Humpback Whale Acoustics Research


DISCOVERY Yacht Blue Pearl
Southeast Alaska
August 7-17, 2021

SeaKeepers recently facilitated a multi-discipline research expedition centered around humpback whale acoustics and vocalizations. The expedition took place over ten days in August, in Southeast Alaska aboard the DISCOVERY Yacht, Blue Pearl, a 65' Fleming owned and operated by Don and Denise Bermant. The scientists leading the expedition were Dr. Fred Sharpe of the Alaska Whale Foundation, Dr. Brenda McCowen of UC Davis, and Dr. Jim Crutchfield also of UC Davis. The P.I. of this project is Dr. Laurance Doyle of SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence). However, he was unable to attend this leg of the project.

As we made our way through Chatham Strait, a narrow passage of the Alexander Archipelago, we came to the village of Angoon where we encountered a big pod of humpback whales (we estimated about 9). While there, we lowered a hydrophone (underwater microphone) in the water and listened, observed, and recorded all the vocalizations and sounds made by the whales. Eventually, these sounds would be played back to the whales with the goal of seeing how they respond, which in turn will help decode their language. Eventually, this kind of research will not only help us understand non-human intelligent communication here on Earth but it can also be applied to decoding and understanding potential extra-terrestrial communications.

Partner Sites
Alaska Whale Foundation
UC Davis
Global Marine Travel

Expedition Gallery