[MARMAM] New publication: Song Notes and Patterns of the Mediterranean Fin Whale (Balaenoptera physalus) in the Ionian Sea

Virginia Sciacca virginia.sciacca at cnr.it
Mon Oct 30 01:56:54 PDT 2023

Dear colleagues,

On behalf of my co-authors, I am pleased to announce our recent 
publication in /Journal of Marine Science and Engineering/:

Sciacca V, Morello G, Beranzoli L, Embriaco D, Filiciotto F, Marinaro G, 
Riccobene GM, Simeone F, Viola S. Song Notes and Patterns of the 
Mediterranean Fin Whale (/Balaenoptera physalus/) in the Ionian Sea. 
/Journal of Marine Science and Engineering/. 2023; 11(11):2057. 
https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse11112057 <https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse11112057>


The Mediterranean fin whale emits two types of 20-Hz calls, known as 
“classic” and “backbeat”, that can be produced in irregular series or in 
patterned sequences called songs. The analysis of songs is recognized as 
a meaningful approach to study baleen whales and can be used to 
investigate populations’ identities. Mediterranean fin whale songs have 
been studied previously, but only in the western Mediterranean Sea. This 
work describes the structure of the songs recorded in the Ionian Sea. 
The inter-note intervals and the alternation of 20-Hz note types were 
considered to assess the occurrence of recurring patterns. Differences 
between patterned songs and irregular sequences were also investigated. 
Acoustic data were sampled continuously for about 10 months by the 
cabled observatory NEMO-SN1, deployed at 2100 m depth, 25 km offshore 
Catania; 28 call sequences were isolated and 10 of these were classified 
as either patterned songs or irregular sequences. Significant 
differences were observed in the spectral features of classic notes 
between songs and irregulars; four-note patterns were found repeatedly 
over different months, indicating a regular structure in detected songs. 
This work establishes a reference to interpret Mediterranean fin whale 
songs, and to assess the acoustic behavior of the population.

Best regards,

Virginia Sciacca

Virginia Sciacca, PhD
Researcher - Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche
Istituto di Scienze Polari (ISP-CNR)
Spianata S. Raineri, 86, 98122 Messina, Italy
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