Comparison of St. Lawrence blue whale vocalizations with field observations


During four field seasons from 1998–2001, vocalizations were recorded in the presence of St. Lawrence blue whales using a single omni-directional hydrophone. Both long duration infrasonic calls (~18 Hz, 5–20 s) as well as short duration higher frequency calls (85–25 Hz, ~2 s) were detected and compared with field observations. Two trends were noted. First, the long infrasonic call series were concentrated primarily in the deep (300 m) channel. These call series appear to compare well with blue whale vocalizations recorded by others in the deep open ocean. Second, the shorter audible calls were more evenly distributed over bathymetry and seem to be a form of short distance communication with at least one case occurring during an agonistic interaction. A comparison of these calls with biological parameters such as density of whales in the area, percentages of paired versus single whales, and numbers of males versus females will also be discussed. [Project supported by ARL/PSU, NSF, and the American Museum of Natural History.]

Berchok, C.L., Bradley, D.L., Gabrielson, T.B., and Sears, R. 2003. Comparison of St. Lawrence blue whale vocalizations with field observations. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 113:2277. Oral Presentation.