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The influence of behavioural context on Weddell seal (Leptonychotes weddellii) airborne mother-pup vocalisation


Collins, KT and McGreevy, PD and Wheatley, KE and Harcourt, RG, The influence of behavioural context on Weddell seal (Leptonychotes weddellii) airborne mother-pup vocalisation, Behavioural Processes, 87, (3) pp. 286-290. ISSN 0376-6357 (2011) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2011 Elsevier B.V.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.beproc.2011.06.005


Previous mammalian studies have demonstrated that varying levels of signaller arousal are frequently expressed through vocal behaviour. The potential for callers to convey their motivational state may ensure that recipient responses are appropriate to their needs. The current study investigated the influence of behavioural context on Weddell seal mother-pup vocalisation. Mother and pup call rates were calculated within five and seven behavioural contexts, respectively, and the acoustic characteristics of 69 pup calls were measured within four contexts (total calls = 276). Context significantly influenced the temporal patterning of calls, with reuniting mothers and pups and lone active pups emitting more calls than during mother-pup contact periods. Reuniting and lone pup calls were also characterised by longer durations, higher fundamental frequencies, and increased energy in upper harmonics. Results suggest that reunion events and lone pup searching are characterised by calls reflective of heightened arousal, compared with mother-pup contact periods.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Mother-offspring communication; Vocalisation; Acoustic characteristics; Arousal
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Zoology
Research Field:Animal behaviour
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Marine systems and management
Objective Field:Marine biodiversity
UTAS Author:Wheatley, KE (Dr Kathryn Wheatley)
ID Code:78360
Year Published:2011
Web of Science® Times Cited:16
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2012-06-22
Last Modified:2012-10-29

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