Louis Herman

Louis Herman
University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa | UH Manoa · Department of Psychology

Ph.D. Pennsylvania State University

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199
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Publications

Publications (199)
Article
Full-text available
We investigated whether calf age and calf size influence habitat choice by humpback whale mother-calf pairs in their breeding grounds. During 1997-2008, we conducted focal follows of mother-calf pairs in Hawaiian waters. Tail-fluke identification photographs and calf lengths (measured through videogrammetry) were obtained. Water depth and sea-bed t...
Article
Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) are seasonal breeders, annually migrating from high-latitude summer feeding grounds to low-latitude winter breeding grounds. The social matrix on the winter grounds is a loose network of interacting individuals and groups and notably includes lone males that produce long bouts of complex song that collective...
Article
Humpback whales congregate annually in low-latitude winter breeding and calving grounds. While on these grounds, females with a dependent calf ('maternal females') are sometimes closely at-tended by one or more male escorts. Using data collected from a shore-based observation platform in the Hawaiian Islands, we tested the hypothesis that the spati...
Article
Full-text available
While on their winter breeding grounds, male humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) produce long sequences of structured vocalizations called song, whose function within the mating system is still unresolved. Here we ask which males sing. Is it only those sexually mature, as typifies songbirds and some lekking ungulates in which vocalizations dur...
Article
Assortative pairing, and its relation to mate choice, has rarely been documented in mammals. Using data collected during 1998–2007, we investigated size-assortative pairing as it relates to discrimination amongst potential mates in humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae, dyads in the Hawaiian breeding grounds. Across 67 male–female dyads in which b...
Article
In keeping with recent views of consciousness of self as represented in the body in action, empirical studies are reviewed that demonstrate a bottlenose dolphin's (Tursiops truncatus) conscious awareness of its own body and body parts, implying a representational "body image" system. Additional work reviewed demonstrates an advanced capability of d...
Article
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Acoustic and visual methods were used to track and observe humpback whales off the island of Hawai'i. Sixty-two singing whales were located acoustically in water depths from 10 to 305 fathoms (mean 126 fathoms; 1 fathom = 1.828 m). This indicates that singers are not confined within the 100-fathom contour, although nearshore waters had a higher den...
Article
Full-text available
Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) perform extensive seasonal migrations between high-latitude summer feeding grounds and low-latitude winter reproductive grounds. To investigate gender-related site fidelity to the Hawaiian Islands, an important wintering area for North Pacific humpback whales, photographically based resight histories of 224...
Article
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We document through photographic identifications three humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) winter ground interchanges between Hawai'i and Japan. Two of these whales, identified as male by their behavioral roles, made multiple interchanges across years; i.e., they were initially seen in Hawai'i, were later observed in Japan, and subsequently, re...
Article
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Aerial surveys of the population of humpback whales assembled in Hawaiian waters during the 1977, 1978, and 1979 winter seasons were carried out on a weekly to biweekly basis during the major period of residency, from mid-January through mid-April. A progressively later date for peak numbers was found over the 3 years. These annual changes in migra...
Article
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Observations were made from an elevated shore station and from small boats of membership and of changes in membership in pods of humpback whales, Megaptera novaeangliae, assembling in Hawaiian waters during the winter–spring season of 1980. Pod sizes were small, with many singletons, pairs, and triplets, and a few larger sized pods. For pods having...
Article
Based on a census of photographically identified humpback whales in Hawaiian waters during the years 1977 to 1981, J. D. Darling and H. Morowitz (1986. Can. J. Zool. 64: 105–111) estimate that the number of individuals visiting this breeding ground is 1000 during a single winter and 2100 across five winters. Confidence limits are not reported for e...
Article
Humpback whales, unlike most mammalian species, learn new songs as adults. Populations of singers progressively and collectively change the sounds and patterns within their songs throughout their lives and across generations. In this study, humpback whale songs recorded in Hawaii from 1985 to 1995 were analyzed using self-organizing maps (SOMs) to...
Article
Invasive tags designed to provide information on animal movements through radio or satellite monitoring have tremendous potential for the study of whales and other cetaceans. However, to date there have been no published studies on the survival of tagged animals over periods of years or decades. Researchers from the National Marine Mammal Laborator...
Article
From a database of approximately 5,000 Hawaiian humpback whales identified photographically between 1976 and 2010, we extracted 71 males and 39 females having resighting spans of 10 or more years, from first to most recent sighting. Findings included: (1) the male-biased sex ratio was like that found in breeding grounds worldwide; (2) the mean span...
Article
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Sounds from humpback whale songs were analyzed to evaluate possible mechanisms of sound production. Song sounds fell along a continuum with trains of discrete pulses at one end and continuous tonal signals at the other. This graded vocal repertoire is comparable to that seen in false killer whales [Murray et al. (1998). J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 104, 167...
Article
We examined the behaviour of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in Hawaiian waters in relation to time of day using visual observations from shore platforms and acoustic observations using hydrophones. As humpbacks are not observed to feed in Hawaiian waters, we assumed that the data were free from the influence of diel cycles of prey availab...
Article
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My heartfelt thanks to the various agencies, institutions and individuals that have supported this work throughout the years. Special thanks to Peter Ranney and LeBurta Atherton for their generous support, and to the many members of the Dolphin Institute. I am grateful to the National Science Foundation who supported this research at various times...
Article
This chapter discusses the ability of animals to learn some defining properties of language. An early work reported that common chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) were able to learn to understand and use not only individual words but also words strung together into sentences. This work with apes focused primarily on language production and paid scant at...
Article
The competitive group appears to be a major component of the mating system of the humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae, bringing together a single female (nuclear animal or NA) and multiple males (escorts) that compete for physical proximity to her. We examined the relation of body size of the NA to the number of attending escorts and, separately...
Article
In a recent publication in Biological Reviews, Manger (2006) made the controversial claim that the large brains of cetaceans evolved to generate heat during oceanic cooling in the Oligocene epoch and not, as is the currently accepted view, as a basis for an increase in cognitive or information-processing capabilities in response to ecological or so...
Article
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We examined the incidence of rake mark scars from killer whales Orcinus orca on the flukes of humpback whales Megaptera novaeangliae throughout the North Pacific to assess geo- graphic variation in predation pressure. We used 3650 identification photographs from 16 wintering or feeding areas collected during 1990 to 1993 to determine conservative e...
Article
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We dispute Penn et al.'s claim of the sharp functional discontinuity between humans and nonhumans with evidence in bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) of higher-order generalizations: spontaneous integration of previously learned rules and concepts in response to novel stimuli. We propose that species-general explanations that are "bottom-up"...
Article
We examined the incidence of rake mark scars from killer whales Orcinus orca on the flukes of humpback whales Megaptera novaeangliae throughout the North Pacific to assess geo- graphic variation in predation pressure. We used 3650 identification photographs from 16 wintering or feeding areas collected during 1990 to 1993 to determine conservative e...
Article
Full-text available
Despite years of study, the humpback whale mating system remains an enigma. Sustained observations of subsurface behavior may help reveal important components of the mating system. In 2005 and 2006, we deployed Crittercam, an animal-borne imaging and data-logging tool, on humpback whales in their winter grounds. We focused our efforts on competitiv...
Conference Paper
We examine the use of Singular Spectrum Analysis (SSA) technique as an alternative technique to using standard wavelet shrinkage schemes for the purpose of de-noising mixtures of tonals, transients and Gaussian noise. Wavelet schemes require a calculation of a threshold to determine which components are taken to be signal and noise. If the noise co...
Article
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A group of eminent cetacean researchers respond to headlines charging that dolphins might be "flippin' idiots". They examine behavioural, anatomical and evolutionary data to conclude that the large brain of cetaceans evolved to support complex cognitive abilities.
Article
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The authors tested whether the understanding by dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) of human pointing and head-gazing cues extends to knowing the identity of an indicated object as well as its location. In Experiment 1, the dolphins Phoenix and Akeakamai processed the identity of a cued object (of 2 that were present), as shown by their success in select...
Article
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A bottlenose dolphin was tested on its ability to echoically discriminate horizontal angular differences between arrays of vertically oriented air-filled PVC rods. The blindfolded dolphin was required to station in a submerged hoop 2 radial m from the stimuli and indicate if an array with two rods (S+) was to the right or the left of a single rod (...
Article
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Recent intense interest in social cognition in dol- phins reflects findings that wild dolphins live in com- plex societies that rely on individual recognition, a protracted period of development, coalition forma- tion, and cooperative, as well as competitive, social behaviors. Laboratory studies have revealed a host of cognitive skills that can sup...
Article
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A vertical array of five hydrophones was used to measure the acoustic field in the vertical plane of singing humpback whales. Once a singer was located, two swimmers with snorkel gear were deployed to determine the orientation of the whale and position the boat so that the array could be deployed in front of the whale at a minimum standoff distance...
Article
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Generalization of a rule is demonstrated if the rule governs a class of problem, and the subject, after successful experience with a limited number of problems, can apply the governing rule to new problems within that class. We show that the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) is capable of such generalization for classes of problems requiting...
Article
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A rational animal is defined as one that can perceive and represent how its world is structured and functions, and can make logical inferences and draw conclusions that enable it to function effectively and productively in that world. Further, a rational animal is able to incorporate new evidence into new perspectives of the world and can then modi...
Article
Full-text available
Male humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) produce long, structured sequences of sound underwater, commonly called "songs." Humpbacks progressively modify their songs over time in ways that suggest that individuals are copying song elements that they hear being used by other singers. Little is known about the factors that determine how whales le...
Article
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We used photo-identification records to estimate annual survival of adult humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) for the central North Pacific stock using models within the software application Program MARK. The analysis is based on 10,567 photographs of 2,400 individual whales taken from 1979 to 1996. The central North Pacific stock winters in H...
Article
Full-text available
The authors tested 2 bottlenosed dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) for their understanding of human-directed gazing or pointing in a 2-alternative object-choice task. A dolphin watched a human informant either gazing at or pointing toward 1 of 2 laterally placed objects and was required to perform a previously indicated action to that object. Both stat...
Article
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The stereotypical stationary posture adopted by male humpback whales producing song suggests they are attempting to optimize transmission range. Over 23 days between Jan. 28 and Apr. 2 2003, we measured the sound fields of singers using divers equipped with rebreather scuba. A custom-designed "Aquahead" system reliably located singers to within 50...
Article
Full-text available
Humpback whales migrate seasonally between high-latitude summer feeding grounds and low-latitude winter breeding grounds. Identification photographs of humpback whales were collected in the Hawaiian Islands between 1977 and 1995, and sighting histories were compiled for individuals. Analyses revealed that (a) mean dates of first identification were...
Article
A vertical array of five hydrophones was used to measure the acoustic field of singing humpback whales. Once a singer was located, two swimmers with snorkel gear were deployed to determine the orientation of the whale and to position the boat so that the array could be deployed in front of the whale at a minimum standoff distance of 10 m. The spaci...
Article
Full-text available
Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) produce cyclical, underwater sound sequences that are composed of a variety of structured sound patterns. These sequences have been described as songs and generally are assumed to serve a communicative function. Past studies of the sound patterns and individual sounds within songs often have described them a...
Article
Full-text available
A bottlenose dolphin was tested on its ability to echoically discriminate horizontal angular differences between two arrays of vertical, air-filled, PVC rods. The blindfolded dolphin was required to station in a submerged, vertically-oriented hoop, 2 radial metres from the stimuli, and indicate whether an array with four rods (S+) was to the left o...
Article
Full-text available
We examined the relation of body length of male humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) to the social roles they adopted on the Hawaiian winter grounds: principal escort in a competitive group, secondary escort, lone escort to a mother-calf pair, male partner in a dyad, and singer. Using underwater videogrammetry, we measured body lengths of 17 pr...
Article
Two experiments tested a bottlenosed dolphin's ability to match objects across echolocation and vision. Matching was tested from echolocation sample to visual alternatives (E-V) and from visual sample to echolocation alternatives (V-E). In Experiment 1, the dolphin chose a match from among three-alternative objects that differed in overall (global)...
Article
Full-text available
Male humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) outnumber females on the winter grounds and compete physically for proximity to females. Analyses of identification photographs collected in Hawai'i from 1976 through 1995 and scan samples collected in 1998 showed that (i) reproductive potential (calving rate) for the following winter was greater for fe...
Article
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The annual winter assembly of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in tropical waters has been linked to reproductive activities, including birthing, calf-rearing, and mating. However, the sexual behaviour of this species remains largely undescribed and mating has never been witnessed. We examined 121 h of underwater videotaped foot-age of hump...
Article
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This chapter's sections review a variety of studies of imitation by dolphins that address some of the issues integral to imitation. These include the range and flexibility of imitative acts that can be performed by dolphins, whether novel acts can be imitated, and whether dolphins can acquire a generalized concept of "imitate." Other issues conside...
Article
Despite the extensive use of photographic identification methods to investigate humpback whales in the North Pacific, few quantitative analyses have been conducted. We report on a comprehensive analysis of interchange in the North Pacific among three wintering regions (Mexico, Hawaii, and Japan) each with two to three subareas, and feeding areas th...
Article
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We assigned gestural symbols to nine body parts of a bottlenosed dolphin (Tursiops truncatus). The dolphin was first trained to touch any floating object it chose with the body part indicated by a gestural symbol. In Experiment 1, we tested the dolphin’s ability to now touchspecific gesturally referenced objects using specific gesturally referenced...
Article
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The mechanisms for cultural transmission remain disputable and difficult to validate through observational field studies alone. If controlled experimental laboratory investigation reveals that a putative mechanism is demonstrable in the species under study, then inferences that the same mechanism is operating in the field observation are strengthen...
Article
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Sighting histories of individually identified female humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in their winter and summer ranges were used to investigate mortality of North Pacific humpback whale calves. We compiled records collected between 1979 and 1995 by eight independent research groups, which yielded 29 cases where 25 different mothers sighted...
Article
The songs of eight male humpback whales were recorded at ranges varying from 20 to 40 m with a vertical array of hydrophones that had a flat frequency response to 24 kHz. The songs consisted of bursts of sounds called units. Units were organized into phrases and phrases into themes. Most of the units had mean duration between 1 and 2 s and mean sil...
Article
The mechanisms for cultural transmission remain disputable and difficult to validate through observational field studies alone. If controlled experimental laboratory investigation reveals that a putative mechanism is demonstrable in the species under study, then inferences that the same mechanism is operating in the field observation are strengthen...
Article
A bottlenose dolphin was tested on its ability to echoically discriminate horizontal angular differences between two arrays of vertical, air?filled PVC rods. The blindfolded dolphin was required to station in a submerged vertically oriented hoop 2 radial meters from the stimuli and indicate if an array with four rods (S+) was to the left or the rig...
Article
Two bottlenosed dolphins taught to classify pairs of three-dimensional objects as either same or different were tested with novel stimulus sets to determine how well their classification abilities would generalize. Both dolphins were immediately able to classify novel pairs of planar objects, differing only in shape, as same or different. When test...
Article
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The main Hawaiian lslands are the primary winter reproductive area for the majority of North Pacific humpback whales Megaptera novaeangliae. Identification photographs of individual whales, including 63 females sighted in at least 2 different years and with at least 1 calf, were collected from waters off the islands of Maui and Hawaii ('Big Island'...
Article
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The migratory destinations of humpback whales that feed off California, Oregon and Washington were determined using photo-identification. Fluke photographs of 594 individuals were taken between 1981 and 1992 and compared to collections from 9 wintering regions in the North Pacific: Ogasawara (162) and Okinawa (17) islands of Japan; the Big Island a...
Article
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The authors tested a dolphin's (Tursiops truncatus) understanding of human manual pointing gestures to 3 distal objects located to the left of, to the right of, or behind the dolphin. The human referred to an object through a direct point (Pd), a cross-body point (Px), or a familiar symbolic gesture (S). In Experiment 1, the dolphin responded corre...
Article
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We investigated whether a bottlenosed dolphin’s ability to recall and repeat actions on command would immediately generalize to actions performed with specified objects. The dolphin was tested on her ability to repeat 18 novel behaviors performed with potentially interchangeable objects specified using an artificial gestural language. Such “action...
Article
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Kako (1999) reviews the evidence for syntactic competencies in several animal species exposed to artificial language systems, emphasizing the importance of core syntactic properties such as argument structure and closed-class items. We present evidence from our dolphin studies for the acquisition of the closed-class functionality of demonstratives,...