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Discussion papers | Copyright
https://doi.org/10.5194/os-2018-64
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 09 Jul 2018

Research article | 09 Jul 2018

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Ocean Science (OS).

Discovering sounds in Patagonia, characterizing sei whale (Balaenoptera borealis) downsweeps in the south-eastern Pacific Ocean

Sonia Español-Jiménez1, Paulina A. Bahamonde1,2, Gustavo Chiang1, and Verena Häussermann3 Sonia Español-Jiménez et al.
  • 1MERI Foundation, Avenida Kennedy 5682, Santiago de Chile, Chile
  • 2Núcleo Milenio INVASAL, Concepción, Chile
  • 3Facultad de Ciencias Naturales, Escuela de Ciencias del Mar, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, Avenida Brasil 2950, Valparaíso, Chile

Abstract. Sei whales (Balaenoptera borealis) is the least known whale species. Information on sei whale´s vocalizations in the south-eastern Pacific Ocean and its regional variability are even more scarce than that from other ocean areas. This research presents the first characterization of sei whale sounds recorded in Chile during austral autumn of 2016 and 2017. A total of 41 calls have been attributed to sei whale’s downsweeps. In 2016, calls ranged from an average maximum frequency of 105.3Hz down to an average minimum 35.6Hz over 1.6s with a peak frequency of 65.4Hz. During 2017, calls ranged from an average maximum frequency of 93.3Hz down to 42.2Hz (over 1.6s) with a peak frequency of 68.3Hz. The absolute minimum frequency recorded was 30Hz and the absolute maximum frequency was 129.4Hz. Calls generally occurred in pairs, but triplets or singles were also registered. These low frequency sounds share characteristics with recordings of sei whales near the Hawaii Islands, but with differences in the maximum frequencies and duration. These calls distinctly differ from sounds previously described for sei whales in the Southern Ocean and are the first documented sei whale calls in the South-eastern Pacific.

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Sei whales are one of the least known baleen whales. We found them in southern Chile, on the Patagonian coasts. There we sailed on 2016 and 2017 to set hydrophones up in The Penas Gulf, to investigate how this Patagonian sei whales might be communicating. We could identify sei whale’s downsweeps calls (a type of vocalization that starts at a high frequency and ends at a lower). We found that sei whales at Penas Gulf perform calls distinctly differ from sounds previously described.
Sei whales are one of the least known baleen whales. We found them in southern Chile, on the...
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