Prepping the buoy for deployment. Courtesy of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.


Scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Society New York Aquarium and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution have deployed a giant microphone just beyond New York harbor to record and study whale song.

The specialized buoy, located about 22 miles south of Fire Island’s western end in the New York Bight, carries a hydrophone that can record and process underwater sounds.

New monitoring system launched by WCS’ New York Aquarium and Woods Hole Oceanographic in New York Bight. Courtesy of Wildlife Conservation Society


New York Bight is home to seven species of great whales – including humpback whales, blue whales and the endangered North Atlantic right whale.


WHOI: “This technology allows us to monitor the presence of several species of baleen whales in near real-time, and to use that knowledge to better study and protect these endangered species in the extremely busy waters of the New York Bight,” said [WHOI’s Dr. Mark Baumgartner, a marine ecologist].

“The acoustic buoy data will help us to better understand when and where whales are present in New York’s waters, particularly in those places where we have little information on how whales are affected by ship traffic and ocean noise,” said Dr. Howard Rosenbaum, Director of WCS’s Ocean Giants Program and co-lead of the joint WCS New York Aquarium-WHOI project. Read more from WHOI here…

posted by Mai Armstrong for the Working Harbor Committee