[MARMAM] New Publication: Seasonal song ontogeny in western North Atlantic humpback whales: drawing parallels with songbirds

Katie Kowarski katiekowarski at gmail.com
Mon Sep 19 14:21:15 PDT 2022


We are pleased to announce our recent publication available online!
https://doi.org/10.1080/09524622.2022.2122561

  Katie Kowarski, Salvatore Cerchio, Hal Whitehead, Danielle Cholewiak &
Hilary Moors-Murphy (2022): Seasonal song ontogeny in western North
Atlantic humpback whales: drawing parallels with songbirds, Bioacoustics,
DOI: 10.1080/09524622.2022.2122561

ABSTRACT

The use of song as a reproductive display is common in the animal kingdom;
however, for many taxa, little is known of song ontogeny. Male humpback
whales produce elaborate songs on low latitude breeding grounds in winter
and begin to sing on high latitude feeding grounds in late summer, yet
songs from the two locations are rarely compared. Seasonal song ontogeny in
western North Atlantic humpback whales was explored by comparing songs
recorded in high latitude feeding grounds (Canada in spring 2016 and fall
2016 to winter 2017) with songs recorded in a low latitude breeding ground
(Dominican Republic in winter and spring 2017). High-quality song samples
were selected, and every phrase annotated. Song theme order, song duration,
and number of phrase repetitions were compared across samples. The most
variability in theme order was found between November and December in the
Canadian recordings, a phase in song ontogeny that may be important for
learning. Song duration gradually increased, via an increase in phrase
repetitions, through the breeding season, before peaking in the Dominican
Republic between January and March. A comparison to oscine bird seasonal
song ontogeny revealed many similarities, highlighting potentially similar
physiological processes between humpback whales and songbirds.
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