Non-song acoustic communication in migrating humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae)

Dunlop, R.A., Cato, D.H. and Noad, M. J. (2008) Non-song acoustic communication in migrating humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae). Marine Mammal Science, 24 3: 613-629. doi:10.1111/j.1748-7692.2008.00208.x

Author Dunlop, R.A.
Cato, D.H.
Noad, M. J.
Title Non-song acoustic communication in migrating humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae)
Formatted title
Non-song acoustic communication in migrating humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae)
Journal name Marine Mammal Science   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0824-0469
Publication date 2008-01-01
Year available 2008
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1748-7692.2008.00208.x
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 24
Issue 3
Start page 613
End page 629
Total pages 16
Editor Boness, D.
Place of publication USA
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Inc.
Language eng
Subject C1
060801 Animal Behaviour
960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity
Abstract Humpback whales are renowned for the complex structured songs produced by males. A second, relatively understudied area of humpback acoustic communication concerns un-patterned sounds known as "social sounds," produced by both males and females. These include vocalizations as well as sounds produced at the surface of the water as a result of surface behaviors (e.g., breaching, pectoral slapping). This study describes a portion of the non-song social sound repertoire of southward migrating humpbacks in Australian waters, and explores the social relevance of these sounds. On migration, humpback whales travel in social groups of varying compositions. These social groups are not stable in that humpback whales continually change group composition by splitting from, or joining with, other groups. The results of this study suggest that "breaching" and "slapping" have a communicative function. Other sounds such as "underwater blows" and "cries" were heard mainly in competitive groups while other low-frequency sounds such as "grumbles,""snorts,""thwops," and "wops" may function in intra- or inter-group communication. Particular sounds ("grunts,""groans," and "barks") were almost exclusive to joining pods suggesting a role in social integration. Social sounds in humpbacks may have specific social and behavioral functions relating to social group composition, and the mediation of interactions between these social groups.
Keyword humpback whale
Megaptera novaeangliae
acoustic communication
social vocalizations
surface-generated behaviors
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: 2009 Higher Education Research Data Collection
School of Veterinary Science Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 41 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Fri, 27 Feb 2009, 02:21:19 EST by Mrs Christine Wheatland on behalf of School of Veterinary Science