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This Buoy Named Melville Has Been Tracking Whales Off N.J. for Months

Wednesday, November 30, 2016 7:59
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The recent high-profile sightings of whales that have been making a splash along the Jersey Shore and around New York City have come as no surprise to Melville the buoy.

The Wildlife Conservation Society and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute launched the buoy in June to serve as an underwater listening post for whale calls. Since then, Melville has been busy. 

Melville reported its first discovery – a fin whale – within days of being deployed. The device reported an endangered North American right whale on Oct. 26 and endangered sei whale on Oct. 31. The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute offers a real-time daily tracker of reports.

The buoy is located about 22 miles south of Fire Island and roughly 40 miles east of the Jersey Shore.

video released by the WCS earlier this month shows just how Melville works: it captures whale sounds and identifies the species — then communicates that information via satellite to the scientists on the shore.


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