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Biol Lett. 2011 Feb 23;7(1):33-5. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2010.0451. Epub 2010 Jul 7.

Individual right whales call louder in increased environmental noise.

Author information

1
Applied Research Laboratory, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16804, USA. sep20@psu.edu

Abstract

The ability to modify vocalizations to compensate for environmental noise is critical for successful communication in a dynamic acoustic environment. Many marine species rely on sound for vital life functions including communication, navigation and feeding. The impacts of significant increases in ocean noise levels from human activities are a current area of concern for the conservation of marine mammals. Here, we document changes in calling behaviour by individual endangered North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis) in increased background noise. Right whales, like several bird and primate species, respond to periods of increased noise by increasing the amplitude of their calls. This behaviour may help maintain the communication range with conspecifics during periods of increased noise. These call modifications have implications for conservation efforts for right whales, affecting both the way whales use sound to communicate and our ability to detect them with passive acoustic monitoring systems.

PMID:
20610418
PMCID:
PMC3030867
DOI:
10.1098/rsbl.2010.0451
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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