Evidence for the functions of surface-active behaviors in humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae)

Kavanagh, Ailbhe S., Owen, Kylie, Williamson, Michael J., Blomberg, Simon P., Noad, Michael J., Goldizen, Anne W., Kniest, Eric, Cato, Douglas H. and Dunlop, Rebecca A. (2017) Evidence for the functions of surface-active behaviors in humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae). Marine Mammal Science, 33 1: 313-334. doi:10.1111/mms.12374


Author Kavanagh, Ailbhe S.
Owen, Kylie
Williamson, Michael J.
Blomberg, Simon P.
Noad, Michael J.
Goldizen, Anne W.
Kniest, Eric
Cato, Douglas H.
Dunlop, Rebecca A.
Title Evidence for the functions of surface-active behaviors in humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae)
Formatted title
Evidence for the functions of surface-active behaviors in humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae)
Journal name Marine Mammal Science   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1748-7692
0824-0469
Publication date 2017-01-01
Year available 2016
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/mms.12374
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 33
Issue 1
Start page 313
End page 334
Total pages 22
Place of publication Hoboken, NJ, United States
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Collection year 2017
Language eng
Formatted abstract
As part of their social sound repertoire, migrating humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) perform a large variety of surface-active behaviors, such as breaching and repetitive slapping of the pectoral fins and tail flukes; however, little is known about what factors influence these behaviors and what their functions might be. We investigated the potential functions of surface-active behaviors in humpback whale groups by examining the social and environmental contexts in which they occurred. Focal observations on 94 different groups of whales were collected in conjunction with continuous acoustic monitoring, and data on the social and environmental context of each group. We propose that breaching may play a role in communication between distant groups as the probability of observing this behavior decreased significantly when the nearest whale group was within 4,000 m compared to beyond 4,000 m. Involvement in group interactions, such as the splitting of a group or a group joining with other whales, was an important factor in predicting the occurrence of pectoral, fluke, and peduncle slapping, and we suggest that they play a role in close-range or within-group communication. This study highlights the potentially important and diverse roles of surface-active behaviors in the communication of migrating humpback whales.
Keyword Breach
Fluke slap
Function
Head lunge
Humpback whale
Megaptera novaeangliae
Pectoral slap
Peduncle slap
Surface behavior
Surface-active behavior
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: HERDC Pre-Audit
School of Biological Sciences Publications
School of Veterinary Science Publications
 
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