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Visualizing the Underwater Behavior of Humpback Whales
July/August 2006 (vol. 26 no. 4)
pp. 14-18
Colin Ware, University of New Hampshire
Roland Arsenault, University of New Hampshire
Matthew Plumlee, University of New Hampshire
David Wiley, Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary
Until recently, scientists knew little about what whales did underwater. Studying the underwater behavior of marine mammals is difficult; light doesn?t travel far through water, and divers can?t keep within visual range of an animal capable of sustained speeds of 5 knots. Scientists can use sonar technologies to image marine mammals underwater, but sonar records provide only occasional brief glimpses of whales underwater. A new collaboration between visualization experts, engineers, and marine biologists has changed this. For the first time, we can see and study the foraging behavior of humpback whales. This is important not just for purely scientific reasons. Whales are dying because of ship collisions and entanglements with fishing gear in ever-increasing numbers. Understanding their behavior could lead to changes in shipping regulations or in the nature and deployment of fishing apparatus.

1. M.P. Johnson and P. Tyack, "A Digital Acoustic Recording Tag for Measuring the Response of Wild Marine Mammals to Sound," IEEE J. Oceanic Eng., vol. 28, no. 1, 2003, pp. 3–12.
2. R. Arsenault et al., "A System for Visualizing Time-Varying Oceanographic 3D Data," Proc. Oceans 2004, IEEE Press, 2004, pp. 743–747.

Index Terms:
whale behavior, GeoZui4D, geospatial data
Citation:
Colin Ware, Roland Arsenault, Matthew Plumlee, David Wiley, "Visualizing the Underwater Behavior of Humpback Whales," IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, vol. 26, no. 4, pp. 14-18, July-Aug. 2006, doi:10.1109/MCG.2006.93
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