[MARMAM] New publication on singing behaviour of humpback whales on the western coast of South Africa

Erin Ross-Marsh eclaireza at gmail.com
Tue Feb 4 02:56:16 PST 2020

On behalf of my co-authors, I am happy to announce the publication of our
new article regarding the singing behaviour of humpback whales past the
western coast of South Africa.


E. C. Ross-Marsh, S. H. Elwen, A. S. Prinsloo, B. S. James & T. Gridley
(2020) Singing in South Africa: monitoring the occurrence of humpback whale
(Megaptera novaeangliae) song near the Western Cape, Bioacoustics, DOI:

Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) are highly vocal, producing a wide
repertoire of sounds often organised into song. Song is prolific at
breeding sites but also documented along migration routes and at feeding
sites, including along the west coast of South Africa (28°–34°S). Here we
examine the occurrence of humpback whale song within False Bay, South
Africa, using intermittent recording periods from moored hydrophones
spanning September 2016 to January 2018. Recordings from four locations
were scrutinised for humpback whale vocalisations using long-term spectral
averages (LTSAs). In total, 7205 h were examined, with song identified in
3% (211 h) of recording hours. Song was exclusively documented in September
and October 2016 and was more prevalent at the most westerly sites. Diel
patterns of song presence were modelled, showing the likelihood of
detection was higher in the early morning and late evening (GAM: p < 0.05).
On 15 occasions, two or more singers were detected with temporally
overlapping song components. These results indicate prevalent, albeit
seasonal, song production by humpback whales off the coast of South Africa
and highlight the utility of passive acoustic monitoring to indicate their
presence, behaviour, and potential population linkages in the region.

For a PDF copy, please contact me at eclaireza at gmail.com

Best regards,

*Erin Ross-Marsh*
eclaireza at gmail.com
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