[MARMAM] New Publication: Individual calling behaviour of North Atlantic minke whales

Denise Risch denise.risch at noaa.gov
Tue Mar 11 06:52:06 PDT 2014

Dear list members,

We are happy to announce our recent publication:

Risch, D., Siebert, U. & Van Parijs, S.M. 2014. Individual calling
behaviour and movements of North Atlantic minke whales (Balaenoptera
acutorostrata). Behaviour. doi: 10.1163/1568539X-00003187

Information on individual calling behaviour and source levels are important
for understanding
acoustically mediated social interactions of marine mammals, for which
visual observations are
difficult to obtain. Our study, conducted in the Stellwagen Bank National
Marine Sanctuary (SB-
NMS), located in the Gulf of Maine, USA, used passive acoustic arrays to
track North Atlantic
minke whales and assess the sound production behaviour of individuals. A
total of 18 minke whales were acoustically tracked in this study.
Individual calling rates were variable, with a median intercall interval
(ICI) of 60.3 s. Average source levels (SLrms ) for minke whales pulse
trains ranged between 164 and 168 dB re 1 μPa, resulting in a minimum
detection range of 0.4-10.2 km for these calls in this urban, coastal
environment. All tracked animals were actively swimming at a speed of 5.0 ±
1.2 km/h, which matches swimming speeds of migrating minke whales from
other areas and confirms SBNMS as part of the migration route of this
species in the Western North Atlantic. Tracked minke whales produced 7
discrete call types belonging to 3 main categories, yet no individual
produced all call types. Instead, minke whales produced 2 multisyllabic
call sequences (A and B) by combining 3-4 different call types in a
non-random order. While 7 of the trackedindividuals produced calling
pattern A, 10 whales used calling pattern B, and only 1 animal combined
call types differently. Animals producing different call sequences were in
acoustic range of one another on several occasions, suggesting they may use
these sequences for mediating social interactions. The fact that the same
calling patterns were shared by several individuals suggests that these
patterns may contain information related to sex, age or behavioural context.

A PDF may be obtained from Behaviour:

Or requests for reprints can be sent to: denise.risch at noaa.gov

All the best, Denise


Denise Risch, Ph.D.
Passive Acoustic Research Group
Protected Species Branch
Northeast Fisheries Science Center
166 Water Street,
Woods Hole, MA 02543
email: denise.risch at noaa.gov
phone: + 1 508 495 2136
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