[MARMAM] New publication: Diel patterns of humpback whale singers in Hawai‘i

Anke K anke.kuegler at gmail.com
Wed Jan 24 07:17:05 PST 2024

Dear MARMAM community,

on behalf of my co-authors, I am excited to share our paper on diel spatiotemporal trends of humpback whale singers in Hawai’i that was just published in Royal Society Open Science. You can find this Open Access article following this link: https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rsos.230279 <https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rsos.230279>

Kügler A, Lammers MO, Pack AA, Tenorio-Hallé L, Thode AM. 2024 Diel spatio-temporal patterns of humpback whale singing on a high-density breeding ground. R. Soc. Open Sci. 11: 230279. https://doi.org/10.1098/rsos.230279


Humpback whale song chorusing dominates the marine soundscape in Hawai‘i during winter months, yet little is known about spatio-temporal habitat use patterns of singers. We analysed passive acoustic monitoring data from five sites off Maui and found that ambient noise levels associated with song chorusing decreased during daytime hours nearshore but increased offshore. To resolve whether these changes reflect a diel offshore–onshore movement or a temporal difference in singing activity, data from 71 concurrently conducted land-based theodolite surveys were analysed. Non-calf pods (n= 3082), presumably including the majority of singers, were found further offshore with increasing time of the day. Separately, we acoustically localized 217 nearshore singers using vector-sensors. During the day, distances to shore and minimum distances among singers increased, and singers switched more between being stationary and singing while travelling. Together, these findings suggest that the observed diel trends in humpback whale chorusing off Maui represent a pattern of active onshore–offshore movement of singers. We hypothesize that this may result from singers attempting to reduce intraspecific acoustic masking when densities are high nearshore and avoidance of a loud, non-humpback, biological evening chorus offshore, creating a dynamic of movement of singers aimed at increasing the efficiency of their acoustic display.

Kind regards,
Anke Kügler PhD
Postdoctoral Researcher
Bioacoustics and Behavioral Ecology Lab
Syracuse University
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