This summer, a coalition of researchers led by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology reported the first-ever use of a fibre-optic cable network to eavesdrop on whales in the Arctic. Now they suggest these networks be used to establish a low-cost global ocean-earth observatory.
The Earth’s oceans are crisscrossed with roughly 1.2 million km of fibre optic telecommunication cables — enough to girdle the planet 30 times. Researchers have now succeeded in using fibre in a submarine cable as a passive listening system, enabling them to listen to and monitor whales.
Calanus finmarchicus makes up about 90 per cent of the bottom of the food chain in northern oceans, and is eaten by fish and baleen whales alike, but as the ocean becomes more acidic due to CO2 emissions, populations may decrease dramatically.
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