Presentation Title

Acoustic analysis of humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) song in breeding grounds off the Pacific coast of Central America.

Project Collaborators

Riley O'Halloran, Shelby Rosten, Kate Ziegler

Abstract

Humpback whales are well-known for their singing behavior, which functions as a mating display and a form of mediating male-male interactions. Songs are unique to a particular population, and all males within a population use the same song within a breeding season. Thus, it is possible to identify what population a whale belongs to based on the structure of its song. Song components are transferable between populations, and horizontal cultural transmission frequently occurs between populations that are in acoustical contact with one another. Tracking changes in a population’s song over time and comparing songs of different populations provides information on the movement of the animals and their interactions with humpback whales of other populations. This study uses data obtained through passive acoustic monitoring to identify the song used by Southern Hemisphere humpback whales off the coast of Archipelago Islas Secas, Panama. Cataloging the song and its components will allow future studies to compare the song structure of this population over time to explore questions regarding their migration route and degree of interactions with other populations.

Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Laura May-Collado

Status

Undergraduate

Student College

College of Arts and Sciences

Program/Major

Zoology

Primary Research Category

Biological Sciences

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Acoustic analysis of humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) song in breeding grounds off the Pacific coast of Central America.

Humpback whales are well-known for their singing behavior, which functions as a mating display and a form of mediating male-male interactions. Songs are unique to a particular population, and all males within a population use the same song within a breeding season. Thus, it is possible to identify what population a whale belongs to based on the structure of its song. Song components are transferable between populations, and horizontal cultural transmission frequently occurs between populations that are in acoustical contact with one another. Tracking changes in a population’s song over time and comparing songs of different populations provides information on the movement of the animals and their interactions with humpback whales of other populations. This study uses data obtained through passive acoustic monitoring to identify the song used by Southern Hemisphere humpback whales off the coast of Archipelago Islas Secas, Panama. Cataloging the song and its components will allow future studies to compare the song structure of this population over time to explore questions regarding their migration route and degree of interactions with other populations.