A sonar model for humpback whale song

  title={A sonar model for humpback whale song},
  author={L. Neil Frazer and Eduardo Mercado},
  journal={IEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering},
Humpback whales summer at high latitudes where they feed and winter at low latitudes where they aggregate for breeding. While on the breeding grounds in Hawaii, male humpbacks space themselves and "sing" the long "songs" that have fascinated scientists and poets. Female humpbacks are outnumbered by males and generally ignore or avoid singing males; however, singers often abruptly stop singing and then swim quickly toward distant nonvocalizing whales. Humpback song has usually been explained as… 

The Sonar Model for Humpback Whale Song Revised

  • E. Iii
  • Environmental Science
    Front. Psychol.
  • 2018
Why do humpback whales sing? This paper considers the hypothesis that humpback whales may use song for long range sonar. Given the vocal and social behavior of humpback whales, in several cases it is

The Sonar Model for Humpback Whale Song Revised.

  • E. Mercado
  • Environmental Science
    Frontiers in psychology
  • 2018
The model identifies acoustic and structural features produced by singing humpback whales that may facilitate a singer's ability to interpret changes in echoic scenes and suggests that interactive signal coordination by singing whales may help them to avoid mutual interference.

Song copying by humpback whales: themes and variations

Analysis of changes over 14 years in the sounds used by humpback whales singing in Hawaiian waters found that although the properties of individual sounds within songs are quite variable over time, the overall distribution of certain acoustic features within the repertoire appears to be stable.

The Nature of Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) Song

It is postulates that sexual selection in humpback whales may have both a physical and cognitive fitness component.

Humpback whale song or humpback whale sonar? A reply to Au et al

Au et al.'s arguments against the hypothesis that humpback whale songs function as long-range sonar are based on questionable assumptions rather than on empirical data. Like other echolocating

Humpback Whale Song and Foraging Behavior on an Antarctic Feeding Ground

Ten humpback whales in the Western Antarctic Peninsula were tagged in May 2010 with non-invasive, suction-cup attached tags to study foraging ecology and acoustic behavior, showing behavioral flexibility as the humpbacks manage competing needs to continue to feed and to prepare for the breeding season during late fall.

Southern Hemisphere Humpback Whale Song in Pacific Central America

While on their low-latitude breeding grounds, male humpback whales will sing presumably to advertise to females and (or) males. Individual males sing a series of units in a predictable order, and

The Nature of Humpback Whale ( Megaptera novaeangliae )

The nature of humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) song has long interested both scientists and the general public. Research strongly indicates that humpback whale song is an important component

Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) sonar: Ten predictions.

  • E. Mercado
  • Psychology
    Journal of comparative psychology
  • 2019
Comparisons with auditory processing by echolocating species provide the best indications of what humpback whales may echoically perceive, and recognizing that sonic eCholocation by whales may differ substantially from ultrasonic e cholocation in smaller species is an important step toward clarifying the role that active auditory perception plays in whale behavior.

Humpback whale songs: Do they organize males during the breeding season?

It is hypothesized that the song organizes males by providing, through its characteristics of continuous change and adoption of these changes by all nearby singers, a real time measure of association between individuals, possibly providing a means of reciprocity for mutual assistance in mating.



Humpback whale sonar

During the winter months male humpback whales produce long complex sequences of sounds which have been described as song. Current hypotheses for the function of humpback whale song speculate that it

Using broadband humpback whale vocalizations to locate nonvocal whales in shallow water

In a previous paper [Makris and Cato, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 96, 3270 (1994)], it was shown that a vocal member of a humpback whale herd can be used as a source of opportunity to locate nonvocal members


Fast moving groups containing three or more adult humpback whales are found in the winter on Silver Bank in the West Indies, and off Hawaii, and the pattern of interactions strongly suggests that the escorts are males competing for access to a central female.

Environmental constraints on sound transmission by humpback whales.

  • E. MercadoL. Frazer
  • Physics, Environmental Science
    The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America
  • 1999
Simulations based on normal-mode theory used to investigate how the effects of shallow-water propagation constrain humpback whales' use of sound showed that humpbacks can greatly affect transmission range by adjusting their positions and sounds in response to environmental factors.

Humpback Whale Song: Our Current Understanding

More than 20 years have elapsed since the first detailed descriptions of humpback whale song (Payne and McVay, 1971; Winn, Perkins and Poulter, 1971) and despite considerable attention, the function

Understanding humpback whale sonar: A physicist’s view

Just as beamforming matched filter sonar (BMF) provides a simple model for the sonar of bats and dolphins, so do recently developed matched‐field processing sonars (MFP) provide simple models for the

Acoustics and the Behavior of Sperm Whales

The first good recordings of underwater sperm whale sounds that we have were made 27 years ago (22 April 1952, R/V Caryn at 38°29′N, 69°29′W) and five years later the sounds were identified

Aggressive behavior between humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) wintering in Hawaiian waters

Repeated observations of individually identified whales indicate that escorting and singing are interchangeable reproductive roles of mature males, and incidents of aggression show a seasonal increase and decrease that parallel changes in abundance and average abundance.

Acoustic Behavior of Mysticete Whales

The most recent review of mysticete sounds was presented by Thompson et al. (1979), and Ridgway and Harrison (1985) provide some further descriptions of sound production for some of the mysticetes, while Payne (1983) presents a number of chapters on specific aspects of acoustic behavior in southern right whales and humpback whales.

Sounds of two entrapped humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in Newfoundland

A wide variety of sounds were recorded from two entrapped humpback whales, a female and a male, in Newfoundland, Canada, during the summers of 1975 and 1976.