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Originally posted by djohnsto77
Whales have been known to beach themselves in large numbers before any sonar or other suspect technologies. There's no reason to jump to the conclusion that this is not a natural occurrence.
Mass whale beachings do occur naturally amongst many species and in fact the frequency and size of beachings around the world, recorded over the last 1000 years in religious tracts and more recently in scientific surveys, has been used to estimate the changing population size of various whale species by assuming that the proportion of the total whale population beaching in any one year is constant. Despite the concerns raised about sonar which may invalidate this assumption, this population estimate technique is still popular today.
-The new research from the Canary Islands suggests two possible ways in which the whales could be harmed by the gas bubbles. One is similar to how humans get the bends: that the whales panic at the sound of the loud sonar noises and rise too quickly from deep water. As they rise, nitrogen bubbles can be formed from the rapid change in pressure and cause the bends.
The other hypothesis involves bubble formation caused directly by the sonar on gas nuclei, or bubble "precursors," in whale tissues already highly saturated with nitrogen.
-We know there is a connection between military sonar and strandings, and now we're making progress on the physical mechanism causing them, said Joel Reynolds, an attorney with the National Resources Defense Council, which sued the government over the low-frequency sonar. This is very compelling scientific evidence.
Originally posted by Jehosephat
I thought the bends was created by expanding gas used by scuba divers? whales don't need scuba equpiment and get all thier air at sea level, not at multiple atmospheres of water pressure.
Could easily be casued by stress or maybe even shark attacks
High-powered sonar from Navy ships appears to be giving whales and other marine mammals a version of the bends, causing them to develop dangerous gas bubbles in some vital organs and blood vessels, to beach themselves and die, according to a study published today in the journal Nature.
Reporting on beaked whales that were stranded in the Canary Islands soon after an international naval exercise last year, researchers for the first time found a condition similar to decompression sickness in 10 of 14 dead animals.
The new data begins to explain how and why high decibel mid-frequency sonar used by the U.S. Navy and other military fleets appears to cause some deep-diving marine mammals to die. Although the bends was previously unheard of in whales, dolphins and porpoises, the British and Spanish researchers concluded that nitrogen bubbles in the whales' tissue was "the most likely cause" of the Canary Island strandings.
Originally posted by djohnsto77
Do you have any evidence that these whales were exposed to any man-made sonar?
Military Sonar May Give Whales the Bends, Study Says
for National Geographic News
October 8, 2003
Undersea noise from naval exercises appears to give beaked whales the bends, an ailment most commonly associated with scuba divers who rise to the ocean surface too quickly, according to a new study.
The finding comes from autopsies performed on beaked whales that stranded themselves on beaches in the Canary Islands four hours after military sonar activities commenced there September 24, 2002. The research is reported in the October 9 issue of Nature.
Whale Strandings Point to Navy Sonar Testing
Data collected by Earthwatch-supported scientist Ken Balcomb may yield concrete evidence linking sonar testing to the stranding of 16 cetaceans in the Bahamas.
The Bahamas Thanks to quick action by researchers Ken Balcomb and Diane Claridge and their Earthwatch team, they recorded the strandings of 16 cetaceans, and were able to gather what may prove to be vital data in one of the largest controversies now being debated. The controversy involves testing by the United States Navy of a new very-low-frequency, very loud sonar that they hope will allow them to detect a new generation of extremely quiet submarines. Low frequency active sonar (LFAS) travels far underwater, but to do so, it requires pulses of sound exponentially louder (235 decibels) than marine mammals normally hear. Therein lies the controversy. Environmentalists and many scientists are concerned that such loud sounds could damage or disorient whales and dolphins. The navy, which so far has spent $350 million on the system, contends that it has tested the process for just this concern, and found no effect.
Balcomb’s data may help resolve the question. The navy conducted tests of the controversial sonar in the Bahamas on March 15th, and that day and the next, Balcomb and his crew found or learned of 16 cetaceans of four different species that had beached themselves on three different islands. Rescuers were able to save all but seven of the animals, and, from six that died, Balcomb and Claridge were able to collect fresh tissue samples, including their sensitive earbones, which can help determine the cause of the beachings.
Scientists and National Park Service workers were working Sunday to collect samples and clean up whale carcasses after 34 of the marine mammals beached themselves and either died or had to be euthanized.
Dozens of whales beached themselves early Saturday along a five-mile stretch of coastline near Oregon Inlet, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said. Twenty-four pilot whales died, and another seven were euthanized because they were suffering, the National Park Service reported.
A single minke whale was found dead in Corolla, the Virginian-Pilot reported. Two pygmy sperm whales turned up Sunday morning near Buxton one already dead, and one so sick that it also had to be euthanized, NOAA Fisheries biologist Barbie Byrd said.
"We're hoping that this is all of them," she said.
Research shows cyclical westerly and southerly winds pushed sub-Antarctic waters north, drawing colder, nutrient-rich waters needed by whales and dolphins closer to the surface.