Call diversity in the North Pacific killer whale populations: implications for dialect evolution and population history

Filatova, Olga A., Deecke, Volker B. ORCID logo ORCID: , Ford, John K.B., Matkin, Craig O., Barrett-Lennard, Lance G., Guzeev, Mikhail A., Burdin, Alexandr M. and Hoyt, Erich (2012) Call diversity in the North Pacific killer whale populations: implications for dialect evolution and population history. Animal Behaviour, 83 (3). pp. 595-603.

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Although killer whale, Orcinus orca, dialects have been studied in detail in several populations, little attempt has been made to compare dialect characteristics between populations. In this study we investigated geographical variation in monophonic and biphonic calls among four resident populations from the North Pacific Ocean: Northern and Southern residents from British Columbia and Washington State, southern Alaska residents, and eastern Kamchatka residents. We tested predictions generated by the hypothesis that call variation across populations is the result of an accumulation of random errors and innovation by vertical cultural transmission. Call frequency contours were extracted and compared using a dynamic time-warping algorithm. We found that the diversity of monophonic calls was substantially higher than that of biphonic calls for all populations. Repertoire diversity appeared to be related to population size: in larger populations, monophonic calls were more diverse and biphonic calls less diverse. We suggest that the evolution of both monophonic and biphonic calls is caused by an interaction between stochastic processes and directional selection, but the relative effect of directional selection is greater for biphonic calls. Our analysis revealed no direct correlation between call repertoire similarity and geographical distance. Call diversity within predefined call categories, types and subtypes, showed a high degree of correspondence between populations. Our results indicate that dialect evolution is a complex process influenced by an interaction among directional selection, horizontal transmission and founder effects. We suggest several scenarios for how this might have arisen and the implications of these scenarios for call evolution and population history.

Item Type: Article
Journal / Publication Title: Animal Behaviour
Publisher: Elsevier Masson
ISSN: 0003-3472
Departments: Research Centres > Centre for National Parks and Protected Areas (CNPPA)
Additional Information: MS. number: 11-00346R
Depositing User: Anna Lupton
Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2016 10:48
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2024 10:45


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