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Whale & Dolphin - Research & Conservation


We are publishing our results and what we see and hear as scientific publications, in the media, and or write reports to organizations and the governments.

Peer reviewed articles

1) "Evidence for discrimination between feeding sounds of familiar fish and unfamiliar mammal-eating killer whale ecotypes by long-finned pilot whales"



Killer whales (KW) may be predators or competitors of other cetaceans. Since their foraging behavior and acoustics differ among
populations ('ecotypes), we hypothesized that other cetaceans can eavesdrop on KW sounds and adjust their behavior according
to the KW ecotype. We performed playback experiments on long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala melas) in Norway using familiar
fish-eating KW sounds (fKW) simulating a sympatric population that might compete for foraging
areas, unfamiliar mammal-eating KW sounds (mKW) simulating a potential predator threat, and Wvo control sounds. We assessed
behavioral responses using animal-borne multi-sensor tags and surface visual observations. Pilot whales barely changed behavior
to a broadband noise (CTRL-); whereas they were attracted and exhibited spyhops to fKW, mKW, and to a repeated-tonal
upsweep signal (CTRL+)_ Whales never stopped nor started feeding in response to fKW, whereas they reduced or stopped
foraging to mKW and CTRL+ Moreover, pilot whales joined other subgroups in response to fKW and CTRL+, whereas they
tightened individual spacing within group and reduced time at surface in response to mKW Typical
active intimidation behavior displayed to fKW might be an antipredator strategy to a known low-risk ecotype or alternatively a way
of securing the habitat exploited by a heterospecific sympatric population. Cessation of feeding and more cohesive approach to
mKW playbacks might reflect an antipredator behavior towards an unknown KW ecotype of potentially higher risk We conclude
that pilot whales are able to acoustically discriminate beüeen familiar and unfamiliar KW ecotypes, enabling them to adjust their
behavior according to the perceived disturbance type


Charlotte Cure Saana Isojunno- Heike l. Vester• Fleur Visser• Machiel Oudejans• Nicoletta Biassoni- Mathilde Massenet- Lucie
Barluet de Beauchesne- Paul J. Wensveen• Lise D. Sivle- Peter L Tyack-Patrick J. O_ Miller

2) Vocal repertoire of long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala melas) in northern Norway

The knowledge 01 the vocal repertoire of Pilot Males is very jjmjted In this paper. the vocal repertoire of Jong-finned pilot wna'es recorcÉd dunng different encounters the Vestfjord In northern Nonvay between November 2006 and August 2010 are &scnOed Sounds V',ere analysed using Ovo dfferent methods: (1) an observer-based audo-wsual inspection 01 FFT- denved spectrograms. witn whicn. besides a genera/ vanety 01 clicks, buzzes, nonnarmonic sounds, and wmstles, 129 different distinct call types and 25 subtypes nere dstjngwsned These call types 'ncjuded pWsed calls and discrete structured wmst/es varying from simple to njgmy complex structures composed 01 several segments and e,'ements In addition, ultrasonic wmstles previously not for pilot wna'es were round In acnt'on to tne diversity 01 single calls, can sequences consisting or repetitions and combinations of specific caj types were recorded and (2) a parametnc approacn tnat permitted tne confirmation of tne mgn vanaff,'/ty tn Pl'ot whale can structures was &veloped It is concluded that the pilot
wnaje vocal repertoire is among the most complex for the mammalian spectes and tne nJ-gn structural variability, along mtn call repetitions and combinations, require a closer investigation to judge tnejr Importance for
vocal communication.
Copyright (2017) Acoustical Society of America. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of tne autnor and the Acoustical Society of America. The following article appeared jn (Citation or publjsned article) and may Oe round at


3) "Quantifying group specificity of animal vocalizations without specific sender information" 

Heike Vester, Kurt Hammerschmidt, Marc Timme, and Sarah Hallerberg_ PHYSICAL REVIEW E 93, 022138, 2016 Vester et al PhysRevE" 
Recordings of animal vocalization can lack information about sender and  context. This is often the case in studies on marine mammals or in the increasing number of automated bioacoustics momtonngs_ Here, we develop a framework to estimate group specificity without specific sender information. We introduce and apply a bag-of-calls-and-coefficients approach (BOCCA) to study ensembles of cepstral coefficients calculated from vocalization signals recorded from a gwen animal group. Companng distributions of such ensembles of coefficients by computing relative entropies reveals group specific differences Applying the BOCCA to ensembles of calls recorded from group of long-finned pilot whales in northem Nonvay, we find that differences of vocalizations within social groups of pilot whales (Globicephala melas) are significantly lower than 
intergroup differences. 

Media coverage: 


Nature Physics 

4) Research note: "Whale watching in Norway caught between more traditional hunting canons and the lucrative promise of seismic airguns" 2015. 

Giovanna Bertella and Heike Iris Vesterv Tourism in Marine Environments. 

5) "First record of killer whales (Orcinus orca) feeding on Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) in northern 
Norway suggest a multi-prey feeding type" 



Heike Vester and Kurt Hammerschmidt 

Occurrence of killer whales in Norv,'ay is linked to the migration of the herring population with most sightings during wintertime. 
Here we describe the first record of North Atlantic killer whales feeding on Atlantic salmon inside a fjord in northern Nomay during 
summertime, thus adding an important factor in understanding the feeding ecology of North Atlantic killer whales 
Marine Biodiversity Records, page 1 of 5 # Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdomi 2013 
doi:10_ 1017/S1755267212001030; Vol 6; e9; 2013 Published online

2013-02 Vester-Hammerschmidt salmon-feeding-nom-orcas 

6) "Dietary variation within and between populations of northeast Atlantic killer whales Orcinus 
orca inferred from ö13C and ö15N analyses! 

Foote AD, Vester H, Vikingsson GA, Newton J (2012) Marine Mammal Science Foote et al 2012 MarMammSci 

7) "Call for cooperation to contain damage by Chile's salmon farms" 

Heike Vester & Marc Timmev 2010. Nature, Vol_465 pp. 869 / 17 June 2010 PDF AysenThreatenNature20101 

8) "Southernmost distribution of common Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in the eastern 
South Pacific",

Carlos Olavarria, Jorge Acevedo, Heike l. Vester, José Zamorano-Abramson, Francisco A. Viddi, Jorge Gibbons, Emma Newcombe; Juan Capella; A. Rus Hoelzel, Marcelo Flores, Rodrigo Hucke-Gaete & Juan Pablo Torres-Flörez, 2010. Aquatic Mammals; vol 36 pp 288-293 PDF 36 3 0/avarrial 

9) 'Genetic differentiation within a North Atlantic killer whale ecotype" 

Molecular Ecology. Andrew D Foote, Julia Vilstrup, Renaud de Stephanis, Philippe Verborghi Sandra C. Abel Nielsen, Morten Rasmussen, Robert J. Reid, Kelly M Robertson, Lars Kleivane, Nils Øien, Tiu Similä, Heike Vester, Gisli A. Vikingsson; Robert Deaville, Emer Roganv Eske Willerslev, M. Thomas R Gilbertand Stuart B. Piertney, 2010 PDF Foote-et-al-2010-Mol-Ecol 

10) 'Click sounds produced by cod (Gadus morhua) ' 

Vester, H.l_, Folkow, L.P. and A S. Blix, February 2004. Vol. 115, No. 2, pp. 914-919. PDF codclicks-hvester-etal- 20041 


PhD thesis: 

"Vocal repertoire of two matrilineal social whale species: 
Long-finned Pilot whales (Globicephala melas) and Killer whales (Orcinus orca) in northern Noway"i Heike Vester 
2017 University of Goettingen, Germany 

"Revealing structure in vocalisations of parrots and social whales" 

Noriega Romero Vargas, Maria Florencia 
2018 University of Goettingen, Germany 

Master & Bachelor thesis: 

Master of Science Thesis 'Applied Computer Science" 15 10.2015 
Towards Automated Photo Identification of Killer Whales 
by Burooj Ghani, 
Department of Computational Neuroscience, Third Institute of Physics — Biophysics, 
Georg-August-universität Göttingen, Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organizationv Gottingen. 

"Distribution of cetaceans in Vestfjorden, Norway, and possible impacts of seismic surveys" 
Master thesis by Felipe Matos, Faculty of Biosciences and Aquaculture, University of Nordland 
May 2015 

"Distribution and vocal behavior of Atlantic white-sided dolphins (Lagenorhynchus acutus) in northem Norway". 

Master thesis by Ellyne Hamran, Faculty of Biosciences and Aquaculture University of Nordland 2014. 
Photo-Identification of Salmon Eating Killer Whales (Orcinus orca) in Noway (2012)_Kristin Reehaug Jacobsen from the 
University of Nordland in Bodø has completed her bachelor thesis 156 2012 
Investigating Specific Groups of Killer Whales (Orcinus orca) Through Photo Identification in Norvvay (2012). Ellyne Dudkowski 
from the University of Nordland in Bodø has completed her bachelor thesis 
Dudkowski Bachelors Thesis on Killer Whales 3 
2008 Master project by Silke Nielebock from the University of Oldenburg in Germany. Her thesis was completed 2008 and can be 
downloaded in Germam

okotourismus-in-norwegen-touristenprofil-des-okotourismusbetriebs-ocean-sounds-auf-den- lofoten 

2008 article by Silke Nielebock AK Norden 'Okoturismus in Nonvegen" 

Posters & conferences & technical reports:

"The Vocal Behavior and Distribution of the Atlantic White-sided Dolphins (Lagenorhynchus acutus) in Northem Norway,"
poster presentation at the European Cetacean Society, 23rd — 25th March 2015 in St. Julian's, Malta.
Ellyne Hamran (1), Heike Vester (1, 2), Jarle Tryti Nordeide (1)
(1) University of Nordland, Faculty of Biosciences and Aquaculture, 8049 Bodøv Nomay; (2) Ocean Sounds, 8312 Henningsvær,
The Atlantic white-sided dolphins (Lagenorhynchus acutus) are migratory dolphins and their vocal behavior and distribution are
understudied in Norway. Vessel based surveys were conducted in order to determine the vocal behavior and occurrence in the
Vestf]orden in northern Norv,'ay. Hydrophone recordings were used to describe the vocal behavior of clicks, whistlesv calls, buzzes
and to determine the presence or absence of stereotyped whistles. Clicks (98-99%) were the most abundant sound produced and
whistles 0% excluding clicks) were equally abundant second to clicks. Stereotyped whistles were also observed (e_g
11-20 kHz, length 853 msec). The relationship of vocal behavior and activity resulted in a dependence on activity foraging,
socializing, millingv and traveling. Sound production increased during socializing and calls were observed most commonly during
traveling (32.4%) and least common during foraging (18.8%) Buzzes varied (0-14 0%) and were absent during milling. Photo-ID
and sightings were used for tracking and a total of 72 yearly sightings were observed including 55 photo-ID individuals of which 29
individuals were re-sighted again. Two of the 15 re-sighted individuals were observed on 6 occasions with gaps no greater than two
years Many sightings of Atlantic white-sided dolphins including the re-sightings of photo-ID individuals indicate a stronger
presence of Atlantic white-sided dolphins than previously reported in the VestfJorden in northern
North Atlantic Killer Whale workshop 2012 in Galway, Ireland:
Report_on further_comparisons of_Morgan_acoustic_repertoire Vester_Samarra 2011
Vester, H.l., L.P. Folkow and A. Schytte Blix, 2001. "Underwater vocalisation of captive hooded and harp seals during live fish
hunting "Proc Soc_Mar_Mamm_Conf_ in Vancouver, November 2001 _
Vester, H.l., L.P. Folkow and A. Schytte Blix, 2001. "Click sounds produced by cod (Gadus morhua) — a possible anti-predator
behaviour?" Proc. ICA conference in Rome, September 2001 _
Vester, H., 2007. UWha/e watching and ecotourism — a field study from Northern Nonvay'Proc. of the Global Ecotourism
Conference 2007 in Oslo.

Other publications

Whales and Seascapes of Lofoten", mulit media DVD, H_Vester & G. Reichtert, 2010.
UMarine Mammals and Fish of Vesteraalen and Lofoten", H. Vester, Audio CD in cooperation with Gruenrekorder_de, 2009.
Whale Watching Guidelines

WW Feasibility_Survey_Report Lofoten 2013-12 26

Whale Guidelines english-02

Guidelines by H. Vester & R. Eriksson, Ocean Sounds & Norway, 2007:
Mth our 5 years research experience and the help of the WWF Nonvay created a leaflet with new whale watching guidelines.
Whale watching in Norway is totally unregulated and there is a need of regulating the boat traffic and human actwities around the
whales. Whales and whale watching boats are often disturbed by the presence of many boats or boats that dnve irresponsible.
Please use our guidelines, distribute them and if you go on whale watching tours in Nonvay, show them to your skipper and guide
and ask them to follow 't.

wwf oceansounds_whalewatching-guidelines 2008 small

wwf oceansounds richtlinien-für-wa/safaris 2008 small

wwf oceansounds hvalsafan-retningslinjer 2008 small


Heike Vester, Invited speaker at the Whale Watching workshop, University in Tromsø, Norway. 25th of December 2014. 
"Complex communication of social whales" Vester, Heike, Marc Timme and Sarah Hallerberg 27-29 of June 2012, Berlin. Max 
Planck —Chile research Seminar. 
UMarine Mldlife of Lofoten", invited speaker at the 'Today's diagnose and preservation of the Cantabric Sea and The North of 
Europe" Pakea Bizkaia Conference 22nd January 2011 Maritime Museum in Bilbao, Spain. 
Whale and Dolphin communication in Vestfiorden, Norway", speaker at the Aquadyne Technology Awareness Seminar 
29th - 30th September 2010 in Oslo 
"Who says what in the Vestf]ord — whale communication", public lecture at the University of Nordland, northern Norway 
"Ocean Sounds and Scientific Tourism", public lecture organised by the Center for Research in Patagonian Ecosystems (CIEP) 
in Coyhaque, Patagonia, Chile, 24 03.2009. 
UBenefits and risks of whale watching — a case study of notthem Nonvay•r Workshop on scientific tourism organised by Center for 
Research in Patagonian Ecosystems (CIEP)in Coyhaque, Patagonia, Chile, 22 -29 of April 2008. ( 
"Whale watching and ecotourism — a field study from Northern Nonvay" Speaker at the Global Ecotourism Conference in Oslo, 
15th of May 200T 
Participating at the UNEP/GRID workshop. "Linking tourism and conservation" in Arendal in Norway 12-13 May 2007. 

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