Acoustic detections of singing humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in the eastern North Pacific during their northbound migration

TitleAcoustic detections of singing humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in the eastern North Pacific during their northbound migration
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1999
AuthorsNorris, Thomas, McDonald Mark, and Barlow Jay
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Volume106
Pagination506-514
EndNote Rec Number6232
Abstract

Numerous (84) acoustic detections of singing humpback whales were made during a spring (08 March–09 June 1997) research cruise to study sperm whales in the central and eastern North Pacific. Over 15 000 km of track-line was surveyed acoustically using a towed hydrophone array. Additionally, 83 sonobuoys were deployed throughout the study area. Detection rates were greatest in late March, near the Hawaiian Islands, and in early April, northeast of the islands. Only one detection was made after April. Detection rates for sonobuoys were unequal in three equally divided longitudinal regions of the study area. Two high density clusters of detections occurred approximately 1200–2000 km northeast of the Hawaiian Islands and were attributed to a large aggregation of migrating animals. The distribution of these detections corroborates findings of previous studies. It is possible that these animals were maintaining acoustic contact during migration. Two unexpected clusters of singing whales were detected approximately 900 to 1000 km west of central and southern California. The location of these detections may indicate a previously undocumented migration route between an offshore breeding area, such as the Revillagigedo Islands, Mexico, and possible feeding areas in the western North Pacific or Bering Sea.