Scientists studying whales, sonar

July 2, 2008 2:26:23 PM PDT
Scientists are surveying, tagging and tracking whales during large-scale naval exercises off Hawaii in a first-of-its-kind effort to monitor how sonar affects the animals. Scientists have been studying whales and how sound affects them for years. But this is the first time such studies have been done during a major U.S. Navy exercise.

Beaked whales, believed to be the species most vulnerable to sonar, are among the targets of the research.

Scientists will attach tags to the animals and monitor how they respond to naval ships emitting sonar during submarine hunting drills.

The Navy is holding biennial Rim of the Pacific exercises in waters off Hawaii this month. The navies of 10 countries, including Japan and Australia, are participating.

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