[MARMAM] New paper: Diving apart together: call propagation in diving long-finned pilot whales

Annebelle Kok annebelle.kok at gmail.com
Thu Jul 2 07:20:29 PDT 2020

On behalf of my co-authors, I am pleased to announce the publication of the
following paper:
Kok, ACM, van Kolfschoten, L, Campbell, JA, von Benda-Beckmann, AM, Miller,
PJO, Slabbekoorn, H, and Visser, F (2020). Diving apart together: call
propagation in long-finned pilot whales. Journal of Experimental Biology
223, jeb207878.

Abstract: Group-living animals must communicate to stay in contact. In
long- finned pilot whales, there is a trade-off between the benefits of
foraging individually at depth and the formation of tight social groups at
the surface. Using theoretical modelling and empirical data of tagged pairs
within a group, we examined the potential of pilot whale social calls to
reach dispersed group members during foraging periods. Both theoretical
predictions and empirical data of tag pairs showed a potential for
communication between diving and non-diving group members over separation
distances up to 385 m (empirical) and 1800 m (theoretical). These
distancesmatch orexceed pilot whale dive depths recorded across
populations. Call characteristics and environmental characteristics were
analysed to investigate determinants of call detectability. Longer calls
with a higher sound pressure level (SPL) that were received in a quieter
environment were more often detected than their shorter, lower SPL
counterparts within a noisierenvironment. Ina noisierenvironment, calls
were louderand had a lower peak frequency, indicating mechanisms for coping
with varying conditions. However, the vulnerability of pilot whales to
anthropogenic noise is still ofconcern as the ability to cope with
increasing background noise may be limited. Our study shows that combining
propagation modelling and actual tag recordings provides new insights into
the communicative potential for social calls in orientation and reunion
with group members for deep-diving pilot whales.

The paper is available online at
https://jeb.biologists.org/content/223/10/jeb207878 or as accepted
manuscript on Research Gate.

Kind regards,
Annebelle Kok
(email: akok at ucsd.edu)
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