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Repeated call types in short-finned pilot whales, Globicephala macrorhynchus

Authors

  • Laela Sayigh,

    Corresponding author
    1. Biology Department, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts 02543, U.S.A.
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  • Nicola Quick,

    1. SMRU Ltd., New Technology Centre, North Haugh, St. Andrews, Fife, KY16 9SR, United Kingdom, and School of Biology, University of  St. Andrews, St. Andrews, Fife, KY16 8LB, United Kingdom
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  • Gordon Hastie,

    1. SMRU Ltd., New Technology Centre, North Haugh, St. Andrews, Fife, KY16 9SR, United Kingdom, and School of Biology, University of  St. Andrews, St. Andrews, Fife, KY16 8LB, United Kingdom
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  • Peter Tyack

    1. Biology Department, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts 02543, U.S.A. and Sea Mammal Research Unit, Scottish Oceans Institute, School of Biology, University of St. Andrews, St. Andrews, Fife, KY16 8LB, United Kingdom.
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(e-mail: lsayigh@whoi.edu).

Abstract

Four short-finned pilot whales, Globicephala macrorhynchus, were tagged with digital acoustic recording tags (DTAGs) for a total of 30 h in the Bahamas during 2007. Spectrograms were made of all audible sounds, which were independently categorized by three observers. Of 4,098 calls, 1,737 (42%) were placed into 173 call types, which were defined as calls that occurred more than once. Of the 173 call types, 51 contained at least 10 calls (inline image= 24), and were termed predominant call types (PCTs), which comprised 1,219 (70%) of categorized calls. PCTs tended to occur in sequences of the same call, which appeared to be produced by a single animal. However, matching interactions consisting of adjacent or overlapping calls of the same type were also observed, and some call types were recorded on more than one tag, suggesting that at least some calls are shared by members of a group or subgroup. These results emphasize the importance of categorizing calls before attempting to draw conclusions about call usage and possible effects of noise on vocal behavior.

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