Seasonality of Antarctic minke whale (Balaenoptera bonaerensis) calls off the western Antarctic Peninsula

Dominello, T, Širović A.  2016.  Seasonality of Antarctic minke whale (Balaenoptera bonaerensis) calls off the western Antarctic Peninsula. Marine Mammal Science. 32:826-838.

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abundance, acutorostrata, Antarctic Peninsula, Balaenoptera bonaerensis, bio-duck, megaptera-novaeangliae, migration, minke whale, north pacific, Passive acoustics, sea, Seasonality, songs, southern-ocean, vocalization, vocalizations, waters, western


The Antarctic minke whale (Balaenoptera bonaerensis) is a difficult species to study because of its low visual detectability and preference for living within the sea ice habitat, accessible only by ice-strengthened vessels. Recent identification of the Antarctic minke whale as the source of the seasonally ubiquitous bio-duck call has allowed the use of this sound, as well as downsweeps, to investigate seasonality trends and diel patterns in Antarctic minke whale call production, and their relationship to sea ice cover. Passive acoustic data were collected using an autonomous Acoustic Recording Package (ARP) off the western Antarctic Peninsula. Bio-duck calls were classified into four distinct call variants, with one variant having two subtypes. Bio-duck calls were detected between April and November, with increasing call duration during the austral winter, indicating a strong seasonality in call production. Downsweeps, which were also attributed to Antarctic minke whales, were present throughout most months during the recording period, with a peak in July, and an absence in March and April. Both bio-duck and downsweeps were significantly correlated with sea ice cover. No diel patterns were observed in bio-duck calls or in downsweep call production at this site.