The southeast Pacific (SEP) contains the home ranges of several migratory large whale species, determined largely based on research in coastal waters. These whales’ pelagic seasonal residency is unknown. The Juan Fernández Archipelago (JFA) is an offshore island in the SEP where passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) data collection is ongoing at the HA03 hydroacoustic station (sample rate of 250 Hz) maintained by the Preparatory Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization. Six years (2007–2009 and 2014–2016) of PAM data from HA03 were examined for the acoustic presence of Antarctic, Chilean (southeast Pacific 1, southeast Pacific 2), and southeast Indian Ocean blue whale song types; the fin whale 20-Hz song; and minke whale vocalizations. The weekly presence or absence of these six vocalization types was annotated manually by an expert analyst and then averaged across all years. For each vocalization type, the number of weeks per month with presence was averaged over all years. Consistently, we found austral wintertime presence of Antarctic blue, fin, and minke whales; and the year-round presence of Chilean blue whales. Southeast Indian Ocean blue whales were also detected, but very rarely. We discuss the possible seasonal movements of each species or acoustic group in the offshore SEP. This is the first year-round multispecies study of baleen whale in the offshore SEP and provides valuable information for understanding the migrations of endangered baleen whales in this region, highlighting the importance of offshore areas as hotspots for baleen whale biodiversity.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Acevedo J, Aguayo-Lobo A, Acuña P, Pastene LA (2006) A note on the first record of the dwarf minke whale Balaenoptera acutorostrata in Chilean waters. J Cetacean Res Manag 8:293–296
Aguayo-Lobo A, Bernal R, Olavarría C, Vallejos V, Hucke R (1998) Observaciones de cetáceos realizadas entre Valparaíso e Isla de Pascua, Chile, durante los inviernos de 1993, 1994 y 1995. Rev Biol Mar Oceanogr 33:101–123
Balcazar NE, Tripovich JS, Klinck H, Nieukirk SL, Mellinger DK, Dziak RP, Rogers TL (2015) Calls reveal population structure of blue whales across the Southeast Indian Ocean and the Southwest Pacific Ocean. J Mammal 96(6):1184–1193
Baumgartner MF, Fratantoni DM (2008) Diel periodicity in both sei whale vocalization rates and the vertical migration of their copepod prey observed from ocean gliders. Limnol Oceanogr 53 (5part2):2197–2209
Bedriñana-Romano L, Hucke-Gaete R, Viddi FA, Morales J, Williams R, Ashe E, Garces-Vargas J, Torres-Florez JP, Ruiz J (2018) Integrating multiple data sources for assessing blue whale abundance and distribution in Chilean northern Patagonia. Divers Distrib 24:991–1004.
Bioacoustic Research Program (2012) Raven Pro: Interactive Sound Analisys Software (version 1.5) [Computer Software]. Ithaca, NY: The Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Available from: http://www.birds.cornell.edu/raven
Branch TA, Stafford KM, Palacios DM, Allison C, Bannister JL, Burton CLK, Cabrera E, Carlson CA, Galletti-Vernazzani B, Gill PC, Hucke-Gaete R, Jenner KCS, Jenner M-NM, Matsouka K, Mikhalev YA, Miyashita T, Morrice MG, Nishiwaki S, Sturrock VJ, Tormosov D, Anderson RC, Baker AN, Best PB, Borsa P, Brownell RL Jr, Childerhouse S, Findlay KP, Gerrodette T, Ilangakoon AD, Joergensen M, Kahn B, Ljungblad DK, Maughan B, McCauley RD, McKay S, Norris TF, Oman Whale And Dolphin Research Group, Rankin S, Samaran F, Thiele D, Van Waerebeek K, Warneke RM (2007) Past and present distribution, densities and movements of blue whales Balaenoptera musculus in the southern hemisphere and northern Indian Ocean. Mammal Rev 37:116–175
Buchan SJ, Quiñones RQ (2016) First insights into the oceanographic characteristics of a blue whale feeding ground in northern Patagonia, Chile. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 554:183–199
Buchan SJ, Hucke-Gaete R, Rendell L, Stafford KM (2014) A new song recorded from blue whales in the Corcovado Gulf, Southern Chile, and an acoustic link to the Eastern Tropical Pacific. Endanger Species Res 23:241–252
Buchan SJ, Stafford KM, Hucke-Gaete R (2015) Seasonal occurrence of Southeast Pacific blue whale songs in southern Chile and the eastern tropical Pacific. Mar Mamm Sci 31:440–458
Buchan SJ, Hucke-Gaete R, Stafford KM, Clark CW (2018) Occasional acoustic presence of Antarctic blue whales on a feeding ground in southern Chile. Mar Mamm Sci 34(1):220–228
Buchan SJ, Gutierrez L, Balcazar-Cabrera N, Stafford KM (2019) Seasonal occurrence of fin whale song off Juan Fernandez, Chile. Endanger Species Res 39:135–145
Capella J, Vilina Y, Gibbons J (1999) Observación de cetáceos en isla Chañaral y nuevos registros para el área de la reserva nacional Pingüino de Humboldt, Norte de Chile. Estud Oceanol 18:57–64
Cerchio S, Collins T, Mashburn S, Clark C & Rosenbaum H (2010) Acoustic evidence of blue whales and other baleen whale vocalizations off northern Angola. Paper presented at IWC SC/62/SH13. Available from iwc.Int.
Cummings W, Thompson P (1971) Underwater sounds from the blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus. J Acoust Soc America 50:1193–1198
Friedlander AM, Ballesteros E, Caselle JE, Gaymer CF, Palma AT, Petit I, Varas E, Muñoz Wilson A, Sala E (2016) Marine biodiversity in Juan Fernandez and Desventuradas Islands, Chile: global endemism hotspots. PLoS One 11:e0145059
Galletti-Vernazzani B, Cabrera E, Brownell RL Jr (2014) Eastern South Pacific southern right whale photo-identification catalog reveals behavior and habitat use patterns. Mar Mamm Sci 30:389–398
Galletti Vernazzani B, Jackson JA, Cabrera E, Carlson CA, Brownell RL (2017) Estimates of abundance and trend of chilean blue whales off Isla de Chiloé, Chile. PLoS One 12(1):e0168646
Gedamke J, Robinson SM (2010) Acoustic survey for marine mammal occurrence and distribution off East Antarctica (30–80°E) in January–February 2006. Deep-Sea Res II 57:968–981
Häussermann V, Gutstein CS, Beddington M, Cassis D, Olavarria C, Dale AC, Valenzuela-Toro AM, Perez-Alvarez M, Sepulveda HH, McConnell KM, Horwitz FE, Försterra G (2017) Largest baleen whale mass mortality during strong El Niño event is likely related to harmful toxic algal bloom. PeerJ 5:e3123
Hucke-Gaete R, Osman LP, Moreno CA, Findlay KP, Ljungblad DK (2004) Discovery of a blue whale feeding and nursing ground in southern Chile. Proc R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 271(Suppl 4):S170–S173
Hucke-Gaete R, Bedriñana-Romano L, Viddi FA, Ruiz JE, Torres-Florez JP, Zerbini AN (2018) From Chilean Patagonia to Galapagos, Ecuador: novel insights on blue whale migratory pathways along the eastern South Pacific. PeerJ 6:e4695
Jacobs E, Duffy M, Magolan J, Galletti Vernazzani B, Cabrera E, Landea R, Buchan S, Sayigh L (2019). First acoustic recordings of critically endangered eastern South Pacific southern right whales (Eubalaena australis). Mar Mammal Sci 35(1): 284–289
Kaschner K (2007) Air-breathing visitors to seamounts. Section A: marine mammals. In: Pitcher TJ, Morato T, Hart PJB, Clark MR, Haggan N et al., Eds. Seamounts: ecology, fisheries & conservation. Oxford: Blackwell. pp. 230–238
Kellogg R (1929) What is known of the migrations of some of the whalebone whales. Smithsonian Inst Ann Rep:467–494
McCauley RD, Jenner C., Bannister JL, Burton CLK, Cato DH, Duncan A (2001) Blue whale calling in the Rottnest Trench—2000, Western Australia. Prepared for environment Australia, from Centre for Marine Science and Technology, Curtin University, R2001-6
Mellinger D, Carson C, Clark C (2000) Characteristics of minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) pulse trains recorded near Puerto Rico. Mar Mamm Sci 16:739–756
Morato T, Varkey DA, Damaso C, Machete M, Santos M, Prieto R, Santos R, Pitcher TJ (2008) Evidence of a seamount effect on aggregating visitors. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 357:23–32
Oleson EM, Wiggins S, Hildebrand JA (2007) Temporal separation of blue whale call types on a southern California feeding ground. Anim Behav 74:881–894
Pérez MJ, Thomas F, Uribe F, Sepúlveda M, Flores M, Moraga R (2006) Fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) feeding on Euphausia mucronata in nearshore waters off north-Central Chile. Aq Mamm 32(1):109
Pitcher TJ, Morato T, Hart PJB, Clark MR, Haggan N, Santos RS (eds) (2007) Seamounts: ecology, fisheries, and conservation, vol. 12. Blackwell, Oxford, p 527
Probert PK, Christensen K, Gjerde M, Gubbay S, Santos RS (2007) Management and conservation of seamounts (Chapter 20). In: Pitcher TJ, Morato T, Hart PJB, Clark MR, Haggan N, Santos RS (eds) Seamounts: ecology, fisheries, and conservation, vol. 12. Blackwell, Oxford, pp 442–475
Rankin S, Ljungblad D, Clark C, Kato H (2005) Vocalisations of Antarctic blue whales, Balaenoptera musculus intermedia, recorded during the 2001/2002 and 2002/2003 IWC/SOWER circumpolar cruises, area V, Antarctica. J Cet Res Manag 7:13–20
Risch D, Gales NJ, Gedamke J, Kindermann L, Nowacek DP, Read AJ, Siebert U, Van Opzeeland IC, Van Parijs SM, Friedlaender AS (2014) Mysterious bio-duck sound attributed to the Antarctic minke whale (Balaenoptera bonaerensis). Biol Lett 10(4):20140175
Samaran F, Stafford KM, Branch TA, Gedamke J, Royer JY, Dziak RP, Guinet C (2013) Seasonal and geographic variation of southern blue whale subspecies in the Indian Ocean. PLoS One 8(8):e71561
Samaran F, Berne A, Leroy EC, Moreira S, Stafford KM, Maia M, Royer J (2019) Antarctic blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus intermedia) recorded at the equator in the Atlantic Ocean. Mar Mam Sci 35:641–648.
Schevill WE, Watkins WA (1972) Intense low-frequency sounds from an Antarctic minke whale, Balaenoptera acutorostrata. Breviora 388:1–8
Sepúlveda M, Pérez-Álvarez MJ, Santos-Carvallo M, Pavez G, Olavarría C, Moraga R, Zerbini A (2018) From whaling to whale watching: identifying fin whale critical foraging habitats off the Chilean coast. Aq Conserv Mar Freshw Ecosyst:1–9
Širović A, Hildebrand JA, Wiggins SM, Thiele D (2009) Blue and fin whale acoustic presence around Antarctica during 2003 and 2004. Mar Mamm Sci 25:125–136
Širović A, Williams LN, Kerosky SM, Wiggins SM, Hildebrand J (2013) Temporal separation of two fin whale call types across the eastern North Pacific. Mar Biol 160:47–57
Spalding MD, Fox HE, Allen GR, Davidson N, Ferdaña ZA, Finlayson M, Halpern BS, Jorge MA, Lombana A, Lourie SA, Martin KD, McManus E, Molnar J, Recchia CA, Robertson J (2007) Marine ecoregions of the world: a bioregionalization of coastal and shelf areas. BioScience 57(7):573–583
Stafford KM, Nieukirk SL, Fox CG (1999) Low-frequency whale sounds recorded on hydrophones moored in the eastern tropical Pacific. J Acoust Soc Am 106:3687–3698
Stafford KM, Bohnenstiehl DR, Tolstoy M, Chapp E, Mellinger DK, Moore SE (2004) Antarctic-type blue whale calls recorded at low latitudes in the Indian and eastern Pacific Oceans. Deep Sea Res Part I: Oceanogr Res Pap 51(10):1337–1346
Stafford KM, Chapp E, Bohnenstiel DR, Tolstoy M (2011) Seasonal detection of three types of “pygmy” blue whale calls in the Indian Ocean. Mar Mamm Sci 27:828–840
Stimpert AK, Peavey LE, Fiedlaender AS, Nowacek DP (2012) Humpback whale song and foraging behaviour on an Antarctic feeding ground. PlosONE 7(12):e51214.
Thompson PO, Cummings WC, Ha SJ (1986) Sounds, source levels, and associated behavior of humpback whales, Southeast Alaska. J Acoust Soc Am 80(3):735–740
Toro F, Vilina YA, Capella JJ, Gibbons J (2016) Novel coastal feeding area for eastern South Pacific fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) in mid-latitude Humboldt current waters off Chile. Aq Mamm 42(1):47–55
Visser F, Hartman KL, Pierce GJ, Valavanis VD, Huisman J (2011) Timing of migratory baleen whales at the Azores in relation to the North Atlantic spring bloom. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 440:267–279
Watkins W (1981) Activities and underwater sounds of fin whales. Sci Rep Whales Res Inst 33:83–117
Wenz GM (1962) Acoustic ambient noise in the ocean: spectra and source. J Acoust Soc Am 34:1936–1956
We would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their comments, which helped to significantly improve this manuscript. We would like to thank the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) and the Chilean Commission of Nuclear Energy (CCHEN) for proving the data used in this study.
S.J.B. and N.B.C. were supported by COPAS Sur-Austral ANID PIA APOYO CCTE AFB170006. S.J.B. was also supported during analysis and writing by a grant to the Centro de Estudios Avanzados en Zonas Áridas (CEAZA) from CONICYT Fortalecimiento de Centros Regionales, Programa Regional R16A10003.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed by the authors. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors. This article does not contain studies where permits for sampling are required.
Sampling and field studies
No fieldwork or sampling was carried out in this study.
The datasets generated during and/or analyzed during the current study are available through a contract agreement with Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Organization (https://www.ctbto.org/).
All authors contributed to study conception, design, and data analysis. All authors commented on all previous versions of the manuscript and read and approved the final manuscript.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
Communicated by S. E. Lluch-Cota
About this article
Cite this article
Buchan, S.J., Balcazar-Cabrera, N. & Stafford, K.M. Seasonal acoustic presence of blue, fin, and minke whales off the Juan Fernández Archipelago, Chile (2007–2016). Mar. Biodivers. 50, 76 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12526-020-01087-3
- Baleen whales
- Southeast Pacific
- Passive acoustic monitoring