Variability in blue whale acoustic behavior off southern California Academic Article uri icon


  • © 2017 The Authors. Marine Mammal Science published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of Society for Marine Mammalogy To evaluate the acoustic behavior of blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) located inshore and offshore of southern California, singular A and B calls, D calls, and AB phrases were analyzed from 12 mo of passive acoustic data collected at four locations within the Southern California Bight. The relative proportions of singular calls and phrases were used to evaluate spatial and temporal patterns in sound and song type usage, and singular call and phrase production rates were calculated to investigate spatial and temporal variability in call abundance. Blue whale sounds were recorded from spring through early winter, with the majority of all detections occurring between September and December. The proportions and production rates of singular calls and phrases varied between the inshore and offshore sites. In addition, the percentage of A units within repetitive song phrases was greater inshore than offshore, resulting from a higher proportion of AB song type inshore, in which A and B phrase units were alternating. The ABB song type, in which a single A unit was followed by multiple B units, was more common offshore. The observed differences in calling and singing behaviors may identify distinct and variable acoustic behavioral settings for blue whales off southern California.

altmetric score

  • 26

author list (cited authors)

  • Lewis, L. A., & Širović, A.

citation count

  • 7

publication date

  • April 2018