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J Acoust Soc Am. 2005 May;117(5):3297-306.

Sound production by North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis) in surface active groups.

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  • 1Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts 02543, USA.


The surface active group (SAG) is the most commonly observed surface social behavior of North Atlantic right whales. Recordings were made from 52 SAGs in the Bay of Fundy, Canada between July and September, from 1999 to 2002. The call types recorded from these groups were similar to those described previously for Southern right whales (Eubalaena australis), with six major call types being termed scream, gunshot, blow, upcall, warble, and downcall. The percentage of total calls of each call type depended on the group size and composition. The most common call type recorded was the scream call. The scream calls were produced by the focal female in a SAG. Production of other sound types can be attributed to whales other than the focal female, with gunshot and upcalls produced by males, and warble calls produced by female calves. The source levels for these sounds range from 137 to 162 dB rms re 1 ,tPa-m for tonal calls and 174 to 192 dB rms for broadband gunshot sounds.

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