[MARMAM] New publication: Humpback whale songs during winter in subarctic waters

Edda Elísabet Magnúsdóttir eddaem at gmail.com
Fri Feb 14 02:03:50 PST 2014


We are proud to announce a publication of our paper on humpback whale songs
during winter in subarctic waters:

Magnúsdóttir, E. E., Rasmussen, M. H., Lammers, M. O., & Svavarsson, J.
Humpback whale songs during winter in subarctic waters. *Polar Biology*,
37:427 - 433. doi:10.1007/s00300-014-1448-3

The songs of the male humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) have
been associated with mating at tropical and subtropical mating grounds
during winter.
However, songs also occur out of mating season, both on feeding grounds in
late summer and fall. This study provides the first report of humpback
whale singing
behaviour in the subarctic waters off Northeast Iceland (Skjálfandi Bay)
using long term
bottom-moored acoustic recorders during September 2008-February 2009 and
April-September 2009. Singing started in late November and peaked in
within the breeding season. No songs were detected from spring to fall,
despite of
visual detections of humpback whales. Non-song sound signals from humpback
whales were detected during all recording months. Songs were partly
composed of
fundamental units common with other known mating grounds, and partly of
song units
likely unique to the study area. The variety of song unit types in the
songs increased at
the end of the winter recordings, indicating a gradual change in the songs
the winter season; as has been shown on traditional mating grounds. The
proportion of songs compared to non-song signals was higher during dark
hours than
daylight hours. The short light periods of the winter, and where food is
available, likely
influence the daily occurrence of humpback whales' songs in the subarctic.

The paper can be found at the Polar Biology website:

Best wishes,

Edda Elísabet Magnúsdóttir (eem at hi.is)
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