[MARMAM] New publication on individual variability in humpback whale songs

Luca Lamoni luca.lamoni at ices.dk
Sun Apr 23 11:20:12 PDT 2023

Dear MARMAM community,

My co-authors and I are excited to share this new open-access publication:

Luca Lamoni, Ellen C. Garland, Jenny A. Allen, Jennifer Coxon, Michael J. Noad, Luke Rendell; Variability in humpback whale songs reveals how individuals can be distinctive when sharing a complex vocal display. J Acoust Soc Am 1 April 2023; 153 (4): 2238.

Individually distinctive acoustic signals in animal vocal communication are taxonomically widespread, however, the investigation of these signal types in marine mammals has focused only on a few species. Humpback whale songs are a stereotyped, hierarchically structured vocal display performed by males, and hence thought to be sexually selected. Within a population, whales conform to a common version of the song despite the song constantly evolving. While humpback songs have been studied extensively at the population level, individual level variation has been rarely described, with inconclusive results. Here, we quantified inter- and intra-individual variability at different levels in the song hierarchy using songs from 25 singers across two song types from the eastern Australian population song of 2002 (12 singers), and the revolutionary song introduced in 2003 (13 singers). Inter-individual variability was found heterogeneously across all hierarchical levels of the song structure. In addition, distinct and individually specific patterns of song production were consistently recorded across song levels, with clear structural differences between the two song types. These results suggest that within the constraints of song conformity, males can produce individually distinctive patterns that could function as an advertisement to females to convey individual qualities.

The publication is available in open access here: https://doi.org/10.1121/10.0017602

If you have any questions or need a pdf copy of the paper, you can reach me at: luca.lamoni at ices.dk or lucalamoni at gmail.com

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