[MARMAM] New paper: dialect differences among sympatric groups of pilot whales

Amy Van Cise avancise at gmail.com
Tue Dec 18 08:27:40 PST 2018


On behalf of my co-authors, I'm happy to share a new publication on vocal
dialect differences among sympatric groups of pilot whales in the Hawaiian

Van Cise, A.M., Mahaffy, S.D., Baird, R.W., Mooney, T.A., Barlow J. (2018)
Song of my people: dialect differences among sympatric social groups of
short-finned pilot whales in Hawai’i. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 72: 193.

In many social species, acoustic dialects are used to differentiate among
social groups within a local population. These acoustic dialects and their
corresponding social groups are often related to distinct foraging
behaviors or spatial movement patterns, and it is possible that vocal
repertoire variability is one of the proximate mechanisms driving or
maintaining genetic and ecological diversity at a subspecies level in
social species. Short-finned pilot whales (*Globicephala macrorynchus*)
inhabiting Hawaiian waters have a stable hierarchical social structure,
with familial social units associating in larger social clusters within
island-associated communities. In this study, we test the hypothesis that
sympatric social groups of short-finned pilot whales have acoustically
differentiated dialects, which may be used to maintain the social
structure. We first examined call composition of social calls collected
from photographically identified social clusters of short-finned pilot
whales around the Main Hawaiian Islands, using a catalog of manually
classified calls, and found that call composition differed among clusters.
We then conducted ANOVA and support vector machine (SVM) learning analyses
of the acoustic features of social calls. Social clusters were
significantly differentiated in their acoustic features, and the SVM
classification accuracy was 60%. These results indicate that vocal
repertoire reflects social segregation in short-finned pilot whales and may
be a driving mechanism of differentiation, potentially contributing to
genetic diversity within populations. This suggests divergent acoustic
population structure; however, the small sample size in this study
decreases the ability to detect acoustic differences among groups.
Additional sampling will improve our power to detect acoustic differences
among social clusters of Hawaiian pilot whales and improve classification
accuracy. The pattern described here highlights the importance of
increasing the spatial and temporal resolution of conservation and
management plans for this species, in order to conserve subpopulation
genetic and social structure.

The article can be accessed at
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00265-018-2596-1, or email me
directly for a pdf copy.


<*)))><  <*)))><  <*)))><  <*)))><  <*)))><  <*)))><  <*)))><  <*)))><

Amy M. Van Cise, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Scholar, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Sensory Ecology and Bioacoustics Lab
266 Woods Hole Rd
Marine Research Facility 236
Woods Hole, MA, 02543

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