Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

The devil is in the detail: quantifying vocal variation in a complex, multi-levelled, and rapidly evolving display

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

DOI

Open Access permissions

Open

Abstract

Identifying and quantifying variation in vocalizations is fundamental to advancing our understanding of processes such as speciation, sexual selection, and cultural evolution. The song of the humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) presents an extreme example of complexity and cultural evolution. It is a long, hierarchically structured vocal display that undergoes constant evolutionary change. Obtaining robust metrics to quantify song variation at multiple scales (from a sound through to population variation across the seascape) is a substantial challenge. Here, we present a method to quantify song similarity at multiple levels within the hierarchy. To incorporate the complexity of these multiple levels, the calculation of similarity is weighted by measurements of sound units (lower levels within the display) to bridge the gap in information between upper and lower levels. Results demonstrate that the inclusion of weighting provides a more realistic and robust representation of song similarity at multiple levels within the display. Our method permits robust quantification of cultural patterns and processes that will also contribute to the conservation management of endangered humpback whale populations, and is applicable to any hierarchically structured signal sequence.
Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)460-472
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Volume142
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2017

    Research areas

  • Song, Sequence, Cultural evolution, Levenshtein distance, Humpback whale

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

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. Using agent-based models to understand the role of individuals in the song evolution of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae)

    Mcloughlin, M., Lamoni, L., Garland, E. C., Ingram, S., Kirke, A., Noad, M. J., Rendell, L. & Miranda, E., 2018, In : Music & Science. 1, 17 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Adapting a computational multi agent model for humpback whale song research for use as a tool for algorithmic composition

    Mcloughlin, M., Ingram, S., Rendell, L. E., Lamoni, L. U., Kirke, A., Garland, E. C., Noad, M. & Miranda, E., 31 Aug 2016, Proceedings SMC 2016. Großmann, R. & Hajdu, G. (eds.). Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg, p. 274-280 (Proceedings of the SMC Conferences).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Related by journal

  1. Animal-borne tags provide insights into the acoustic communication of southern right whales (Eubalaena australis) on the calving grounds

    Dombroski, J. R. G., Parks, S. E., Flores, P. A. C., Martín López, L. M., Shorter, K. A. & Groch, K. R., Jun 2020, In : Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 147, 6, p. EL498-EL503

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Comparison of fin whale 20 Hz call detections by deep-water mobile autonomous and stationary recorders

    Fregosi, S., Harris, D. V., Matsumoto, H., Mellinger, D. K., Negretti, C., Moretti, D. J., Martin, S. W., Matsuyama, B., Dugan, P. J. & Klinck, H., 10 Feb 2020, In : Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 147, 2, p. 961-977 17 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Fin whale acoustic presence and song characteristics in seas to the southwest of Portugal

    Pereira, A., Harris, D., Tyack, P. & Matias, L., Apr 2020, In : Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 147, 4, p. 2235-2249 15 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. High resolution three-dimensional beam radiation pattern of harbour porpoise clicks with implications for passive acoustic monitoring

    MacAulay, J. D. J., Malinka, C. E., Gillespie, D. M. & Madsen, P. T., 25 Jun 2020, In : Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 147, 6, p. 4175-4188 14 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

ID: 249439923

Top