WOODS HOLE, Mass. — Researchers using passive acoustic recordings of whale calls to track their movements have found that four of the six baleen whale species found in the western North Atlantic Ocean — humpback, sei, fin and blue whales — have changed their distribution patterns in the past decade. The recordings were made over 10 years by devices moored to the sea floor at nearly 300 locations from the Caribbean Sea to western Greenland.
A large group of federal, state and academic researchers from the United States and Canada conducted the study, published in the journal Global Change Biology.
“The Gulf of Maine, an important feeding ground for many baleen whale species, is warming faster than most places in the world, resulting in changes in distribution not only of marine mammals and fish but also for their prey,” said Genevieve Davis, a senior acoustician at the Northeast Fisheries Science Center in Woods Hole, Mass., and lead author of the study.