Male Fin Whales Spread Their Songs Across the Sea

They have multiple song patterns and spread them to other whale groups.

Finback或Fin鲸游泳水域在达纳点外,加利福尼亚州
Fin whale off the coast of Dana Point in Southern California. Vicki Jauron, Babylon and Beyond Photography / Getty Images

Whales communicate with all sorts of noises, but some species are most well known for theirsinging。驼背鲸厂complex vocalizations。Males may make these haunting sounds to attract mates, to communicate their location, or to ascertain the friendliness of other males.

Fin whales also sing. The second-largest mammal in the world after blue whales, these massive whales are found in all the major oceans. They’re known for their namesake dorsal fin and distinctive coloring: dark on top and white underneath. And, until a recent study, scientists thought that the male fin whale sang just one simple pattern of notes and that song was distinct to the males in his own group and region.

“此前,海洋哺乳动物科学家认为,单级鲸鱼占据了一首歌曲模式,”在圣地亚哥的海军信息战中的海军信息战中的泰勒·赫布尔研究了联合作者亮相。“他们认为每组每个群体都使用了一个可以用来识别该群体的独特节奏。”

The study, published in海洋科学的边疆, suggests that these gigantic sea mammals not only have several different songs, but they can spread them to other parts of the ocean, likely through migrating whales

对于该研究,研究人员使用了叫做Hydrophers的水下麦克风,以2011年1月至2017年1月至2017年1月至1月的六年期间,记录了115鲸遭遇的歌曲和地点。

Though the hydrophones were in place year-round, they only heard whale songs from late fall to early spring each year. Male fin whales in the Pacific emit just two distinct very low notes. They produce them in various rhythms to create a song. Researchers found that fin whales sang primarily in five different song patterns.

“We found fin whale song to be much more complex than what had been described in previous research,” Helble says. “Individual fin whales actually interweave multiple song patterns together in their repertoire.”

Cultural Transmission

Fin whales are listed as endangered under the濒危物种法案and as vulnerable on theInternational Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List。Nearly725,000 fin whaleswere killed by hunters for fat, bone, and oil in the Southern Hemisphere through the late 1970s, until commercial whaling ended. The IUCN estimates there are about 100,000 animals today with numbers increasing.

Fin whales are migratory, with complex movement patterns as they go seasonally from breeding to feeding locations. It’s during these migrations that the males could be sharing their songs with males from other groups, researchers say.

“这项研究有迹象表明,鳍鲸歌是比以前想到的更流体,而这首歌可能通过人口之间的文化传播而改变,”海军信息战争中心太平洋,讲述了TreeHugger。

“The fin whale population size and structure in the North Pacific is still very uncertain, and so learning about the song could help us understand population dynamics in this region. Ultimately, this understanding can help us better manage and protect one of the world’s largest animals.”