[MARMAM] New publication: Humpback whale song in Antarctic and South African waters

Fannie Shabangu fannie.shabangu at yahoo.com
Tue Apr 26 06:36:44 PDT 2022

 Dear MARMAM Colleagues

My co-author and I are pleased to announce  the publication of our new paper published in Marine Biology.
 Shabangu FW and Kowarski KA (2022) The Beat Goes On: Humpback Whale Song Seasonality in Antarctic and South African Waters. Front. Mar. Sci. 9:827324. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2022.827324

  Little is known of the movements and seasonal occurrence of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) of South Africa and the Antarctic, populations once brought to near extinction by historic commercial whaling. We investigated the seasonal occurrence and diel-vocalizing pattern of humpback whale songs off the west coast of South Africa (migration route and opportunistic feeding ground) and the Maud Rise, Antarctica (feeding ground), using passive acoustic monitoring data collected between early 2014 and early 2017. Data were collected using acoustic autonomous recorders deployed 200-300 m below the sea surface in waters 855, 1,118 and 4,400 m deep. Acoustic data were manually analyzed for humpback whale vocalizations. While non-song calls were never identified, humpback whale songs were detected from June through December in South African waters, with a peak in percentage of acoustic occurrence around September/October in the austral spring. In Antarctic waters, songs were detected from March through May and in July (with a peak occurrence in April) where acoustic occurrence of humpback whales was negatively correlated to distance to the sea ice extent. Humpback whales were more vocally active at night than in the day at all recording sites. Detection range modelling indicates that humpback whale vocalizations could be detected as far as 18 and 45 km from recorders in South African and Antarctic waters, respectively. This study provides a multi-year description of the offshore acoustic occurrence of humpback whales off the west coast of South Africa and Maud Rise, Antarctica, regions that should continue to be monitored to understand these recovering populations.
The paper is open access and can be downloaded at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2022.827324/full.

Fannie W. Shabangu, PhD
Marine BiologistDepartment of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment
Cape Town, South AfricaEmail: fannie.shabangu at yahoo.com; fshabangu at dffe.gov.za
Mobile: +27 74 220 0210
Tel: +27 21 402 3553
Research Fellow
Mammal Research InstituteWhale Unit
University of PretoriaHatfield, South Africa
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