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TOEFL IBT Listening Practice Test 30 Solution & Transcripts

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TOEFL IBT Listening Practice Test 30 Solution & Transcripts

TRACK 65 TRANSCRIPT

Narrator

Listen to part of a lecture in a marine biology class.

Professor

I want to continue our discussion about whales. Specifically, today, um, I want to talk about whale migration—um, why whales head south for the winter. Or really why whales in the cold water of the Northern Hemisphere head south for the winter. Now, not all kinds of whales migrate, but most baleen whales do.

And interestingly enough, we still don’t really know why the baleen whales migrate. We do have several theories, however, which I’ll discuss today. Uh, can anybody name one reason why baleen whales might migrate south, to the warm tropical water?

Male student

Uh, for food? You know, the whales move to warmer water in order to find a good area to feed.

Professor

Good guess. That should be an obvious reason—after all, most animals that migrate do so for the purpose of finding food. But, uh, that doesn’t seem to be the case with baleen whales. To understand why, you need to know something about water temperature. There are a lot of technical reasons that I’m not going to go into right now. But let’s just say that nutrients don’t rise to the surface of tropical water like they do in other kinds of water. Tropical water simply never gets cold enough. So … well, what this means, uh, is that tropical water doesn’t have much of the plankton that most whales feed on.

Male student

I don t understand—if there’s no plankton, how do the whales survive through the winter?

Professor

Right. How do they survive? You see, they don’t have to eat anything, because they’ve stored up so much fat during the summer feeding season that they can just survive off of that. So if they don’t need to eat anything, we’re back to our original question. Why do baleen whales migrate? Any theories? No?

Well, there’s one idea out there that a lot of people believe. In fact, uh, you could say it’s the most popular theory we have about whale migration. Basically, the argument is that for baleen whales, migration is a kind of balancing act. Let me explain. On one hand, whales need to take advantage of the summer months by eating as much food as they can. And that’s what they can do best in the northern seas. This allows them to build up a lot of fat. But in the winter, food is scarce even in the north, so what the whales need to do is save energy. And that’s what migrating south can help them do .:. Amanda, you have a question?

Female student

Yes. Um, the balancing-act theory doesn’t make sense to me. Maybe whales might need to save energy during the winter, but wouldn’t moving all the way down to tropics make them lose energy?

Professor

That’s a good point, and it’s one reason why this isn’t a perfect theory. It does cost the whales energy to migrate, but it’s easier for whales to save energy in warm water than it is to save energy in cold water, so there might still be, you know, a good reason to move south for the winter. OK?

Now, before moving on to the next chapter, I want to briefly discuss how the baleen whale manages to navigate. It’s pretty remarkable, because the whales manage to return to the same places year after year, and have to travel over an enormous area of ocean in order to do it. I mean, it’s not like whales can just look at a map right? So exactly how do they do it?

Well, a lot of experimental work still needs to be done, but we have been able to figure out at least three ways the baleen whale navigates without getting lost. The first is the ability to use Earth’s magnetic field like it was a map. That sounds strange, but we know that many birds use that method, use the magnetic field, and it’s possible that whales have the biological ability to do the same thing.

Another theory is that if they stay close to the coast, whales might be able to find familiar landmarks and use those as guides. But we don’t really know if a whale’s eyesight is good enough to be able to do that, so that’s not a perfect theory.

And finally, we know that many whales make very loud sounds that can travel literally hundreds of miles underwater. Through a process called écholocation, it’s possible that these whales hear the sounds bounce off of islands or other pieces of land and use those echoes as clues to help them find their way.

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TRACK 68 TRANSCRIPT.

Narrator

Listen to a conversation between a student and a professor.

Student

Hi, uh … Professor Anderson … wondering if you had a couple minutes …

Professor

Of course, Paula …

Student

Thanks … uh, you sent me a letter recently about doing, uh, an honors project—inviting me to come in and talk about…

Professor

Right, right, well, as your academic advisor, it’s my job to look out for your academic interests, and based on your grades, and some very positive feedback I’ve heard from your professors, I wanted to formally invite you to consider doing an honors project…

Yeah … well, thanks … uh, actually I kinda wanted to ask you … quite frankly—like how much work it would probably be? I mean, I’m gonna be spending a lot of time applying to law schools next semester and …

Professor

Well, let me tell you how it works … and then you can decide from there.

Student

OK.

Professor

Basically, the honors project is an opportunity to do … some in-depth work on a topic you’re interested in before graduating college. You register for the class, but it doesn’t work the same way a regular class does—you find a professor who you want to work with—you ask the professor—a sort of mentor who’s knowledgeable on the topic you’re interested in—the topic you’re gonna write your honors thesis on …

Student

Writing a thesis? That’s part of the project? Ah, like how many pages are we talking?

Professor

Usually about 50 … but it’s a valuable experience, writing a thesis paper.

Student

So, basically, after I register for the class, I need to ask a professor who’ll sorta help me…

Professor

Actually, you need to do that—a professor needs to agree to oversee your honors project—before you register.

Student

Oh, OK . ..

Professor

I mean, I know it sounds kinda daunting, but that’s what the professor’s there for—to help guide you through the different steps of the process and … uh … most stu¬dents are very pleased with the experience … they’re able to demonstrate advanced research skills, which is important; especially in your case, writing an honors thesis would be a big plus …

Student

You think so?

Professor

Absolutely. Especially considering your plans, since you’re applying to law schools. It shows initiative, that you’ve done well as an undergraduate—to be allowed to do the honors project… that you’re able to work independently and, of course, you would graduate with honors …

Student

Yeah, it does sound good—it’s just, you know, I’ve never written something like that before, so …

Professor

Well, you choose something you’re interested in—maybe you can even expand a shorter research paper from another class or …

Student

So, like, maybe … You know, I took this course from Professor Connelly—his course on Comparative Governments last semester and, uh … did pretty well I wrote a paper actually, on political parties in Venezuela and—and he seemed to like my research. Anyway, he, uh, I got an A in the course.

Professor

Good, so it sounds like you do have a general idea for a topic, and you might know what professor you want to work with … and look, it’s still a couple weeks before registration, maybe you should talk to Professor Connelly and then get back to me.

Student

Yeah, I will—thanks. I’ll come by again sometime next week.

Professor

That’s fine. Good luck.

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