The Italian Almanac


Italian News - April 20

It will be an especially loud mating season off Northern Italy's Ligurian coast where whales have hit a new frequency to make themselves heard over noise pollution.

For three years researchers with ICRAM, a research group of the Italian Ministry of the Environment and Cornell University, registered the songs of fin whales, finding that because of noise pollution in these Mediterranean waters mammals have been forced to take it up a notch.

"These are some of the noisiest waters in the world," said Fabrizio Bersani, head researcher at ICRAM. "Thanks to heavy traffic from merchant ships, the decibel levels have more than doubled since the 1980s."

The result? New, louder sounds capable of being heard above the din. Whales normally make two kinds of infra sounds, noises lower than humans can hear, one researchers called the classic note and one lower note. A new third note, the highest ever recorded, was discovered recently.