Contributions of bioacoustics to the scientific knowledge of marine mammals in Latin America
We review and document scientific publications on marine mammal bioacoustics in Latin America between 1971 and 2021, showing eraly scarcity and an increase through time. Marine bioacoustic studies how marine fauna produce and receive sounds hat facilitate their life functions. Bioacoustics explores the biology and ecology of marine mammals, difficult or impossible to carry out using oly traditional methods. From the first published study on the free-living common bottlenose dolphin in the Gulf of Mexico in 1953, acoustic studies on marine mammals have increased; most of its growth occurred in the 2000s. The objective of this study was to document the history and development of marine mammal bioacoustics in Latin America. We conducted a systematic search of scientific peer-reviewed literature on the Web of Science from 1971 to 2021, using keywords involving 18 acoustic and 16 marine mammal terms. We reported the countries where studies were carried out, the focal species, and the research topics. The oldest paper found was published in Chile in 1971. The 2010s yielded the most publications (n = 10), compared to the 1970s (n = 4), 1980s (n = 8), 1990s (n = 12), and the 2000s (n = 49). The publication rate increase between 1971 and 2021 is likely due to the increased development and use of affordable autonomous recording devices. The countries with most publications were Brazil (n = 60), Mexico (n = 46), and Ecuador (n = 29). Those with the least studies were in the Caribbean region. The most studied species were the humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) (n = 46), the sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) (n = 43), and the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) (n = 40). These species are highly vocal, widely distributed, and accessible in several habitats, facilitating their study. The most analyzed research topics were inter- and intraspecific differences in vocalizations (n = 104), acoustic signal descriptions (n = 74), and association of acoustic signals and behavior (n = 59). The use of bioacoustics in abundance, distribution, habitat use, and anthropogenic effects was scant in the list of publications reviewed for this study, but these topics are predicted to be pursued more often by researchers in the future as they are needed to establish mitigation policies for the species and their habitat conservation.
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