What makes a hit song? We all know that humpback whales are famous for their intricate songs. Male whales in a population have been found to sing the same song at any one time, with this song ever-evolving and changing.

This talk will explore this process, looking at which aspects of a whale’s song may make it easier to learn, leading to the phenomenon of population-wide cultural song learning.

Watch the recording

Recording of "What makes a whale song catchy?" talk (YouTube, 58m)


Dr Jenny Allen
Dr Jenny Allen

Meet the presenter:

Dr Jenny Allen, an Adjunct Research Fellow at UQ and a Griffith University marine science lecturer, studies culture and learning in humpback whales. She completed her PhD at the University of Queensland’s Cetacean Ecology and Acoustics Laboratory where she focused on fine-scale song learning in east Australian humpback whales.

About BrisScience

BrisScience is a monthly lecture series that brings science out of the labs and to the people, making it accessible to all – from scientists, to scientists-at-heart.

Run by The University of Queensland, BrisScience has been delivering engaging lectures on diverse topics from local and international scientists for over a decade.

BrisScience speakers are leaders in their given fields and deliver dynamic presentations based on cutting-edge research.

The University of Queensland has been running BrisScience since 2005, bringing the best and brightest scientific minds to the people of Brisbane – from early career researchers to Nobel Laureates!

Time6:30pm to 7:30pm (light refreshments 7:30-8pm)
VenueThe Edge, State Library of Queensland, Stanley Place, South Bank
CostFree - Eventbrite ticket required


Sign up to be on our mailing list and be the first to know the latest BrisScience news, events and announcements!

The mailing list is used only to advertise upcoming BrisScience talks. If at any time you decide that you no longer wish to receive the emails, you can unsubscribe from the bottom of your latest email.


Subscribe to our mailing list

Social media



Other upcoming sessions