Blue whale vocalizations recorded around New Zealand: 1964-2013.

TitleBlue whale vocalizations recorded around New Zealand: 1964-2013.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsMiller, Brian S., Collins Kym, Barlow Jay, Calderan Susannah, Leaper Russell, Mark McDonals, Ensor Paul, Olson Paula A., Olavarria Carlos, and Double Michael C.
JournalThe Journal of the Acoustical Society of America
EndNote Rec Number10505

Previous underwater recordings made in New Zealand have identified a complex sequence of low frequency sounds that have been attributed to blue whales based on similarity to blue whale songs in other areas. Recordings of sounds with these characteristics were made opportunistically during the Southern Ocean Research Partnership's recent Antarctic Blue Whale Voyage. Detections of these sounds occurred all around the South Island of New Zealand during the voyage transits from Nelson, New Zealand to the Antarctic and return. By following acoustic bearings from directional sonobuoys, blue whales were visually detected and confirmed as the source of these sounds. These recordings, together with the historical recordings made northeast of New Zealand, indicate song types that persist over several decades and are indicative of the year-round presence of a population of blue whales that inhabits the waters around New Zealand. Measurements of the four-part vocalizations reveal that blue whale song in this region has changed slowly, but consistently over the past 50 years. The most intense units of these calls were detected as far south as 53°S, which represents a considerable range extension compared to the limited prior data on the spatial distribution of this population.