Identification of two potential whale calls in the southern Indian Ocean, and their geographic and seasonal occurrence. Academic Article uri icon


  • Since passive acoustic monitoring is widely used, unidentified acoustic signals from marine mammals are commonly reported. The signal characteristics and emission patterns are the main clues to identify the possible sources. In this study, the authors describe two previously unidentified sounds, recorded at up to five widely-spaced sites (30 × 30 degree area) in the southern Indian Ocean, in 2007 and between 2010 and 2015. The first reported signal (M-call) consists of a single tonal unit near 22?Hz and lasting about 10?s, repeated with an interval longer than 2?min. This signal is only detected in 2007. The second signal (P-call) is also a tonal unit of 10?s, repeated every 160?s, but at a frequency near 27?Hz. Its yearly number increased greatly between 2007 and 2010, and moderately since then. Based on their characteristics and seasonal patterns, this study shows that both signals are clearly distinct from any known calls of blue whale subspecies and populations dwelling in the southern Indian Ocean. However, they display similarities with blue whale vocalizations. More particularly, the P-call can be mistaken for the first tonal unit of the Antarctic blue whale Z-call.

publication date

  • September 2017