Underwater vocalisations of Weddell seals Leptonychotes weddellii were recorded approximately 1400 km apart at Casey and Davis, Antarctica. Recordings were made during the 1992 and 1997 breeding seasons at Davis and during the 1997 season at Casey. Two observers independently analysed four attributes (start and end frequency, duration and number of elements) of narrow bandwidth calls from each location and time. There were few observer differences when the calls were grouped into four broad types (Trills, Descending Whistles, Ascending Whistles and Mews). Amending Whistles and Mews were rare at Casey but common at Davis. Descending Whistles occurred significantly more often at Davis. Except for Trills, discriminant function analyses indicated less variation between the call attributes at Davis in 1992 and 1997 than between either of the Davis data sets and that from Casey. Vocalization differences between Weddell seals from different areas can be detected by measuring common attributes of narrow bandwidth calls.
Leptonychotes weddellii, vocalisations, geographic variation