[MARMAM] New publication: variability in bowhead whale songs and significance

Florence Erbs florence.erbs at upc.edu
Thu Feb 25 01:07:10 PST 2021

Dear colleagues,

My co-authors and I are pleased to announce the publication of our new 
article on bowhead whale songs:
Erbs, F., van der Schaar, M., Weissenberger, J. et al.*Contribution to 
unravel variability in bowhead whale songs and better understand its 
ecological significance*. Sci Rep 11, 168 (2021). 

Since the first studies on bowhead whale singing behaviour, song 
variations have been consistently reported. However, there has been 
little discussion regarding variability in bowhead whale singing display 
and its ecological significance. Unlike the better studied humpback 
whales, bowhead whales do not appear to share songs at population level, 
but several studies have reported song sharing within clusters of 
animals. Over the winter season 2013–2014, in an unstudied wintering 
ground off Northeast Greenland, 13 song groups sharing similar 
hierarchical structure and units were identified. Unit types were 
assessed through multidimensional maps, showing well separated clusters 
corresponding to manually labelled units, and revealing the presence of 
unit subtypes. Units presented contrasting levels of variability over 
their acoustic parameters, suggesting that bowhead whales keep 
consistency in some units while using a continuum in values of 
frequency, duration and modulation parameters for other unit types. 
Those findings emphasise the need to account for variability in song 
analysis to better understand the behavioural ecology of this endangered 
species. Additionally, shifting from song toward units or phrase-based 
analysis, as it has been suggested for humpback whales, offers the 
opportunity to identify and track similarities in songs over temporal 
and geographical scales relevant to population monitoring.

The open-access article can be downloaded from 

Please feel free to contact me (florence.erbs at upc.edu) if you have any 

Best wishes,


UPC Icon
*Florence Erbs*
Laboratory of Applied Bioacoustics (LAB)
Rambla Exposició, 24 | 08800 Vilanova i la Geltrú
Barcelona, Spain
Office +34 93 896 72 27
florence.erbs at upc.edu <mailto:florence.erbs at upc.edu>
lab.upc.edu <http://www.lab.upc.edu/>, listentothedeep.com 

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