Evaluating the function of the male harbour seal, Phoca vitulina, roar through playback experiments

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Hayes, S. A., Kumar, A., Costa, D. P., Mellinger, D. K., Harvey, J. T., Southall, B. L., & Le Boeuf, B. J. (2004). Evaluating the function of the male harbour seal, Phoca vitulina, roar through playback experiments. Animal Behaviour, 67(6), 1133-1139. doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2003.06.019
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TitleEvaluating the function of the male harbour seal, Phoca vitulina, roar through playback experiments
AuthorsS. Hayes, A. Kumar, D. Costa, D. Mellinger, J. Harvey, B. Southall, B. Le Boeuf
AbstractThe aim of this study was to evaluate the role of vocalizations produced during the breeding season by the male harbour seal, an aquatically breeding pinniped. During the spring of 1999, playback experiments were conducted at eight locations in Elkhorn Slough, California, U.S.A. Through an underwater speaker, we presented male harbour seals with three acoustic stimuli: a long-duration, low-frequency roar (LL), a short-duration, high-frequency roar (SH) and amplified water noise (control). Male responses to the playback boat were characterized by increased approach rates and aggressive flipper slapping during 62.5% of SH sessions (N=8), 25% of LL sessions (N=8) and 0% of control sessions (N=8). No more than one identifiable seal responded during each playback location. We observed no responses by female harbour seals to playbacks. We conclude from these experiments that territorial male harbour seals use roars given by intruders to locate and challenge intruders. © 2004 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
JournalAnimal Behaviour
Date2004
Volume67
Issue6
Start page1133
End page1139
ISSN0003-3472
Subjectsbreeding season, pinniped, territoriality, vocalization, California, Elkhorn Slough, North America, United States, Phoca, Phoca vitulina, Phocidae, Pinnipedia
NoteCited By (since 1996):11, Marine Mammals, Birds & Turtles, CODEN: ANBEA

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