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Acoustically derived growth rates of sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) in Kaikoura, New Zealand
Miller, B.S.; Growcott, A.; Slooten, E.; Dawson, S.M. (2013). Acoustically derived growth rates of sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) in Kaikoura, New Zealand. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 134(3): 2438-2445.
In: The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. American Institute of Physics: New York. ISSN 0001-4966, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    Acoustical measurements Microphones Agroacoustics Acoustic modeling Computer software Acoustic analysis Computational methods Data acquisition Data analysis Marine vessels

Authors  Top 
  • Miller, B.S.
  • Growcott, A.
  • Slooten, E.
  • Dawson, S.M.

    A non-invasive acoustic method for measuring the growth of sperm whales was developed based on estimating the length of individuals by measuring the inter-pulse interval (IPI) of their clicks. Most prior knowledge of growth in male sperm whales has come from from fitting growth curves to length data gained from whaling. Recordings made at Kaikoura, New Zealand, were used to estimate the length and growth of 32 photographically identified, resident whales that have been recorded repeatedly between 1991 and 2009. All whales recorded more than six months apart (n?=?30) showed an increase in IPI. Using established relationships between IPI and total length, it was found that the average growth rate in the Kaikoura population is lower, especially for smaller whales (13–14.5?m), than that derived from historical whaling data from other populations. This difference may be due to ecological differences among populations but might also reflect upward bias in measurements gained in whaling. The ability to track growth of individuals through time is only possible via non-lethal means and offers a fundamentally different kind of data because differences among individuals can be measured.

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