Title

Characterization of Food Calls in Humpback Whales (Megaptera novaeangliae)

Poster Number

14A

Lead Author Major

Biological Sciences

Lead Author Status

Senior

Second Author Major

Predental

Second Author Status

Senior

Third Author Major

Predental

Third Author Status

Sophomore

Fourth Author Major

Predental

Fourth Author Status

Freshman

Fifth Author Major

Biological Sciences

Fifth Author Status

Senior

Format

Poster Presentation (Research Day, April 30)

Faculty Mentor Name

Stacie Hooper

Faculty Mentor Department

Biological Sciences

Abstract/Artist Statement

Humpback whales, Megaptera novaeangliae, typically use acoustic communication while trying to acquire food or engaging in social interactions. Food calls are powerful vocalizations used by humpback whales as part of a cooperative prey capture effort called bubble-net feeding. Bubble-net feeding happens as humpback whales work together to produce air bubbles in the water, which trap fish, and make it easier for humpbacks to consume them. It is thought that food calls may stun or confuse the fish, making them easier to trap in the bubble net. Although not much is understood about humpback whale communication, there are some key characteristics which can allow us to distinguish a food call from a social call. Food calls typically have a mean duration of 2.6 seconds, a fundamental frequency of 500 Hz, and usually a short frequency modulated portion at the start and end of the call (Cerchio and Dahlheim, 2001). While food calls are generally produced in stereotypical fashion, we noticed that the structure of individual calls in a series can differ. The goal of this project was to investigate whether food call structure changed over the course of a series, and if so, whether it was possible to classify those variations into distinct subtypes. Differences in food calls within a series may indicate changes in motivation, be a response to changes in prey behavior, or may be the result of different callers producing slight variations.

Location

Information Commons, William Knox Holt Memorial Library and Learning Center

Start Date

30-4-2022 1:00 PM

End Date

30-4-2022 3:00 PM

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Apr 30th, 1:00 PM Apr 30th, 3:00 PM

Characterization of Food Calls in Humpback Whales (Megaptera novaeangliae)

Information Commons, William Knox Holt Memorial Library and Learning Center

Humpback whales, Megaptera novaeangliae, typically use acoustic communication while trying to acquire food or engaging in social interactions. Food calls are powerful vocalizations used by humpback whales as part of a cooperative prey capture effort called bubble-net feeding. Bubble-net feeding happens as humpback whales work together to produce air bubbles in the water, which trap fish, and make it easier for humpbacks to consume them. It is thought that food calls may stun or confuse the fish, making them easier to trap in the bubble net. Although not much is understood about humpback whale communication, there are some key characteristics which can allow us to distinguish a food call from a social call. Food calls typically have a mean duration of 2.6 seconds, a fundamental frequency of 500 Hz, and usually a short frequency modulated portion at the start and end of the call (Cerchio and Dahlheim, 2001). While food calls are generally produced in stereotypical fashion, we noticed that the structure of individual calls in a series can differ. The goal of this project was to investigate whether food call structure changed over the course of a series, and if so, whether it was possible to classify those variations into distinct subtypes. Differences in food calls within a series may indicate changes in motivation, be a response to changes in prey behavior, or may be the result of different callers producing slight variations.