Reproductive tactics in baleen whales
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While a variety of reproductive tactics are readily witnessed in the odontocetes, such behaviors can be far more elusive, and in some cases, are yet to be observed, in baleen whales. This leads researchers to employ a variety of research methods, some of which have improved greatly in recent decades, to study reproductive behaviors in mysticetes. Genetics and genomics tools can provide invaluable information on maternity, paternity, age, diversity, and kinship, while acoustic tools can provide new insights into the function of sexual displays such as song. In this chapter, we explore what is known about the reproductive strategies and tactics of baleen whales, with a particular focus on the comparatively well-studied right whales (Eubalaena spp.) and humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae). Finally, we showcase that by integrating multiple data types, we can explore the interactions between anatomy, physiology, reproductive success, age, population dynamics, and acoustic displays to better understand the mating systems of baleen whales.
Eichenberger , F , Garland , E C & Carroll , E L 2023 , Reproductive tactics in baleen whales . in B Wursig & D N Orbach (eds) , Sex in Cetaceans : Morphology, Behavior, and the Evolution of Sexual Strategies . Springer Nature , Cham , pp. 469-498 . https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-35651-3_20
Sex in Cetaceans
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DescriptionFunding: FE is supported by a University of St Andrews School of Biology Ph.D. scholarship and a Royal Society Research Fellows Enhancement Award (RGF\EA \180213 to ECG), ECG is funded by a Royal Society University Research Fellowship (UF160081 & URF\R\221020), and ELC is funded by a Rutherford Discovery Fellowship from the Royal Society of New Zealand Te Apārangi.
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