Seasonal occurrence of North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) vocalizations at two sites on the Scotian Shelf

TitleSeasonal occurrence of North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) vocalizations at two sites on the Scotian Shelf
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsMellinger, David K., Nieukirk Sharon L., Matsumoto Haru, Heimlich Sara L., Dziak Robert P., Haxel Joe, Fowler Matt, Meinig Christian, and Miller Hendrick V.
JournalMarine Mammal Science
Volume23
Pagination856-867
ISBN Number0824-0469
EndNote Rec Number827
Keywordsacoustic survey, alaska, automatic detection, blue, calls, diel, Eastern Tropical Pacific, eubalaena glacialis, gulf, habitat, low-frequency whale, moored hydrophone, north Atlantic, ocean, right whale, sounds
Abstract

A year-long acoustic survey for critically endangered North Atlantic right whales was conducted at two sites on the central and western Scotian Shelf. Autonomous hydrophones recorded sound continuously from July 2004 to August 2005. Right whale contact calls (upcalls) were identified using automatic recognition software, and the resulting detections were checked manually. Substantial numbers of hours with upcalls were observed at both sites, with approximately four times as many hours with calls at the western site as the central one. Calls occurred mainly from August through October, with the earliest calls in late June and the latest at the end of December at both sites. In addition to this seasonal trend, there was a significant diel pattern in calling at the central site but not at the more westerly site. Results are analyzed in light of feeding ecology and broad-scale movements of right whales.