"Cultural transmission of humpback whale song and metapopulation structure in the South Pacific Ocean"
I am investigating humpback whale song change and spread within the South Pacific region for my PhD. Song is a male behaviour used in courtship and mating. All males within a population sing the same song and this song changes over time. Populations in the same region have similar songs with the level of similarity dependent on geographic proximity e.g. closer populations have higher song similarity.
I am investigating song similarity over a 10 year period within the South Pacific region focusing on the populations of east Australia, New Caledonia, Tonga, the Cook Islands and French Polynesia. The aim of this research is to use changes in the songs to determine a relative estimate of the amount of contact or male dispersal between populations in the region.
This research is undertaken in collaboration with the South Pacific Whale Research Consortium. It is funded by Sea World Research and Rescue Foundation Inc., Winifred Violet Scott Estate, Australian Department of the Environment and Water Resources and the Tangalooma Marine Education and Research Foundation.