Whale-call response to masking boat noise

Journal Article

Title: Whale-call response to masking boat noise
Publication Date:
April 29, 2004
Journal: Nature
Volume: 428
Publisher: Nature

Document Access

Website: External Link


Foote, A.; Osborne, R.; Hoelzel, R. (2004). Whale-call response to masking boat noise. Nature, 428.

Background noise can interfere with the detection and discrimination of crucial signals among members of a species. Here we investigate the vocal behaviour in the presence and absence of whale-watcher boat traffic of three social groups (pods) of killer whales (Orcinus orca) living in the nearshore waters of Washington state. We find longer call durations in the presence of boats for all three pods, but only in recent recordings made following a period of increasing boat traffic. This result indicates that these whales adjust their behaviour to compensate for anthropogenic noise once it reaches a threshold level.

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