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      Individual right whales call louder in increased environmental noise

      1 , 2 , 3 , 2

      Biology Letters

      The Royal Society

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          Abstract

          The ability to modify vocalizations to compensate for environmental noise is critical for successful communication in a dynamic acoustic environment. Many marine species rely on sound for vital life functions including communication, navigation and feeding. The impacts of significant increases in ocean noise levels from human activities are a current area of concern for the conservation of marine mammals. Here, we document changes in calling behaviour by individual endangered North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis) in increased background noise. Right whales, like several bird and primate species, respond to periods of increased noise by increasing the amplitude of their calls. This behaviour may help maintain the communication range with conspecifics during periods of increased noise. These call modifications have implications for conservation efforts for right whales, affecting both the way whales use sound to communicate and our ability to detect them with passive acoustic monitoring systems.

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          Most cited references 16

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          A digital acoustic recording tag for measuring the response of wild marine mammals to sound

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            Acoustic Communication in Noise

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              Ecology. North Atlantic right whales in crisis.

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Biology Letters
                Biol. Lett.
                The Royal Society
                1744-9561
                1744-957X
                August 11 2010
                February 23 2011
                July 07 2010
                February 23 2011
                : 7
                : 1
                : 33-35
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Applied Research Laboratory, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16804, USA
                [2 ]Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 45 Water Street, Woods Hole, MA 02543, USA
                [3 ]Nicholas School of the Environment and Pratt School of Engineering, Duke University, 135 Duke Marine Lab Road, Beaufort, NC 28516, USA
                Article
                10.1098/rsbl.2010.0451
                3030867
                20610418
                © 2011

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