[MARMAM] New publication on the acoustic repertoire of Type C killer whales in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica.

Bec Wellard becwellard at hotmail.com
Thu Feb 6 17:10:27 PST 2020

On behalf of my co-authors, I am happy to announce the publication of our new article regarding the acoustic repertoire of Ross Sea killer whales in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica.


Wellard R, Pitman RL, Durban J, Erbe C. (2020) Cold call: the acoustic repertoire of Ross Sea killer whales (Orcinus orca, Type C) in
McMurdo Sound, Antarctica. R. Soc. open sci. 7: 191228. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsos.191228.


Killer whales (Orcinus orca) are top marine predators occurring globally. In Antarctic waters, five ecotypes have been described, with Type C being the smallest form of killer whale known. Acoustic recordings of nine encounters of Type C killer whales were collected in 2012 and 2013 in McMurdo Sound, Ross Sea. In a combined 3.5 h of recordings, 6386 killer whale vocalizations were detected and graded based on their signal-to-noise ratio. Spectrograms of the highest-quality calls were examined for characteristic patterns yielding a catalogue of 28 call types (comprising 1250 calls). Acoustic parameters of each call were measured and summarized by call type. Type C killer whales produced complex calls, consisting of multiple frequency-modulated, amplitude-modulated and pulsed components. Often, two components occurred simultaneously, forming a biphonation; although the biphonic components did not necessarily start and end together, with one component lasting over several others. The addition and deletion of components yielded call subtypes. Call complexity appears stable over time and may be related to feeding ecology. Characterization of the Type C acoustic repertoire is an important step for the development of passive acoustic monitoring of the diverse assemblage of killer whale ecotypes in Antarctica's rapidly changing marine ecosystems.

This article is available via open access and a PDF copy can be downloaded via this link:


Best regards,

Rebecca Wellard.

Centre for Marine Science and Technology

Department of Physics

Curtin University
Tel | +61 8 9266 1782
Email | rebecca.wellard at postgrad.curtin.edu.au
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