Two unit analysis of Sri Lankan pygmy blue whale song over a decade.

Academic Article


  • Sri Lankan pygmy blue whale song consists of three repeated units: (1) low frequency pulsive unit, (2) frequency modulated (FM) upsweep, and (3) long tonal downsweep. The Unit 2 FM unit has up to three visible upsweeps with energy concentrated at approximately 40, 50, and 60 Hz, while the Unit 3 (∼100 Hz) tonal downsweep is the most distinct unit lasting 20-30 s. Spectral characteristics of the Units 2 and 3 song elements, along with ocean sound levels, were analyzed in the Indian Ocean from 2002 to 2013. The peak frequency of the tonal Unit 3 calls decreased from approximately 106.5 to 100.7 Hz over a decade corresponding to a 5.4% decrease. Over the same time period, the frequency content of the Unit 2 upsweeps did not change as dramatically with only a 3.1% change. Ambient sound levels in the vocalization bands did not exhibit equivalent patterns in amplitude trends. Analysis showed no increase in the ambient sound or compensated peak amplitude levels of the tonal downsweeps, eliminating the presence of a Lombard effect. Here it is proposed that each song unit may convey different information and thus may be responding to different selective pressures.
  • Authors

  • Miksis-Olds, Jennifer
  • Nieukirk, Sharon L
  • Harris, Danielle V
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • December 2018
  • Has Subject Area

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 30599686
  • Start Page

  • 3618
  • Volume

  • 144
  • Issue

  • 6