[MARMAM] New Publication: Killer Whale (Orcinus orca) Pulsed Calls in the Eastern Canadian Arctic

Jessica Sportelli jessica.sportelli at nmmpfoundation.org
Mon Sep 19 11:52:29 PDT 2022

Hello MARMAM community,
I am excited to share my recent publication in Arctic. Please email me at
jjsportelli at gmail.com with any questions or if you would like a pdf copy.

Sportelli, J.J., Jones, J.M., Frasier, K.E., Westdal, K.H., Ootoowak, A.J,
Higdon, J.W., Hildebrand, J.A. (2022). Killer Whale (*Orcinus orca*) Pulsed
Calls in the Eastern Canadian Arctic. *Arctic*. 75(3) 344 - 363.

Killer whales (*Orcinus orca*) produce a variety of acoustic signal types
used for communication: clicks, whistles, and pulsed calls. Discrete pulsed
calls are highly stereotyped, repetitive, and unique to individual pods
found around the world. Discriminating amongst pod specific calls can help
determine population structure in killer whales and is used to track pod
movements around oceans. Killer whale presence in the Canadian Arctic has
increased substantially, but we have limited understanding of their
ecology, movements, and stock identity. Two autonomous passive acoustic
monitoring (PAM) hydrophones were deployed in the waters of Eclipse Sound
and Milne Inlet, in northern Baffin Island, Nunavut, Canada, in August and
September 2017. Eleven killer whale pulsed call types, three multiphonic
and eight monophonic, are proposed and described using manual whistle
contour extraction and feature normalization. Automated detection of
echolocation clicks between 20 and 48 kHz demonstrated little to no overlap
between killer whale calls and echolocation presumed to be narwhal, which
suggests that narwhal remain audibly inconspicuous when killer whales are
present. Describing the acoustic repertoire of killer whales seasonally
present in the Canadian Arctic will aid in understanding their acoustic
behaviour, seasonal movements, and ecological impacts. The calls described
here provide a basis for future acoustic comparisons across the North
Atlantic and aid in characterizing killer whale demographics and ecology,
particularly for pods making seasonal incursions into Arctic waters.

Jessica Sportelli

Jessica Sportelli
Research Associate
National Marine Mammal Foundation
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