Have you ever wondered what sounds minke whales make? Given that they had never been acoustically recorded in the eastern North Pacific, we wondered too. Thanks to a collaboration with University of Victoria marine mammal acoustics expert Katrina Nikolich and funding from Mountain Equipment Co-op and the North Island Marine Mammal Stewardship Association, our research on this topic is now published!
Minke whales DO vocalize while off the coast of British Columbia.
Spectrogram analysis revealed that the minke whales we studied off northern Vancouver Island occasionally emit very quick and barely audible downsweeps and pulse chains. Sexual segregation, predation risk and acoustic masking (vessel noise) are all proposed as reasons why this small cryptic baleen whale doesn’t have much to say.
For the full report, please click here. The first 50 downloads are free!
Note that our previous research reveals that rather than there being many minke whales off NE Vancouver Island, it’s the same individuals over and over again.
MERS Minke Whale Research Papers:
- Katrina Nikolich & Jared R. Towers (2018): Vocalizations of common minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) in an eastern North Pacific feeding ground. Bioacoustics. DOI:10.1080/09524622.2018.1555716
- Towers, J.R, C.J. McMillan, M. Malleson, J. Hildering, J.K.B. Ford, and G.M. Ellis (2013): Seasonal movements and ecological markers as evidence for migration of common minke whales photo-identified in the eastern North Pacific. J. Cetacean Res. Manage. 13(3):221-229.