[MARMAM] New publication on lateralized sound production in beluga whales

Audra Ames aames at oceanografic.org
Thu Sep 3 02:10:08 PDT 2020

Dear colleagues,

On behalf of myself and my co-authors, we are pleased to announce the publication of our new paper in Journal of Experimental Biology.

Ames, A. E., Beedholm, K., & Madsen, P. T. (2020). Lateralized sound production in the beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas). Journal of Experimental Biology, 223, jeb226316. doi:10.1242/jeb.226316

Like other toothed whales, belugas produce sound through pneumatic actuation of two phonic lip pairs, but it is unclear whether both pairs are actuated concurrently to generate a single sound (the dual actuation hypothesis) or laterally in the production of their rich vocal repertoires. Here, using suction cup hydrophones on the head of a trained beluga whale, we measured seven different communication signal types and echolocation clicks in order to test the hypothesis that belugas produce distinct sounds unilaterally. We show that, like other delphinoids, belugas produce echolocation clicks with the right phonic lips and tonal sounds from the left. We also demonstrate for the first time that the left phonic lips are responsible for generating communication signals other than tonal sounds. Thus, our findings provide empirical support for functionalized laterality in delphinoid sound production, in keeping with the functional laterality hypothesis of vocal-motor control in toothed whales.

The publication can be accessed via http://jeb.biologists.org/lookup/doi/10.1242/jeb.226316 or you can email a request for a PDF to aames at oceanografic.org<mailto:aames at oceanografic.org>.

Many thanks for your interest in our work, and thank you to the editors and reviewers of the publication for their contributions to the finished article.

Audra Ames, Ph.D.
Research Scientist,
Fundación Oceanografic
T:  (+34) 96  1975526
Fundación Oceanogràfic de la Comunitat Valenciana
C/ Eduardo Primo Yúfera (Científic), 1B
46013 Valencia Spain

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