Wednesday, February 28th, 2007
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM (Program)
6:00 PM - 7:00 PM (Social - refreshments)
University of Washington, Seattle, Wash.
Room: N130A Seminar room, UW Bio-Engineering Building
Seattle IEEE/EMBS Society and UW EMBS Student Club present:
"Whales and SONAR"
Lecture will be presented by:
Center for Whale Research
For several decades there have been mass strandings of beaked whales coincident with
military SONAR operations in various parts of the world. This phenomenon was not considered alarming at first,
because of its rarity; but, by the late 1980ís a few scientists began to point out a
potential correlation and an apparent increase in incidents of SONAR/Stranding events.
A well documented SONAR/Stranding event involving Cuvierís beaked whales in Kyparissiakos Gulf,
Greece in 1996 provided good evidence of the sound pressure levels for low and mid-frequency
SONAR coincident with the stranding of twelve whales. However, no cause-effect conclusion was
drawn for lack of forensic evidence. In March, 2000 another stranding event involving Cuvierís
beaked whales and Blainvilleís beaked whales in the Bahamas coincident with
mid-frequency SONAR operations occurred; and, this event provided specimen material for analysis.
These whales suffered hemorrhage around the brain, ears and eyes, and in the vascular retia mirabilia
surrounding the spinal cord. A cause-effect conclusion was drawn from the evidence of this event,
but the mechanism of damage remained controversial. Subsequent SONAR/Stranding events of Cuvierís
beaked whales in the Canary Islands in 2003 and 2004 have provided additional specimen material
that sheds light on the mechanism of damage; but, perhaps because of the importance of SONAR operations,
the subject remains controversial.
A mid-frequency SONAR exercise in Washington State in 2003 provided evidence for similar behavioral
and traumatic effects on cetaceans other than beaked whales; but, that also remains controversial.
The evidence from these events will be presented and discussed.
Speaker Biography: Ken Balcomb Bio
Department of Bioengineering, N107 William H. Foege Building
1705 NE Pacific Street, Seattle, WA
Recommended parking in behind Health Sciences Bldg.,
accessible from 15th Ave. N.E., Entering into Gate 6 on Columbia Road for parking Pass.
The parking fee in the evening is $5.
For more information, contact: