Humpback Whale Songs Provide Insight to Population Changes
Published:22 Dec.2020    Source:Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Approximately 8,000-12,000 of the North Pacific humpback whale stock visits the shallow waters of the Hawaiian Islands seasonally to breed. During this time, mature males produce an elaborate acoustic display known as "song," which becomes the dominant source of ambient underwater sound between December and April. 

Following reports of unusually low whale numbers that began in 2015-16, researchers at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in collaboration with the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, Oceanwide Science Institute and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, examined song chorusing recorded through long-term passive acoustic monitoring at six sites off Maui, as a proxy for whale populations between September 2014 and May 2019. The findings were published in Endangered Species Research.