January 10, 2013

Robot helps protect rare whales in Gulf of Maine

The Associated Press

FALMOUTH, Mass. — Two torpedo-shaped marine robots have been busy detecting, and protecting, rare North Atlantic right whales in the Gulf of Maine.

The robots, called gliders, were deployed by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution researchers between mid-November and early December.

The gliders have acoustic monitoring instruments that help detect calls from four species of baleen whales, including right whales. On the recent deployment, the gliders found nine right whales, leading regulators to request a voluntary speed restriction to prevent ships from striking the whales.

Traditional whale detection methods include human surveys from ships or planes. But the robot gliders don't need good weather to work and they can "see" underwater.

Their mobility is also an advantage over an existing system that uses underwater microphones placed on buoys near a shipping lane into Boston to listen for whales.

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors




Further Discussion

Here at OnlineSentinel.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)