Thursday, June 26, 2008

canyoning off Rotto

The beautiful island gets a passing mention in this science story about whales.

A Curtin boffin has devoted 20 years listening to whale songs. “I recognise about 10 per cent of what I hear, but I don’t often know exactly what its specific purpose kight be,” he said.

“Whale songs are incredibly complex, and there is a vast amount to learn. Humpbacks are probably the best known. They have a song and they change it each year.”

The boffin has devices called loggers to detect the songs: some are in the Perth Canyon, near Rottnest.

The Perth Canyon? It’s west of Rotto and “forms a deep indentation lying across the continental shelf. It is believed to have been formed by submarine flows from the out flow of the Swan River. It is believed that under certain conditions the Canyon influences the local oceanography of the region such as to favour high productivity about the Canyon, which supports a large biomass of small krill, which in turn sustain the blue whales.”

Click here to see a map of the Canyon.

Our unscientific view: whales, like dolphins, are hard to put in a logo. Perhaps even harder?

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