Potential motivational information encoded within humpback whale non-song vocal sounds

Dunlop, Rebecca A. (2017) Potential motivational information encoded within humpback whale non-song vocal sounds. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 141 3: 2204-2213. doi:10.1121/1.4978615

Author Dunlop, Rebecca A.
Title Potential motivational information encoded within humpback whale non-song vocal sounds
Journal name Journal of the Acoustical Society of America   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0001-4966
Publication date 2017-02-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1121/1.4978615
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 141
Issue 3
Start page 2204
End page 2213
Total pages 10
Place of publication Melville, NY, United States
Publisher A I P Publishing LLC
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Acoustic signals in terrestrial animals follow motivational-structural rules to inform receivers of the signaler's motivational state, valence and level of arousal. Low-frequency “harsh” signals are produced in aggressive contexts, whereas high-frequency tonal sounds are produced in fearful/appeasement contexts. Using the non-song social call catalogue of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), this study tested for potential motivational-structural rules within the call catalogue of a baleen whale species. A total of 32 groups within different social contexts (ranging from stable, low arousal groups, such as a female with her calf, to affiliating, higher arousal, groups containing multiple males competing for access to the central female) were visually and acoustically tracked as they migrated southwards along the eastern coast of Australia. Social calls separated into four main cluster types, with signal structures in two categories consistent with “aggressive” signals and, “fearful/appeasement” signals in terrestrial animals. The group's use of signals within these clusters matched their context in that presumed low arousal non-affiliating groups almost exclusively used “low-arousal” signals (a cluster of low frequency unmodulated or upsweep sounds). Affiliating groups used a higher proportion of an intermediate cluster of signal types deemed “higher arousal” signals and groups containing three or more adults used a higher proportion of “aggressive” signal types.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
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