The PhD Student Who’s Recorded Over 125,000 Minutes of Whale Songs in 3 Years

by Owen James Burke


University of Aukland PhD student Rosalyn Putland listening to her favorite tunes. Photo: Jared Kibele

Rosalyn Putland has been collecting recordings of whale songs in New Zealand’s Hauraki Gulf for 3 years as part of her study. Using six hydrophones which she places on the sea floor, she records two of every twenty minutes, and hopes to have over 500,000 minutes by the end of this year.


One such song she has recorded is that of the Bryde’s whale, a critically endangered species which has only been recorded a handful of times throughout the world. Photo: Getty Images.

Putland’s goal in her research is to develop a hypothesis for when, where and why whales (and dolphins) use certain sounds when they do.

Her real reason for compiling the enormous set of data: “Sometimes there will be a great big smile across my face,” she told the New Zealand Herald, “and everyone around me in the lab will say, oh, you’re hearing dolphins again.”

Read more at the New Zealand Herald — OJB

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