[MARMAM] New publications concerning humpback whale song

Leslie Walsh lelquest at gmail.com
Thu Nov 18 11:52:34 PST 2010


I am please to announce that the following paper is now published. PDF
copies are available from me upon request at the following email address:
lelquest at gmail.com.

Wright, A.J. & Walsh, L.A. 2010. Mind the gap: why neurological plasticity
may explain seasonal interruption in humpback whale song. Journal of the
Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 2010, 90(8), 1489–1491

The abstract is as follows.

Much is unknown about humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) song. The
behaviour is limited almost exclusively to
males, occurs almost exclusively on the calving grounds and is identical
within a population, although it changes periodically
throughout the season. Much of current thinking associates humpback whale
song with breeding, although it is not clear if it is
intended to attract a mate, fend off challengers, or a combination of the
two. There is, however, very little information on the
internal biology of these large, sea-going mammals, so the majority of
hypotheses have not considered much in the way of
physiological mechanisms. Nonetheless, we believe that there is enough
information available to infer that a seasonal
process of neurological development and atrophy similar to that found in
other animals may be present in humpback
whales. We believe this explains why humpback whale song is not produced
between breeding seasons and also why it
does not vary between seasons, while it does so within a season. It also
adds additional weight to the idea that humpback
whale song is an honest signal of fitness to a potential mate or competitor.

Best regards,

Leslie Walsh
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