Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Humpback Whales Recorded Clicking And Buzzing While Feeding For First Time

Date:
September 2, 2007
Source:
National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration
Summary:
For the first time, researchers have recorded "megapclicks" -- a series of clicks and buzzes from humpback whales apparently associated with nighttime feeding behaviors -- in and around NOAA's Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. This acoustically active species has been known to produce complex "songs" on their breeding grounds, but knowledge of sound production on northern feeding grounds has been limited.

Whale researcher from the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary carefully placing a suction-cup mounted acoustic recording tag on a humpback whale to study its movements and acoustic behavior.
Credit: NOAA

For the first time, researchers have recorded “megapclicks” — a series of clicks and buzzes from humpback whales apparently associated with nighttime feeding behaviors — in and around NOAA’s Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary.

Related Articles


As detailed in the most recent issue of the Royal Society journal Biology Letters, this study offers the first documentation that baleen whales produce this type of sound, normally associated with toothed whales and echolocation.

“We’ve known that humpback whales exhibit a variety of foraging behaviors and vocalizations, but these animals as well as other baleen whales were not known to produce broadband clicks in association with feeding,” said David Wiley, sanctuary research coordinator and leader of the research team. “However, recent work with special acoustic tags has made us reexamine our previous assumptions, with this expansion of the acoustic repertoire of humpback whales.”

The research team from the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, University of New Hampshire, and NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuary Program used multi-sensor acoustic tags attached with suction cups to study whale behavior. The data provided a record of the whales’ underwater movements, including heading, pitch, roll, and sounds made and heard. During the tagging studies, broadband clicks were recorded exclusively during nighttime hours. Sharp body rolls also occurred at the end of click bouts containing buzzes, suggesting feeding episodes.

Alison Stimpert of the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, the lead author on the paper, labeled the sounds “megapclicks” based on their form and the scientific name for humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae). This acoustically active species has been known to produce complex “songs” on their breeding grounds, but knowledge of sound production on northern feeding grounds has been limited.

The researchers report that the similarity of the megapclicks to sounds made by toothed whales suggests echolocation-assisted feeding behaviors, especially where buzzes at the end of a series of clicks appear to be associated with attempts to capture prey. The sounds may also be used to detect the sea floor or other large targets. Another possibility for the megapclicks could be to attract prey, such as herding schools of fish or chasing animals out of the sediments. But the research team notes that a lack of knowledge about baleen whale hearing and sound production prevents any definitive answers at this time about the function of the megapclicks.

Additional humpback whale tagging studies completed earlier this summer in the Stellwagen Bank sanctuary may provide further insights into sound production in northern feeding grounds.

The report appeared in the Aug. 8, 2007 on-line issue of Biology Letters. Funding for the project was provided by NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuary Program and the University of Hawaii Sea Grant College Program. Research was conducted under National Marine Fisheries Service permit no. 981-1707-00.

Recordings of clicking and buzzing whales can be found here. http://stellwagen.noaa.gov/pgallery/sounds.html


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration. "Humpback Whales Recorded Clicking And Buzzing While Feeding For First Time." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 September 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070901084549.htm>.
National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration. (2007, September 2). Humpback Whales Recorded Clicking And Buzzing While Feeding For First Time. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070901084549.htm
National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration. "Humpback Whales Recorded Clicking And Buzzing While Feeding For First Time." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070901084549.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) In Africa's only biosafety level 4 laboratory, scientists have been carrying out experiments on bats to understand how virus like Ebola are being transmitted, and how some of them resist to it. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 27, 2014) A British palaeontologist has discovered a new species of dinosaur while studying fossils in a Canadian museum. Pentaceratops aquilonius was related to Triceratops and lived at the end of the Cretaceous Period, around 75 million years ago. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) Tryptophan, a chemical found naturally in turkey meat, gets blamed for sleepiness after Thanksgiving meals. But science points to other culprits. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) The iconic piano from "Casablanca" and the Cowardly Lion suit from "The Wizard of Oz" fetch millions at auction. Sara Hemrajani reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins