Adult male Australian sea lion barking calls reveal clear geographical variations

Heidi Ahonen*, Adam J. Stow, Robert G. Harcourt, Isabelle Charrier

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)


Vocalizing by males plays an important role in the reproductive activities of many species. Geographical variation in the characteristics of male vocalization is well studied in birds, but largely unexplored in mammals. This study quantified the extent of geographical variation in male Australian sea lion, Neophoca cinerea, barking calls and examined what drives vocal differences in this species. We recorded male barking calls from seven breeding colonies separated by ca. 5-2700. km enabling us to investigate acoustic differences on both micro- and macrogeographical scales. Our results revealed significant nonuniform geographical variation across colonies. Neither genetic nor geographical distances between colonies fully explained the observed acoustic variation. We suggest that environmental or morphological factors are likely to further contribute to differences in vocal characteristics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-239
Number of pages11
JournalAnimal Behaviour
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2014

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