28 November 2005

The UQ School of Veterinary Science will resound with the haunting call of the world’s largest mammals this week when whale expert Dr Michael Noad presents the latest in his series of seminars “Revolution! The great humpback whale song change of ‘97”.

Dr Noad, a lecturer in Veterinary Anatomy, leads a team of researchers focusing on the humpback whale, trying to unravel the mystery of not only what the whales are singing about but why they sing in the first place.

“We still do not know enough about how the whales use sound. Once we know how and why the whales sing, then we can move onto predicting the impact of human developments such as the noise created by commercial shipping” Dr Noad said.

“Essentially we know a bit about humpback whale behaviour and the structure of song, but we still have little idea about how humpbacks use song to interact with each other and their environment,” he said.

“We know that humpbacks sing tightly structured, long and complex songs but they are only sung by the males and only in the breeding season”

The seminar will be held at the Veterinary Lecture Theatre, Seddon Building (UQ Map reference 82D) at The University of Queensland, St Lucia on Wednesday, November 30. The keynote speech will begin at 7.30pm.

Dr Noad’s keynote presentation will also be accompanied by informative presentations by Chris Dudgeon focusing on the leopard shark and Melinda Rekdahl who will speak about dolphin vocal repertoires. A general update on the activities of the Veterinary School will conclude the evening’s information.

Refreshments will be served following the seminar and have been kindly sponsored by the Tangalooma Wild Dolphin Resort. Further information about the seminar can be obtained by phoning the School of Veterinary Science during business hours on (07) 3365 2110 or via email: petdoc@uq.edu.au. Please RSVP for catering purposes.

Media inquiries: Susanne Schick - UQ Faculty of Natural Resources, Agriculture and Veterinary Science (5460 1229, 0409 265 587). Further information/comment: Contact Dr Michael Noad (3365 2088).