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Contribution to unravel variability in bowhead whale songs and better understand its ecological significance
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Number of Authors: 5
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2021 (English)In: Scientific Reports, E-ISSN 2045-2322, Vol. 11, no 1Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Since the first studies on bowhead whale singing behaviour, song variations have been consistently reported. However, there has been little discussion regarding variability in bowhead whale singing display and its ecological significance. Unlike the better studied humpback whales, bowhead whales do not appear to share songs at population level, but several studies have reported song sharing within clusters of animals. Over the winter season 2013–2014, in an unstudied wintering ground off Northeast Greenland, 13 song groups sharing similar hierarchical structure and units were identified. Unit types were assessed through multidimensional maps, showing well separated clusters corresponding to manually labelled units, and revealing the presence of unit subtypes. Units presented contrasting levels of variability over their acoustic parameters, suggesting that bowhead whales keep consistency in some units while using a continuum in values of frequency, duration and modulation parameters for other unit types. Those findings emphasise the need to account for variability in song analysis to better understand the behavioural ecology of this endangered species. Additionally, shifting from song toward units or phrase-based analysis, as it has been suggested for humpback whales, offers the opportunity to identify and track similarities in songs over temporal and geographical scales relevant to population monitoring.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2021. Vol. 11, no 1
National Category
Natural Sciences
Research subject
SWEDARCTIC 2013, OATRC 2013
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:polar:diva-8868DOI: 10.1038/s41598-020-80220-5OAI: oai:DiVA.org:polar-8868DiVA, id: diva2:1629194
Available from: 2022-01-17 Created: 2022-01-17 Last updated: 2022-09-15Bibliographically approved

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