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Listen: Hear humpback whales sing at Hervey Bay!

Add a new dimension to your whale watching experience by visiting Hervey Bay in September – it’s the best time to hear humpback whales sing.

Pacific Whale Foundation senior research biologist Stephanie Stack said only mature whales sang and this month was when most started arriving in Hervey Bay for their migratory stopover.

She said songs would typically last for about 20 minutes but individual whales might sing incomplete songs or repeat songs several times. 

Humpback whales can sing for hours on end. Singers will surface every 10 to 20 minutes and keep singing with only short pauses to breathe,” Ms Stack said.

“Songs have a hierarchical organization with ‘units’ building into ‘phrases’ which, in turn, form ‘themes’ which, together, comprise the song.”

She said there was no consensus in the scientific community about the function of whale songs but communicating underwater was challenging.

“Light and smells don’t travel well but sound moves about four times faster in water than in air, which means marine mammals often use sounds to communicate,” Ms Stack explained.

“Most song occurs in breeding areas, but song has also been recorded along migration routes and even occasionally in feeding areas.”

Ms Stack said there were several theories about the purpose of humpback whale song including attracting females to individual singers or a group and communicating with other mature whales for dominance or cooperation.

“Female humpbacks rarely approach singing males, suggesting the song may represent a form of male-male acoustic display,” Ms Stack said.

She said noise pollution was a growing concern for researchers.

“Increasing noise in the ocean could cause a disruption of natural whale behaviour such as feeding, mating and communication.”

Pacific Whale Foundation researchers using underwater microphones, known as hydrophones, have recorded rare white humpback whale Migaloo singing in Hervey Bay.

“Some mature males may arrive early while others may remain longer, meaning song could potentially be heard in Hervey Bay at any point during the season.”

tin can bay

Hand feed wild dolphins at Tin Can Bay

THE seaside town of Tin Can Bay is one of Queensland’s best kept secrets — even wild dolphins like to keep it to themselves, patiently waiting to be hand-fed near the boat ramp every morning.

Just a 90-minute drive north of Noosa and south of World Heritage Fraser Island, the fishing and boating paradise is a haven for those looking for some quiet R & R.

The area is in the midst of the Great Sandy Region that UNESCO awarded Biosphere Reserve status in 2009, putting it in the same class as the Galapagos Islands, the Central Amazon, the Everglades and Uluru.

Read Jocelyn’s blog

tin can bay

Tin Can Bay’s superb climate is sunny most of the year, averaging 24 degrees Celsius with minimal humidity.

tin can bay

tin can bay

Tin Can Inlet provides calm waters for recreational boating and fishing.

tin can bay

 

Expanding horizons on Fraser Island

FRASER ISLAND provided an ideal backdrop for talks on expanding horizons when more than 80 delegates from 36 institutions including 28 Australian and New Zealand universities met for a three-day forum.

The world-heritage-listed island is the largest sand island in the world and the only place on the planet where rain forest grows on sand!

Hosted by the University of Southern Queensland (USQ), the 10th annual Australasian Association for Institutional Research Special Interest Group (AAIR-SIG) Forum 2015 was themed ‘Expand your horizons’.

Held at Kingfisher Bay Resort from August 19 to 21, 2015, the forum brought together practitioners involved with business intelligence and data warehousing, load and revenue planning, government reporting, surveys and evaluation, quality and risk management.

fraser island

USQ Sustainable Business Management and Improvement (SBMI) Executive Director Steve Ivey (left), Fraser Coast Mayor Gerard O’Connell, USQ Fraser Coast Executive Manager Brett Langabeer and SBMI Strategic Information Systems Manager Togamau Te’o. [Contributed photo.]

Opening addresses by USQ Fraser Coast Executive Manager Brett Langabeer and Sustainable Business Management and Improvement (SBMI) Executive Director Steve Ivey highlighted the contributions the University was making to the local region.

Mr Ivey said keynote speaker Fraser Coast Mayor Gerard O’Connell focused on regional development, local communities and business opportunities linking those areas with the need of decision makers for better data and accurate analytics in support of decisions.

“By all accounts the event was highly successful with delegates having enjoyable few days at beautiful world-heritage-listed Fraser Island. They found the sessions rewarding and the overall experience enriching to them individually and their institutions,” Mr Ivey said.

“The forum program comprised of over 30 presentations, workshops and various interest group meetings as well informal networking activities.

“Discussions also covered data and information, issues, challenges and solutions in support of decision making in higher education institutions.”

-ENDS-

Feature photo: The Maheno washed ashore on Fraser Island during a cyclone in 1935 where the wreck remains as a popular tourist attraction.