Maya Yamato, 2010 Joint Program Student
Due to the ever-increasing levels of noise in our oceans from shipping traffic, seismic exploration, underwater oil drilling, and military sonar, the impacts of man-made noise on marine animals have become a developing source of concern among scientists, governments, and the popular press. At particular risk are baleen whales, which include several endangered species such as the blue whale and the North Atlantic right whale. However, it is difficult to create protective legislation because little is known about their hearing ranges or sensitivities. Maya's OLI supported research focuses on advancing our understanding of the auditory system of baleen whales through dissection of whale heads, modeling sound propagation through various head tissues, biochemical analysis of tissues within the whale head, and histological studies of inner ear structures.