Questions for “Fin whales could help scientists map what lies below the seafloor”

fin whale

The song of the fin whale (one pictured) is among the loudest in the ocean. It’s powerful enough to penetrate Earth’s crust, scientists find.

wildestanimal/Moment/Getty Images

To accompany “Fin whales could help scientists map what lies below the seafloor


Before Reading:

1.  What are whale songs? List as many different species of whales as you can that “sing.”

2.  What equipment do scientists typically use to measure whale songs?

During Reading:

1.  What new trait of whale songs did Václav Kuna and John Nábělek just report?

2.  What were they looking for when they recorded the whale songs?

3.  What are seismometers? What are the seismic “echoes” that these seismometers can pick up?

4.  What useful information do scientists like Kuna and Nábělek get from seismic echoes?

5.  How loud can fin whale calls be? How many whales were recorded by the researchers in this study and how long did the whale serenades last?

6.  What did Kuna and Nábělek learn about the ocean floor using seismic echoes of the whale songs?

After Reading:

1.  Why do you think some whale songs are so loud? What advantage might that volume have for the individual or its pod?

2.  Describe what advantages you might foresee from using whale songs instead of air guns to “sound out” the structure of the seafloor? What disadvantages might there be to relying on whale songs?