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Image: Peter Flood

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An orca lies in the surf as people look at it.

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Newer sonar technology still a threat to whales

A magical sperm whale encounter

A study into the effects of newer underwater sonar technology has revealed that it is just as disruptive to whales as sonar used by the military.

Researchers at St. Andrews University, led by Professor Patrick Miller, looked at experiments on continuous sonar near Norway. Data from the new, continuous sonar was compared to data from traditional sonar.

Continuous sonar pulses are transmitted at lower level and spread out over longer durations. Although the newer technology was originally thought to potentially be less disruptive, this study did not find that to be the case. The whales stopped foraging for food no matter which type of sonar was used.

Underwater noise pollution is a threat to whales and dolphins because they live in a world of sound and rely on it for catching prey, communicating and navigation.

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