, Volume 165, Issue 1, pp 279-284

Variations in underwater vocalizations of Weddell seals (Leptonychotes weddelli) at the Vestfold Hills as a measure of breeding population discreteness

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Abstract

Weddell seal vocalizations from Davis Station showed similarities to those from McMurdo Sound and Palmer Peninsula, but none were identical. One vocalization, DD1, was unique to Davis Station. At all sites trills, or territorial defense calls, were the most common and had more types than other calls. Chugs, an aggressive sound, were common at all sites. Weddell seal calls from Davis Station showed similarities to sounds from McMurdo by sharing the use of prefixes and suffixes. Sounds from Davis Station shared the use of both ascending and descending trills and whistles with calls from Palmer Peninsula.

Commonalities in underwater vocalizations may indicate the degree of mixing between breeding populations, in which case, Weddell seals in the Davis area probably are from a breeding population distinct from those at either McMurdo Sound or Palmer Peninsula.