[MARMAM] New publication: Minke whale rapid calling in Hawaii

Regina Guazzo rguazzo at ucsd.edu
Mon Aug 22 12:27:47 PDT 2022

Dear Colleagues,

I hope you are doing well.  My co-authors and I are excited to announce the
following open-access publication:

Martin CR, Guazzo RA, Helble TA, Alongi GC, Durbach IN, Martin SW,
Matsuyama BM and Henderson EE (2022) North Pacific minke whales call
rapidly when calling conspecifics are nearby. Front. Mar. Sci. 9: 897298.
doi: 10.3389/fmars.2022.897298

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2022.897298

North Pacific minke whale (*Balaenoptera acutorostrata*) boing calls are
commonly detected in Hawaiian waters. When producing boing vocalizations,
minke whales seem to be in one of two calling behavioral states. Most often
minke whales produce boings with inter-call intervals of several minutes,
but sometimes minke whales call rapidly with inter-call intervals of less
than a minute. Since minke whales are difficult to detect visually,
cue-rate-based density estimation using passive acoustic monitoring has
been proposed. However, the variables that influence cue rate or calling
rate are poorly understood in most whales, including minke whales. We
collected passive acoustic recordings from 47 bottom-mounted hydrophones at
the Pacific Missile Range Facility’s instrumented range off the coast of
Kauaʻi, Hawaiʻi to test the hypothesis that minke whales call more rapidly
when closer in proximity to other calling conspecifics. A total of 599 days
of data were recorded between August 2012 and July 2017 and were
automatically post-processed to detect, classify, and localize calls.
Localized calls were grouped into tracks and manually validated, resulting
in 509 individual tracks composed of 36,033 calls within a 16 x 39 km focal
study area. Tracked minke whales exhibited a strong bimodal call rate with
means of one call every 6.85 min (σ= 2.54 min) and 0.63 min (σ= 0.36 min).
We ran hidden Markov models to quantify the relationship between call rate
and the distance to the nearest calling conspecific. Overall, the
probability of the higher call rate occurring increased as the distance to
the nearest conspecific decreased, and the probability of the lower call
rate occurring increased as the distance to the nearest conspecific
increased. We also examined individual track data and found that minke
whales may also exhibit other responses (i.e. increased speed, changes in
heading, and cessation of calling) when calling conspecifics are nearby.
These findings provide new information about minke whale calling behavior
in what is likely a breeding area.

Please email Cameron Martin (cameron.r.martin9.civ at us.navy.mil) or me (
regina.a.guazzo.civ at us.navy.mil) if you have any questions about this work.

All my best,


Regina A. Guazzo, PhD (she/her
Oceanographer and Outreach Lead
Whale Acoustic Reconnaissance Project (WARP)
Environmental Readiness Program, Code 56720
Naval Information Warfare Center, Pacific
Work Cell: 757-472-0957
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