[MARMAM] New paper: Pilot whale silence and dinner talk (Fleur Visser)

fvisser at kelpmarineresearch.com fvisser at kelpmarineresearch.com
Thu Nov 16 01:34:24 PST 2017

We are pleased to announce the publication of our paper in BEAS:

Vocal foragers and silent crowds: context-dependent vocal variation in
Northeast Atlantic long-finned pilot whales, by
Fleur Visser, Annebelle CM Kok, Machiel G Oudejans, Lindesay AS
Scott-Hayward, Stacy L DeRuiter, Ana C Alves, Ricardo N Antunes, Saana
Isojunno, Graham J Pierce, Hans Slabbekoorn, Jef Huisman and Patrick JO

The paper is published open access and available at: http://rdcu.be/yac2

Vocalisations form a key component of the social interactions and foraging
behaviour of toothed whales. We investigated changes in calling and
echolocation behaviour of long-finned pilot whales between foraging and
non-foraging periods, by combining acoustic recordings and diving depth
data from tagged individuals with concurrent surface observations on
social behaviour of their group. The pilot whales showed marked vocal
variation, specific to foraging and social context. During periods of
foraging, pilot whales showed more vocal activity than during near surface
non-foraging periods (rest, travel). In addition to the expected increase
in echolocation activity, call rates also increased, suggesting that pilot
whales communicate more during foraging. Furthermore, calls with multiple
inflections occurred more often immediately before and after foraging
dives and during the early descent and late ascent phases of foraging
dives. However, these calls were almost never detected at diving depths of
the tagged whale beyond 350 m. Calls with no or few inflections were
produced at all times, irrespective of diving depth of the tagged whale.
We discuss possible explanations for the distinct vocal variation
associated with foraging periods. In addition, during near surface
periods, the pilot whales were found to be more silent (no calling or
echolocation) in larger, more closely spaced groups. This indicates that
increased levels of social cohesion may release the need to stay in touch

Best regards,

Fleur Visser
fvisser at kelpmarineresearch.com

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