[MARMAM] New Publication: Contact call diversity in natural beluga entrapments in an Arctic estuary: Preliminary evidence of vocal signatures in wild belugas

Valeria Vergara Valeria.Vergara at ocean.org
Wed Oct 31 09:24:34 PDT 2018


Dear colleagues,

We are pleased to announce our recent article in Marine Mammal Science:



Contact call diversity in natural beluga entrapments in an Arctic estuary: Preliminary evidence of vocal signatures in wild belugas. DOI:10.1111/mms.12538.  Authors: Valeria Vergara and Marie-Ana Mikus



The paper is available in early view at  https://rdcu.be/bajyx<http://em.rdcu.be/wf/click?upn=lMZy1lernSJ7apc5DgYM8WpCuIeIguihiztFymYqWyY-3D_PZ3rpdENalHahd95ubv4SyJD7IHn9ArViW5q2RyeXdzpMTatzaFbrTsCROggd6rPesJL2f352f-2Bc0GJfMccfw7q43eCdS4midlCKz-2BKcgrFU8zMr-2BKxnDwcC-2BPE5FeiyZOHOoz9yARYPSGX6J-2BNpXpYU1GWUb-2FCQPdVXTo2fBkUY0OicJYaeszbzr2oLcq7jzWmAmu6nMLsPNyBnWcJEv9-2FWKapEtKTpBnH-2BiX0l9ektcLjIxFqv-2FPbq7r2yp2zblR7Xl-2BxLw-2BgzIQvfKkJ1Fw-3D-3D>



Abstract:

Broadband, pulsed contact calls have been described for captive and temporarily restrained belugas, but little information exists on their usage in the wild. We examined vocal production during 14 natural beluga entrapments in a shallow channel in Cunningham Inlet, as isolation events offer ideal contexts to study contact calls. Drone footage, overhead photos, and shore-based photos confirmed the number of individuals and age composition in each entrapment. Contact calls comprised the majority (61%) of vocalizations produced by entrapped whales compared to the free-ranging herd (10%). We divided contact calls into complex (80%), those with a stereotyped, spectrographically prominent component overlapping the pulse train that characterizes all beluga contact calls, and simple (20%), those with no overlapping component. For each entrapment, we generated a catalogue of complex contact call types, totaling 87 types. Our classification was corroborated both quantitatively and by 55 naïve human judges. Occasional instances of overlapping contact calls of the same type indicated dyadic production. The number of contact call types per entrapment was strongly related to (never exceeding) the number of individuals, excluding neonates. Although this suggests a system of vocal signatures in belugas, consistent with their fission-fusion society and earlier findings, whether signature identity is encoded individually or shared with related animals remains unknown.



Please don't hesitate to contact me with questions, or for a PDF (valeria.vergara at ocean.org)



Regards,


Valeria Vergara, Ph.D.
Research Scientist
Valeria.Vergara at ocean.org<mailto:Valeria.Vergara at ocean.org>
D 604 659 3452  |  M 604 220 7593
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