, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 41-46

Song of the humpback whale — Population comparisons

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Humpback whale songs recorded on tropical calving grounds exhibit different dialects depending on the oceanic basin. Songs sampled simultaneously from two populations in the North Pacific (Hawaii and Mexico) were essentially identical. These North Pacific songs were clearly different from the song type shared by two populations in the North Atlantic (Cape Verde Islands and West Indies). Songs from the Southern Hemisphere (Tonga) represent a third distinct dialect. Our evidence shows that, despite annual change in song organization, significant differences in humpback song occur between isolated ocean basins, while only subtle differences exist within an oceanic population (Hawaii and Pacific Mexico).