This week, from the archives, whale communication and genetic modification. The first story is from beloved Terra Informer Natalee Rawat, who is taking a break from the show since she is moving to Vancouver! We wish you the best, Natalee! The next one is on geoengineering, from the Zero 2014 conference in Edmonton.
The Curious Case of the “Sea Canaries”
Beluga whales are sometimes called “sea canaries” or the “canaries of the sea” because of the various whistling, clucking and clicking sounds they make.
As a researcher, part of Dr. Valeria Vergara’s PhD thesis included recording belugas at the Vancouver Aquarium and deciphering their vocalizations. She found that beluga calves are similar to human babies in that they have to learn to make different calls. Dr. Vergara was able to identify and classify 28 distinct call types during her research, including a the “contact call” – the communication between a mother and her calf.
Terra Informa’s Natalee Rawat visited Dr. Vergara last November at the Vancouver Aquarium to talk about this curious marine mammal. The Vancouver Aquarium is currently highlighting Canada’s north in their feature, ‘Celebrate Arctic’. For more info visit, vanaqua.org.
Chris Turner on Geoengineering
A few years ago, the United Nations panel studying climate change decided they would tackle a controversial topic. Geoengineering is the deliberate large-scale manipulation of the planetary environment. And many people want to talk about geoengineering our way out of the climate change crisis. Calgary-based author Chris Turner writes about technology and sustainability. His books showcase some of the exciting ways that communities around the world are already taking on climate change. When we ran into Chris at the Zero 2014 Conference in Edmonton, we had to ask him what he thought about geoengineering and if there were better ways to take on the climate crisis.
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Image credit to Tony Fox.