First recording of bowhead whale songs

HSWRI researchers were part of the team that first recorded bowhead whale songs in 1977 and then later analyzed the first mother – calf bowhead sounds in 1979.  Subsequent research has shown bowhead whales exhibit elaborate acoustic displays that rival the complexity of the better known humpback whale songs. The popularization of whale songs become an integral part of the whale conservation campaign, resulting in the 1982 International Whaling Commission ban on deep-sea whaling.


Leatherwood, S. 1979. Preliminary Report of the 1978 Spring Bowhead Whale Research Program Results. Rep. Int. Whal. Comm. 30: 291-303, with H. Braham, B. Krogman, W. Marquette, D.  Rugh, M. Tillman, J. Johnson and G. Carroll.

Ljungblad, D.K., S. Leatherwood and M.E. Dahlheim. 1980. Sounds recorded in the presence of an adult and calf bowhead whale. Marine Fisheries Review 42:86-87.