Profile: Kaitlyn Keller

Senior Publications Assistant, PLOS ONE

Kaitlyn joined in 2013 because of her desire to contribute to the open-access movement, along with her interest in research. She is originally from the Los Angeles area but moved north for school, where she graduated with a B.A. in Environmental Studies/Biology from UC Santa Cruz. There she developed an interest in Behavioral Ecology, which she hopes to pursue in the future in graduate school.

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Results: Fin Whales Hear with Their Skulls

Many of us have heard the haunting call of a whale ‘song,’ but how do the whales themselves hear sound? Similar to the way that animals see color in different ranges of the visible light spectrum, the mechanism by which they hear sound can also vary and in some cases is still not well understood. The authors of the recently published PLOS ONE article, “Fin Whale Sound Reception Mechanisms: Skull Vibration Enables Low-Frequency Hearing,” investigated how sound interacts with a fin whale’s skull. Specifically they looked at low-frequency sounds such as those used by whales, likely to communicate across long distances. The researchers obtained a whale skull after an unsuccessful attempt to rescue a beached newborn fin whale on Sunset Beach, Orange County, CA. They took a computed tomography (CT) scan of the skull and used it to construct a finite element model, which allowed them to simulate and make predications regarding the mechanism by which fin whales hear sound.

Category: Nature

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