Changes in Vocal Behavior of North Atlantic Right Whales in Increased Noise

  • Susan E. Parks
  • Mack P. Johnson
  • Douglas P. Nowacek
  • Peter L. Tyack
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 730)


Social communication requires the detection and recognition of a signal from a sender by a receiver. Sources of noise in the environment can limit the range for successful detection of signals (Brumm and Slabbekoorn 2005; Wiley and Richards 1978). A number of compensation mechanisms are used by individuals producing acoustic communication signals in increased noise to increase the probability of detection. These types of changes are called “vocal adjustments,” indicating that changes in sound production occur over short time scales, with individuals actively changing their signals in response to exposure to changing noise levels (Patricelli and Blickley 2006). This plasticity enables animals to compensate actively for changing noise spectra and levels in their environment. A diverse range of vertebrate taxa, ranging from small bird species to marine mammals, exhibit similar “vocal adjustment” capabilities (Brumm and Slabbekoorn 2005; Tyack 2008).


Marine Mammal Sound Production Vocal Behavior Distant Shipping Background Noise Level 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan E. Parks
    • 1
  • Mack P. Johnson
    • 2
  • Douglas P. Nowacek
    • 3
  • Peter L. Tyack
    • 2
  1. 1.Applied Research LaboratoryThe Pennsylvania State UniversityState CollegeUSA
  2. 2.Woods Hole Oceanographic InstitutionWoods HoleUSA
  3. 3.Duke University Marine LaboratoryBeaufortUSA

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