Melting ice opens new predation ground for killer whales as they spend more time in previously neglected territory

Media Contact:
Larry Frum
AIP Media
301-209-3090
media@aip.org

SEATTLE, December 2, 2021 – Killer whales are intelligent, adaptive predators, often teaming up to take down larger prey. Continuous reduction in sea ice in the Arctic Ocean is opening areas to increased killer whale dwelling and predation, potentially creating an ecological imbalance.

During the 181st Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, which will be held Nov. 29 to Dec. 3, Brynn Kimber, from the University of Washington, will discuss how killer whales have spent more time than previously recorded in the Arctic, following the decrease in sea ice. The talk, “Tracking killer whale movements in the Alaskan Artic relative to a loss of sea ice,” will take place Thursday, Dec. 2, at 5:35 p.m. Eastern U.S.

Killer whales will often traverse to different areas to target varieties of prey. In a study including eight years of passive acoustic data, Kimber and their team monitored killer whale movements using acoustic tools, finding killer whales are spending more time than previously recorded in the Arctic Ocean, despite risks of ice entrapment there. Their readings indicate this change is directly following the decrease in sea ice in the area.

“It’s not necessarily that killer whales haven’t been reported in these areas before, but that they appear to be remaining in the area for longer periods of time,” said Kimber. “This is likely in response to a longer open water season.”

The reduction in sea ice may have opened new hunting opportunities for killer whales if certain species of prey are unable to use the ice to avoid the highly adaptive predator. For example, the endangered bowhead whale is vulnerable to predation by killer whales, likely to increase due to longer open water seasons.

“Although there is high spatial and interannual variability, the September Arctic sea ice minimum is declining at an average rate of 13% per decade, when compared to values from 1981 to 2010,” said Kimber. “Killer whales are being observed in the Chukchi Sea (in the Arctic Ocean) in months that were historically ice covered and more consistently throughout the summer.”

———————– MORE MEETING INFORMATION ———————–
USEFUL LINKS
Main meeting website: https://acousticalsociety.org/asa-meetings/
Technical program: https://eventpilotadmin.com/web/planner.php?id=ASAFALL21
Press Room: https://acoustics.org/world-wide-press-room/

WORLDWIDE PRESS ROOM
In the coming weeks, ASA’s Worldwide Press Room will be updated with additional tips on dozens of newsworthy stories and with lay language papers, which are 300 to 500 word summaries of presentations written by scientists for a general audience and accompanied by photos, audio and video. You can visit the site during the meeting at https://acoustics.org/world-wide-press-room/.

PRESS REGISTRATION
We will grant free registration to credentialed journalists and professional freelance journalists. If you are a reporter and would like to attend, contact AIP Media Services at media@aip.org. For urgent requests, staff at media@aip.org can also help with setting up interviews and obtaining images, sound clips, or background information.

ABOUT THE ACOUSTICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA
The Acoustical Society of America (ASA) is the premier international scientific society in acoustics devoted to the science and technology of sound. Its 7,000 members worldwide represent a broad spectrum of the study of acoustics. ASA publications include The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America (the world’s leading journal on acoustics), JASA Express Letters, Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics, Acoustics Today magazine, books, and standards on acoustics. The society also holds two major scientific meetings each year. See https://acousticalsociety.org/.

Past Press Releases

Offshore Wind Farms Could Disturb Marine Mammal Behavior

As the number and size of offshore turbines increase, so does the possible disruption to aquatic life.Media Contact:Larry FrumAIP Media301-209-3090media@aip.org DENVER, May 26, 2022 – When an offshore wind farm pops up, there is a period of noisy but well-studied and...

Explosions Help Probe Elusive Atmospheric Waves

Infrasound pulses from munitions plant explosions used to study gravity waves, atmospheric eventsMedia Contact: Larry Frum AIP Media 301-209-3090 media@aip.org DENVER, May 25, 2022 – Infrasound waves can probe some of the most complex weather patterns hidden to normal...

Snap, Crackle, Pop: Healthy Coral Reefs Brimming with Noise

Monitoring their soundscape can provide a long term, nonintrusive, inexpensive method for tracking the state of reefs around the worldMedia Contact:Larry FrumAIP Media301-209-3090media@aip.org DENVER, May 25, 2022 – A healthy coral reef is loud. Like a busy city, the...

Turning Hearing Aids into Noise-Canceling Devices

Assistive listening devices can filter out noise from loudspeakers, improving clarityMedia Contact: Larry Frum AIP Media 301-209-3090 media@aip.org DENVER, May 25, 2022 – People with hearing aids and other assistive listening devices often struggle at crowded events,...

On Mars, NASA’s Perseverance Rover’s Playlist Like No Other

Microphones on the rover capture, characterize sounds from red planet's atmosphereMedia Contact: Larry Frum AIP Media 301-209-3090 media@aip.org DENVER, May 25, 2022 – Since NASA's Perseverance rover landed on Mars, its two microphones have recorded hours of audio...

Going Virtual Hurts Student Career Prospects

Students less likely to engage with virtual networking events, increasing turnover, burnoutMedia Contact:Larry FrumAIP Media301-209-3090media@aip.org DENVER, May 24, 2022 – As in-person scientific meetings and gathering have been replaced by virtual meetings during...

Ultrasound-Assisted Laser Technique Vaporizes Artery Plaque

Method avoids complications from using high-power lasers, extends to other medical applicationsMedia Contact:Larry FrumAIP Media301-209-3090media@aip.org DENVER, May 24, 2022 – Atherosclerosis, a buildup of plaque, can lead to heart disease, artery disease, and...

Listening Can Be Exhausting for Older Cochlear Implant Users

Aging effects on listening effort in cochlear-implant usersMedia Contact:Larry FrumAIP Media301-209-3090media@aip.org DENVER, May 24, 2022 – Degraded acoustic signals can make hearing difficult for anyone, but differences in cognitive abilities, age-related changes,...

Diverse Social Networks Reduce Accent Judgments

Perception in context: How racialized identities impact speech perceptionMedia Contact:Larry FrumAIP Media301-209-3090media@aip.org DENVER, May 24, 2022 – Everyone has an accent. But the intelligibility of speech doesn't just depend on that accent; it also depends on...

Sidekick Microbubbles Carry Anti-Cancer Drugs, Damage Tumor Vessels

Ultrasound-stimulated, drug-loaded bubbles for cancer therapyMedia Contact:Larry FrumAIP Media301-209-3090media@aip.org DENVER, May 24, 2022 – Microbubbles can assist with localized drug delivery in a patient's body by popping at a target site to create enhanced...

Share This