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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.”

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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.

 

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Fraser Coast’s natural paradise

IF YOUR idea of a great holiday is really getting away from it all and relaxing in a natural paradise, then salvation is close at hand at Queensland’s Hervey Bay and neighbouring Fraser Island.

A three-hour drive or 40-minute flight north of Brisbane transports you into an official stress-free holiday zone, complete with sweeping golden beaches, safe swimming waters, aquatic adventures and an unspoiled island wilderness.

Hervey Bay’s endless choice of safe, warm swimming waters offers families the ideal aquatic playground.

Set along 20km of pristine calm-water beaches, the bay is a haven for swimming, sailing, boating, fishing, diving, water and jet skiing, windsurfing and snorkelling.

A wonderful holiday destination in its own right, Hervey Bay is also the gateway to the world’s largest sand island and nature lover’s paradise – Fraser Island.

The World Heritage-listed Fraser Island is an ecological masterpiece of giant sand dunes, rainforests, open beaches, freshwater streams and lakes and an exceptional range of unique flora and fauna.

For those looking for the ultimate island getaway, it is impossible to look past Kingfisher Bay resort where the days are spent lazing around the pool, sunning on the resort’s private stretch of sand, fishing from the jetty or messing about in boats.

At Kingfisher Bay, you can do as little or as much as you want, with choices ranging from superb dining and indulgent massages and spas, to guided nature hikes and picnics.

Kingfisher Bay also caters for kids of all ages, with two swimming pools and adventures such as fishing, canoeing, orienteering and night spotlighting around the resort.

To explore the island you can hire a four-wheel drive and take to the sand tracks on your own voyage of discovery. For those who want to sit back and have it all done for them, Kingfisher Bay Resort has an excellent range of daily ranger-guided four-wheel drive tours to choose from.

Once you have four wheels, the island is yours to explore. A good starting point is the superb white sandy beach stretching for 75 miles on the eastern side of the island.

This sweeping beach provides an endless horizon of sand fringed by the ocean and is home to some of the best surf fishing in Australia. Along the beach you will find one of the island’s most visited attractions – the wreck of the Maheno (formerly a World War II hospital ship) and the landmark rocky outcrops of Indian Head, Waddy Point and Middle Rocks.

Fraser Island has more than 100 lakes. The most popular for swimming and picnicking are spectacular lakes nestled at the edge of Hammerstone Sand Blow and the picture-perfect Basin Lake.

The contrasts on the island are breathtaking – from the stark contours of the huge sand blows to the clear fresh water creeks winding through ancient rainforests growing in sand.

PHOTO: Lake McKenzie, Fraser Island, by JOCELYN WATTS

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