Researchers have found a new way to study whales: they eavesdrop on them through fiber-optic cables on the ocean floor.
It is not easy to observe whales, just because they travel vast distances. In addition to ordinary old-fashioned boats and binoculars, a huge amount of high-tech equipment is used for this. But even then, it is difficult to track the animals. This should get easier now, simply with the current fiber optic network.
A special device makes a connection with the existing cables. The unused fibers in this cable are then used as an underwater microphone. They actually managed to locate 830 whales in this way and because the listening area via cables is much larger than if you had a microphone at some point, they can be followed up more accurately.
They now want to make sure that this will also be possible in real time. And the great thing is that earthquakes, storms, and ships can also be monitored in this way. Among other things, this can ensure that it will be immediately heard when the boat is on its way towards a group of whales.
Read more: Tapping whales in the high arctic†
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