WCS 3-Sentence Science

Northern Elephant Seals Loud Regardless of Background Noise Levels

CREDIT: ©MICHAEL “MIKE” L. BAIRD/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  1. Northern elephant seals produce loud, stereotyped calls during breeding seasons.
  2. Researchers measured calls of competing male seals on three different sound level pressure metrics within context of biotic and abiotic ambient noise.
  3. Results indicated that male seals emit airborne calls with little variation in call amplitude with no detected adjustment to compensate for higher background noise levels (no Lombard effect, which is when animals either call louder or change pitch to be heard above background noise); these findings reinforce the view that northern elephant seal calls serve as indicators of size, status, and motivation.

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Wildlife Conservation Society

Wildlife Conservation Society

WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature.

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