Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Habitat use of culturally distinct Galápagos sperm whale Physeter macrocephalus clans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

DOI

Open Access Status

  • Embargoed (until 7/01/20)

Abstract

Ecological niche is traditionally defined at the species level, but individual niches can vary considerably within species. Research on intra-specific niche variation has been focussed on intrinsic drivers. However, differential transmission of socially learned behaviours can also lead to intra-specific niche variation. In sperm whales Physeter macrocephalus, social transmission of information is thought to generate culturally distinct clans, which at times occur sympatrically. Clans have distinct dialects, foraging success rates, and movement patterns, but whether the niches of clan members are also different remains unknown. We evaluated the differences in habitat use of clans off the Galápagos Islands, using data collected over 63 encounters between 1985 and 2014. During encounters, we recorded geographic positions, determined clan identity through analysis of group vocalizations and individual associations, and used topographical and oceanographic variables as proxies of sperm whale prey distribution. We used logistic generalized additive models, fitted with generalized estimating equations to account for spatiotemporal autocorrelation, to predict clan identity as a function of the environment descriptors. Oceanographic variables marginally contributed to differentiating clans. Clan identity could be predicted almost entirely based on geographic location. This fine-scale, within-region spatial partitioning likely derives from whales preferring areas where members of their clans occur over temporal scales of a few months to a few years. By identifying differences in clans’ space use, we have uncovered another level of sperm whale life that is likely influenced by their cultural nature.
Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-270
JournalMarine Ecology Progress Series
Volume609
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jan 2019

    Research areas

  • Habitat preference, Cetacean, Culture, Generalized additive model, GAM, Generalized estimating equation, GEE, Galápagos

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Habitat use of a coastal delphinid population investigated using passive acoustic monitoring

    Palmer, K., Brookes, K. L., Davies, I. M., Edwards, E. & Rendell, L. E., 6 Sep 2019, In : Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems. 29, S1, p. 254-270

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Migratory convergence facilitates cultural transmission of humpback whale song

    Owen, C., Rendell, L., Constantine, R., Noad, M. J., Allen, J., Andrews, O., Garrigue, C., Poole, M. M., Donnelly, D., Hauser, N. & Garland, E. C., 4 Sep 2019, In : Royal Society Open Science. 6, 9, 15 p., 190337.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Causes and consequences of female centrality in cetacean societies

    Rendell, L. E., Cantor, M., Gero, S., Whitehead, H. & Mann, J., Sep 2019, In : Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. B, Biological Sciences. 374, 1780, 13 p., 20180066.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

  4. The reach of gene-culture coevolution in animals

    Whitehead, H., Laland, K. N., Rendell, L., Thorogood, R. & Whiten, A., 3 Jun 2019, In : Nature Communications. 10, 10 p., 2405.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

  5. Animal cultures matter for conservation

    Brakes, P., Dall, S. R. X., Aplin, L. M., Bearhop, S., Carroll, E. L., Ciucci, P., Fishlock, V., Ford, J. K. B., Garland, E. C., Keith, S. A., McGregor, P. K., Mesnick, S. L., Noad, M. J., Notarbartolo di Sciara, G., Robbins, M. M., Simmonds, M. P., Spina, F., Thornton, A., Wade, P. R., Whiting, M. J. & 5 others, Williams, J., Rendell, L., Whitehead, H., Whiten, A. & Rutz, C., 8 Mar 2019, In : Science. 363, 6431, p. 1032-1034 5 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related by journal

  1. Marine Ecology Progress Series (Journal)

    Joanna Louise Kershaw (Member of editorial board)
    12 Jul 2019

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPeer review of manuscripts

  2. Marine Ecology Progress Series (Journal)

    Sophie Caroline Smout (Reviewer)
    1 Mar 201630 Mar 2016

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPeer review of manuscripts

  3. Marine Ecology Progress Series (Journal)

    Nora Nell Hanson (Reviewer)
    Dec 2013

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPeer review of manuscripts

  4. Marine Ecology Progress Series (Journal)

    Andrew Stuart Brierley (Editor)
    20092011

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

Related by journal

  1. Behavioural ontogeny of bearded seals Erignathus barbatus through the first year of life

    Hamilton, C. D., Lydersen, C., Fedak, M. A., Freitas, C., Hindell, M. A. & Kovacs, K. M., 26 Sep 2019, In : Marine Ecology Progress Series. 627, p. 179-194

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Sex differences in migration and demography of a wide-ranging seabird, the northern gannet

    Deakin, Z., Hamer, K. C., Sherley, R. B., Bearhop, S., Bodey, T. W., Clark, B. L., Grecian, W. J., Gummery, M., Lane, J., Morgan, G., Morgan, L., Phillips, R. A., Wakefield, E. D. & Votier, S. C., 18 Jul 2019, In : Marine Ecology Progress Series. 622, p. 191-201 11 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Spatio-temporal patterns in fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) habitat use in the northern Gulf of St. Lawrence

    Schleimer, A. C. H., Ramp, C., Plourde, S., Lehoux, C., Sears, R. & Hammond, P. S., 30 Jul 2019, In : Marine Ecology Progress Series. 623, p. 221-234

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Context-dependent reduction in somatic condition of wild Atlantic salmon infested with sea lice

    Susdorf, R., Salama, N., Todd, C. D., Hillman, R., Elsmere, P. & Lusseau, D., 15 Nov 2018, In : Marine Ecology Progress Series. 606, p. 91-104

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

ID: 257396145

Top