Reproductive tactics in baleen whales

Franca Eichenberger*, Ellen Clare Garland, Emma Louise Carroll

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

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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.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSex in Cetaceans
Subtitle of host publicationMorphology, Behavior, and the Evolution of Sexual Strategies
EditorsBernd Wursig, Dara N. Orbach
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherSpringer Nature
ISBN (Electronic)9783031356513
ISBN (Print)9783031356506, 9783031356537
Publication statusPublished - 26 Sept 2023


  • Age
  • Baleen whale
  • Genomics
  • Molecular ecology
  • Reproductive stragegy
  • Reproductive success
  • Sexual selection
  • Song
  • Tactics


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