Presentation Title

Song activity and structure of the Central American humpback whale breeding stock

Project Collaborators

Adriana Arce, Eric Ramos, Katherine Audley, Cybele Adamcewicz, Isabel Belash

Abstract

Humpback whales, Megaptera novaeangliae, produce very complex songs that are variable over the years. Humpback whales share song components with each other through the process of horizontal transmission if they have come into acoustical contact. Understanding the change in the song over time provides information about the origin of the singer. Gradual change would suggest that the same individuals are returning while rapid change suggests a lack of site fidelity or high opportunities for song exchange in feeding grounds. This allows the connectivity between different humpback whale populations to be determined. Here I study the songs of population of the Central American humpback whale stock known to winter off the coast of Mexico and Central America. Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM) was used to obtain continuous recordings in 2017 in Guerrero, Mexico and in 2019 from Playa Viradores in the Culebra Bay, Costa Rica. This study provides the first detailed description of the Central American humpback whale breeding stock, providing a template for future monitoring of song changes in the region, which can help to access song cultural transmission.

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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Song activity and structure of the Central American humpback whale breeding stock

Humpback whales, Megaptera novaeangliae, produce very complex songs that are variable over the years. Humpback whales share song components with each other through the process of horizontal transmission if they have come into acoustical contact. Understanding the change in the song over time provides information about the origin of the singer. Gradual change would suggest that the same individuals are returning while rapid change suggests a lack of site fidelity or high opportunities for song exchange in feeding grounds. This allows the connectivity between different humpback whale populations to be determined. Here I study the songs of population of the Central American humpback whale stock known to winter off the coast of Mexico and Central America. Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM) was used to obtain continuous recordings in 2017 in Guerrero, Mexico and in 2019 from Playa Viradores in the Culebra Bay, Costa Rica. This study provides the first detailed description of the Central American humpback whale breeding stock, providing a template for future monitoring of song changes in the region, which can help to access song cultural transmission.