Listen: Scientists record humpback whales singing off New York

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Using underwater recording equipment, scientists have documented humpback whales singing in the New York Bight.

Scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Society, Cornell University, Columbia University and Syracuse University released some of the audio on Monday.

Though visual sightings of humpback whales in the New York Bight have increased in recent years, this finding marks the first peer-reviewed account of the acoustic sounds of humpback whales in the area.

The scientists published their results in the journal "Marine Mammal Science."

"By listening for humpback whales in waters off New York, we found exciting evidence of humpback whale presence in winter and spring, which emphasizes both the conservation needs for this area and the many questions we still have about humpback whale occurrence in this habitat," Julia Zeh, the study's lead author said.

The team detected both humpback whale songs and calls using Cornell's passive acoustic recorders placed on the seafloor 70 miles south of Long Island.

The findings will help inform future conservation efforts to protect whales in one of the world's busiest waterways.

"There has been considerable recent interest about whales in the waters off New York," co-author Howard Rosenbaum of WCS's Ocean Giants Program said. "The more we know about how and when whales use these areas, the more we can make informed decisions on how to better protect them in some of the busiest commercial waters on the planet."

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