The calls are used to keep in contact,

The need to
communicate is felt throughout all organisms. Coffee shops, malls, restaurants,
and super markets are just some examples of conversation being present in day
to day life. Some people assume that conversations and communication stops with
people, which is incorrect. Conversation doesn’t stop at the shore either, it
can be heard by birds in the sky or whales in the ocean. In the ocean whales
use three types of sounds to communicate, clicks whistles and pulsed calls are
used to keep in contact, sense danger, find food and signal to other
whales. 

            Clicks
are used by every species of whale but each species has its own unique click.
Clicks are used by whales to navigate the waters through a process that
scientist named echolocation. “Whales are able to get their sounds to travel
for miles as the sound waves move along in the water and get more power from
bouncing off what is found in it. Then the sound will echo back to the whale
that sent it.” (www.whale-world.com/whale-communication/) Echolocation is estimated to move at a mile per second allowing the
whales to navigate the ocean with ease. In addition to navigation echolocation
through clicks is used by all species to find food.   

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Clicks not only vary
by species but in some cases even the individual whale has its own clicking
pattern and frequency “A functional bio sonar system requires clicks of high
source level to detect and classify prey at ranges that allow the animal to
find sufficient  (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3665716/ ) . The height and directionality of the whale’s frequency is
determined by the whale’s size. A smaller whale has to compensate for its size
with the level of its pitch, so for its echolocation to span as far as that of
a larger whale the smaller whale has to have a higher pitch to achieve the same
distance.  Along with finding food the
different clicks are used for social interaction between the whales, for mating
and identifying predators.

A whale’s
main source of communication though is through calls or pulsed calls. These are
signals with “discrete patterns that can be recognized by ear or by spectrogram”.

Orca Communication


Dr. John Ford conducted an experiment in which he categorized the varying call
types for the orcas found in the Washington state and British Columbia area. He
discovered that each pod, which is a group of whales, has its own collection of
calls which he calls their dialect. Dr Ford then defined even larger acoustic
groups or clans by grouping together pods which share common calls. Only pods
which share common calls are apart of the specific clans.  Even when grouped into clans the calls still have a sense of
individuality, which aids scientist when identifying whales without visual
contact. Although there is differentiation
between whale pods when it comes to call types these difference do not seem to prevent
the various maternal groups and pods within a community from coming together
and socializing. Although we know these pulsed calls are used as communication
devices as wells as a way to keep track of each other over such a large
distance, the true science behind their communication is still somewhat of a
mystery.

Pulsed calls are a crucial to a whale’s survival. If the
whales are not able to stay in contact they are not able to warn each other
about predators, mate, or find each other in the large ocean. Pollution is a
frequent topic of conversation because of the abundance of problems it is
causing the people and animals on land and in the ocean. “There is increasing
evidence to suggest that noise pollution from modern shipping, military sonar
activity and leisure boats is having an adverse effect on the way whales
communicate and how they act. Although many whale calls are too low for the
human ear to pick up, most human noise pollution on the seas is at a similar ambient
noise level to that used by whales to communicate, causing possible confusion
to the animal as it navigates or looks for a mate.” http://www.nationalgeographic.com.au/science/blue-whales-and-communication.aspx
 These communication barrier is causing
such an impact on the whales that these whales are being forced to devolve and
find other means of survival. “Scientists at Cornell University in the US, who
undertook a study into the effects of noise pollution on Blue Whales believe
that twenty to twenty-five million years of evolution are being undone in a
hundred years thanks to increased noise pollution from humans.” http://www.nationalgeographic.com.au/science/blue-whales-and-communication.aspx
Since the mass increase in the production of pollutions in the nineteen forties
studies show that whales have gone from being able to hear a thousand miles
away to one hundred miles away. Other studies have come to the conclusion that “whale
species such as the Right Whale communicate at frequencies two thirds of an
octave higher than they did a century ago, possibly as way to combat and
communicate above the din of ocean noise pollution”. http://www.nationalgeographic.com.au/science/blue-whales-and-communication.aspx
These factors have already landed the whales a spot on the endangered species
list and if the pollution levels keep continuing to rise the whales are at a
high risk to become extinct in the near future.

The
most widely known and simple communication between the whales are their songs.

Whale songs are a string of patterns and vibrations that
resemble the notes of a song. These songs are seen used by both the humpback
and the blue whale although it it primarily seen in males when mating. The male
whales use their songs to not only seduce the female whales but to compete with other males for the same
female. “For those that sing in the
mating season it is believed that these songs communicate health, youthfulness and
fitness to the female and helps attract a mating partner.” http://www.whalefacts.org/what-is-a-whale-song/  In conjunction to mating, whale songs are
also used to express loneliness as well as hunger. These emotions cause the
song to take on a completely different tone and frequency allowing the scientists
to create an in depth understanding of the whale’s patterns, emotions, and
natural habitat. “Surprisingly researchers
have noted that at any given moment all males in a group will sing
the same version of a song, even when separated over large distances,
while whales in another region or hemisphere will sing a completely different
song, but in unison with other whales in their area.” http://www.whalefacts.org/what-is-a-whale-song/
This fact relates back to clicking which can also be separated into pods and
clans and used through the ocean.

            Whales like humans have found many ways to communicate.
Clicks, calls, and songs have all proved as effective ways to express their
feelings, needs, and keep them safe. Whales, much like humans, have different
dialects which can compare to the way humans have different languages. Even
though the dialect may be different it doesn’t stop the whales from coming
together to form a community.