[MARMAM] New publication - Sperm whale codas may encode individuality as well as clan identity

Cláudia Inês Botelho de Oliveira claudiaines at uac.pt
Fri May 20 10:33:46 PDT 2016

Dear MARMAM subscribers,


We are very pleased to announce the publication of the following paper in The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America:

Oliveira C, Wahlberg M, Silva MA, Johnson M, Antunes R, Wisniewska DM, Fais A, Gonçalves J and Madsen PT. 2016. Sperm whale codas may encode individuality as well as clan identity. J Acoust Soc Am, 139(5): 2860-2869.


URL:  http://scitation.aip.org/content/asa/journal/jasa/139/5/10.1121/1.4949478?aemail=author <http://scitation.aip.org/content/asa/journal/jasa/139/5/10.1121/1.4949478?aemail=author> 

DOI: 10.1121/1.4949478



Sperm whales produce codas for communication that can be grouped into different types according to their temporal patterns. Codas have led researchers to propose that sperm whales belong to distinct cultural clans, but it is presently unclear if they also convey individual information. Coda clicks comprise a series of pulses and the delay between pulses is a function of organ size, and therefore body size, and so is one potential source of individual information. Another potential individual-specific parameter could be the inter-click intervals within codas. To test whether these parameters provide reliable individual cues, stereo-hydrophone acoustic tags (Dtags) were attached to five sperm whales of the Azores, recording a total of 802 codas. A discriminant function analysis was used to distinguish 288 5 Regular codas from four of the sperm whales and 183 3 Regular codas from two sperm whales. The results suggest that codas have consistent individual features in their inter-click intervals and inter-pulse intervals which may contribute to individual identification. Additionally, two whales produced different coda types in distinct foraging dive phases. Codas may therefore be used by sperm whales to convey information of identity as well as activity within a social group to a larger extent than previously assumed.



Best wishes,


Cláudia Oliveira


MARE - Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre (MARE)

Universidade dos Açores

Departamento de Oceanografia e Pescas

Rua Prof. Doutor Frederico Machado

9901-862 Horta - Portugal

Telefone: +351 292200400

Fax: +351 292200411

URL: www.horta.uac.pt <http://www.horta.uac.pt/> 



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