Right whales are surface feeders that inhabit shallow areas close to shore, easily subjecting them to ship collisions, or “ship strikes.” Their niche also made them easy prey for commercial whalers, so currently there are exceedingly few right whales.
Cousins to the Bowhead whales, many of their calls are in the range of human hearing. Their moans and whelps suggest elephants, and the North Atlantic males produce a “gunshot” sound, so sound recordings could be mistaken for an elephant hunt.
That these animals are rare and threatened has brought a lot of focus to their preservation. This has facilitated the development of a fabulous monitoring program in the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary designed, installed, and managed by Chris Clark’s lab (Cornell). Much is being learned about the whales, but also about shipping noise and masking models.
For E. glacialis: biscayensis (Eschricht, 1860), nordcaper (Lacepede, 1804)
For E. japonica: sieboldii (Gray, 1864)
Greenland whale, the black whale, the great whale, the true whale
Discovery of Sound in the Sea: North Atlantic Right Whale
Arkive.org: Southern Right Whale
Arkive.org: North Atlantic Right Whale
NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries: On the Trail of the Northern Right Whale
Southern Right Whales of South Australia
Mellinger, D.K., Stafford, K.M., Moore, S.E., Munger, L. and Fox, C.G. 2004. Detection of North Pacific right whale (Eubalaena japonica) calls in the Gulf of Alaska. Marine Mammal Science 20(4): 872-879.
Parks, S.E. 2003. Response of North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis) to playback of calls recorded from surface active groups in both the North and South Atlantic. Marine Mammal Science 19(3): 563-580.
Matthews, J. N., Brown, S., Gillespie, D., Johnson, M., McLanaghan, R., Moscrop, A., Nowacek, D., Leaper, R., Lewis, T. and Tyack, P. 2001. Vocalisation rates of the North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis). Journal of Cetacean Research and Management 3(3): 271-282.
McDonald, M.A. and Moore, S.E. 2002. Calls recorded from North Pacific right whales (Eubalaena japonica) in the eastern Bering Sea. Journal of Cetacean Research and Management 4(3): 261-266.
Richardson, W.J., Green, C.R. Jr., Malme, C.I. and Thomson, D.H. 1995. Marine Mammals and Noise. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
Vanderlaan, A.S.M., Hay, A.E. and Taggart, C.T. 2003. Characterization of North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) sounds in the Bay of Fundy. IEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering 28(2): 164-173.