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J Acoust Soc Am. 2008 Nov;124(5):3315-23. doi: 10.1121/1.2980443.

Bowhead whale springtime song off West Greenland.

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Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington (APL-UW), 1013 NE 40th Street, Seattle, Washington 98105, USA.


Three songs were recorded from bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus) in Disko Bay, West Greenland, during 59 h of recordings via sonobuoys deployed on seven days between 5 and 14 April 2007. Song elements were defined by units following the protocol of previous description of bowhead whale song. The two most prominent songs were loud, complex, and repeated in long bouts on multiple recording days while the third song was much simpler and recorded on only one day. Bowhead whale simple calls and faint song elements were also recorded using digital audio tape recorders and a dipping hydrophone deployed from the sea ice approximately 100-150 km southwest of Disko Bay on three separate days suggesting that song is also produced in the central portion of Baffin Bay in winter. Songs recorded in Disko Bay are from an area where approximately 85% of the whales have been determined to be adult females. Although it is not known which sex was singing, we speculate that, as in humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), male bowhead whales may sing to mediate sexual competition or mate selection behaviors. This is the first detailed description of springtime songs for bowhead whales in the eastern Arctic.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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