Discovering sounds in Patagonia: Characterizing sei whale (Balaenoptera borealis) downsweeps in the south-eastern Pacific Ocean

Sonia Español-Jiménez, Paulina A. Bahamonde, Gustavo Chiang, Verena Häussermann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The sei whale (Balaenoptera borealis) is one of the least known whale species. Information on sei whale distributions and its regional variability in the south-eastern Pacific Ocean are even more scarce than that from other areas. Vocalizations of sei whales from this region are not described yet. This research presents the first characterization of sei whale sounds recorded in Chile during the austral autumn of 2016 and 2017. Recordings were done opportunistically. A total of 41 calls were identified to be sei whale downsweeps. In 2016, calls ranged from an average maximum frequency of 105.3 Hz down to an average minimum of 35.6 Hz over 1.6 s with a peak frequency of 65.4 Hz. During 2017, calls ranged from an average maximum frequency of 93.3 down to 42.2 Hz (over 1.6 s) with a peak frequency of 68.3 Hz. The absolute minimum frequency recorded was 30 Hz and the absolute maximum frequency was 129.4 Hz. Calls generally occurred in pairs, but triplets or singles were also registered. These low-frequency sounds share characteristics with recordings of sei whales near the Hawai'ian Islands but with differences in the maximum frequencies and duration. These calls distinctly differ from sounds previously described for sei whales in the Southern Ocean and are the first documented sei whale calls in the south-eastern Pacific.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-82
Number of pages8
JournalOcean Science
Volume15
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Palaeontology

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