roles in their ability to survive.

Grades K-5 Earth and Space Systems
4.7 – The ocean environment has characteristics.

Grades K-5 Earth Resources
4.8 – Virginia has important natural resources.

Grade 6
6.9 – Humans impact the environment and individuals can influence public policy decisions related to energy and the environment.

Life Science
LS.6     – Populations in a biological community interact and are interdependent.
LS.8     – Ecosystems, communities, populations, and organisms are dynamic and change over time.
LS.9     – Relationships exist between ecosystem dynamics and human activity.

Earth Science
ES.10 – Oceans are complex, dynamic systems and are subject to long- and short-term variations.

BIO.8 – Dynamic equilibria occur within populations, communities, and ecosystems.

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

Following are links to Water Radio episodes (various topics) designed especially for certain K-12 grade levels.

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 333, 9-12-16
– on dissolved gases, especially dissolved oxygen in aquatic habitats, for 5th grade.
Episode 403, 1-15-18
– on freezing and ice, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.
Episode 404, 1-22-18
– on ice on ponds and lakes, for 4th through 8th grade.
Episode 406, 2-5-18
– on ice on rivers, for middle school.
Episode 407, 2-12-18
– on snow chemistry and physics, for high school.
Episode 483, 7-29-19
– on buoyancy and drag, for middle school and high school.
Episode 524, 5-11-20
– on sounds by water-related animals, for elementary school through high school.
Episode 531, 6-29-20
– on various ways that animals get water, for 3rd and 4th grade.
Episode 539, 8-24-20 – on basic numbers and facts about Virginia’s water resources, for 4th and 6th grade.