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2017
Bayless, AR, Oleson EM, Baumann-Pickering S, Simonis AE, Marchetti J, Martin S, Wiggins SM.  2017.  Acoustically Monitoring the Hawai‘i Longline Fishery for Interactions with False Killer Whales. Fisheries Research. 190:122-131.   10.1016/j.fishres.2017.02.006   Abstract

False killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens) feed primarily on several species of large pelagic fish, species that are also targeted by the Hawai‘i-permitted commercial deep-set longline fishery. False killer whales have been known to approach fishing lines in an attempt to procure bait or catch from the lines, a behavior known as depredation. This behavior can lead to the hooking or entanglement of an animal, which currently exceeds sustainable levels for pelagic false killer whales in Hawai‘i. Passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) was used to record false killer whales near longline fishing gear to investigate the timing, rate, and spatial extent of false killer whale occurrence. Acoustic data were collected using small autonomous recorders modified for deployment on the mainline of longline fishing gear. A total of 90 fishing sets were acoustically monitored in 2013 and 2014 on a chartered longline vessel using up to five acoustic recorders deployed throughout the fishing gear. Of the 102 odontocete click and/or whistle bouts detected on 55 sets, 26 bouts detected on 19 different fishing sets were classified as false killer whales with high or medium confidence based on either whistle classification, click classification, or both. The timing of false killer whale acoustic presence near the gear was related to the timing of fishing activities, with 57% of the false killer whale bouts occurring while gear was being hauled, with 50% of those bouts occurring during the first third of the haul. During three fishing sets, false killer whales were detected on more than one recorder, and in all cases the whales were recorded on instruments farther from the fishing vessel as the haul proceeded. Only three of the 19 sets with acoustically-confirmed false killer whale presence showed signs of bait or catch damage by marine mammals, which may relate to the difficulty of reporting depredation. PAM has proven to be a relatively inexpensive and efficient method for monitoring the Hawai‘i longline fishery for interactions with false killer whales.

Reyes Reyes, MV, Baumann-Pickering S, Simonis AE, Trickey JS, Melcón M, Hildebrand JA, Iñíguez M.  2017.  High-frequency modulated signals recorded off the Antarctic Peninsula area: are killer whales emitting them? Acoustics Australia.   10.1007/s40857-017-0103-x   Abstract

High-frequency modulated signals with a stereotyped down-swept contour were recorded in the northwestern Antarctic Peninsula using an autonomous recorder and a towed hydrophone array. Signals have a mean start frequency at 21.6 kHz, end frequency at 15.7 kHz, −10 dB bandwidth of 5.9 kHz, and duration of 65.2 ms. Bouts of signals were generally recorded with a median inter-signal interval of 2.1 s. HFM signals partially modulated in the non-ultrasonic range similar to the ones described in this paper have already been reported for killer whales in the North Pacific, Western South Atlantic and Western Australian coast. The HFM signals were recorded in the presence of other odontocete sounds such as whistles, echolocation clicks and burst-pulsed sounds. The similarities of these sounds with vocalizations described for killer whales in the Western Australian coast lead us to strongly believe that the described HFM signals were produced by Antarctic killer whales. This paper described for the first time HFM signals in Antarctica and discussed evidence suggesting that Antarctic type A killer whales are the most probable candidates to produce such signals. However, a visual confirmation is still needed and the function of the HFM signals remains unknown.

Young, HS, Nigro K, McCauley DJ, Ballance LT, Oleson EM, Baumann-Pickering S.  2017.  Limited trophic partitioning among sympatric delphinids off a tropical oceanic atoll. PLoS ONE. 12(8):e0181526.   10.1371/journal.pone.0181526   Abstract

Understanding trophic relationships among marine predators in remote environments is challenging, but it is critical to understand community structure and dynamics. In this study, we used stable isotope analysis of skin biopsies to compare the isotopic, and thus, trophic niches of three sympatric delphinids in the waters surrounding Palmyra Atoll, in the Central Tropical Pacific: the melon-headed whale (Peponocephala electra), Gray’s spinner dolphin (Stenella longirostris longirostris), and the common bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus). δ15N values suggested that T. truncatus occupied a significantly higher trophic position than the other two species. δ13C values did not significantly differ between the three delphinds, potentially indicating no spatial partitioning in depth or distance from shore in foraging among species. The dietary niche area—determined by isotopic variance among individuals—of T. truncatus was also over 30% smaller than those of the other species taken at the same place, indicating higher population specialization or lower interindividual variation. For P. electra only, there was some support for intraspecific variation in foraging ecology across years, highlighting the need for temporal information in studying dietary niche. Cumulatively, isotopic evidence revealed surprisingly little evidence for trophic niche partitioning in the delphinid community of Palmyra Atoll compared to other studies. However, resource partitioning may happen via other behavioral mechanisms, or prey abundance or availability may be adequate to allow these three species to coexist without any such partitioning. It is also possible that isotopic signatures are inadequate to detect trophic partitioning in this environment, possibly because isotopes of prey are highly variable or insufficiently resolved to allow for differentiation.

Stanistreet, JE, Nowacek DP, Baumann-Pickering S, Bell JT, Cholewiak DM, Hildebrand JA, Hodge LEW, Moors-Murphy HB, Van Parijs SM, Read AJ.  2017.  Using passive acoustic monitoring to document the distribution of beaked whale species in the western North Atlantic Ocean. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences.   10.1139/cjfas-2016-0503   Abstract

Little is known about the ecology of many beaked whale species, despite concerns raised by mass strandings linked to certain sources of anthropogenic noise. Here, we used passive acoustic monitoring to examine spatial and temporal patterns in beaked whale occurrence at six locations along the continental slope in the western North Atlantic Ocean. We analyzed 2642 days of recordings collected between 2011 and 2015, and identified echolocation signals from northern bottlenose whales, Cuvier’s, Sowerby’s, Gervais’, and Blainville’s beaked whales, and one signal type of unknown origin. We recorded multiple species at each site, with detections generally occurring year-round, and observed latitudinal gradients and site-specific variation in relative species occurrence. Notably, we regularly detected Cuvier’s beaked whales in a region where they have not been commonly observed, and discovered potential habitat partitioning among Cuvier’s and Gervais’ beaked whales within their overlapping ranges. This information on the distribution and seasonal occurrence of northwest Atlantic beaked whale species offers new insight into patterns of habitat use and provides a year-round baseline from which to assess potential anthropogenic impacts.

2016
Stanistreet, JE, Nowacek DP, Read AJ, Baumann-Pickering S, Moors-Murphy HB, Van Parijs SM.  2016.  Effects of duty-cycled passive acoustic recordings on detecting the presence of beaked whales in the northwest Atlantic. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 140(1):EL31-EL37.   10.1121/1.4955009   Abstract

This study investigated the effects of using duty-cycled passive acoustic recordings to monitor the daily presence of beaked whale species at three locations in the northwest Atlantic. Continuous acoustic records were subsampled to simulate duty cycles of 50%, 25%, and 10% and cycle period durations from 10 to 60 min. Short, frequent listening periods were most effective for assessing the daily presence of beaked whales. Furthermore, subsampling at low duty cycles led to consistently greater underestimation of Mesoplodon species than either Cuvier's beaked whales or northern bottlenose whales, leading to a potential bias in estimation of relative species occurrence.

Roch, MA, Batchelor H, Baumann-Pickering S, Berchok CL, Cholewiak D, Fujioka E, Garland EC, Herbert S, Hildebrand JA, Oleson EM, Van Parijs S, Risch D, Širović A, Soldevilla MS.  2016.  Management of acoustic metadata for bioacoustics. Ecological Informatics. 31:122-136.   10.1016/j.ecoinf.2015.12.002   Abstract

Recent expansion in the capabilities of passive acoustic monitoring of sound-producing animals is providing expansive data sets in many locations. These long-term data sets will allow the investigation of questions related to the ecology of sound-producing animals on time scales ranging from diel and seasonal to inter-annual and decadal. Analyses of these data often span multiple analysts from various research groups over several years of effort and, as a consequence, have begun to generate large amounts of scattered acoustic metadata. It has therefore become imperative to standardize the types of metadata being generated. A critical aspect of being able to learn from such large and varied acoustic data sets is providing consistent and transparent access that can enable the integration of various analysis efforts. This is juxtaposed with the need to include new information for specific research questions that evolve over time. Hence, a method is proposed for organizing acoustic metadata that addresses many of the problems associated with the retention of metadata from large passive acoustic data sets. A structure was developed for organizing acoustic metadata in a consistent manner, specifying required and optional terms to describe acoustic information derived from a recording. A client-server database was created to implement this data representation as a networked data service that can be accessed from several programming languages. Support for data import from a wide variety of sources such as spreadsheets and databases is provided. The implementation was extended to access Internet-available data products, permitting access to a variety of environmental information types (e.g. sea surface temperature, sunrise/sunset, etc.) from a wide range of sources as if they were part of the data service. This metadata service is in use at several institutions and has been used to track and analyze millions of acoustic detections from marine mammals, fish, elephants, and anthropogenic sound sources.

Baumann-Pickering, S, Trickey JS, Wiggins SM, Oleson EM.  2016.  Odontocete occurrence in relation to changes in oceanography at a remote equatorial Pacific seamount. Marine Mammal Science.   10.1111/mms.12299   Abstract

Seamounts are considered hotspots of biodiversity and can aggregate pelagic predators and their prey. Passive acoustic monitoring was conducted over three months in 2012 to document the occurrence of odontocetes near a seamount chain in the central equatorial Pacific in relation to oceanographic changes over time. Beaked whale echolocation signals were most frequently encountered. The main beaked whale signal was an unknown type, BW38, which resembled signals produced by Blainville’s beaked whales. It had high occurrence during high sea surface temperature and low sea surface salinity. Cuvier’s beaked whales were the second most detected. They had an opposite pattern and were encountered more often when sea surface temperature was low and net primary productivity was high. Risso’s dolphins and short-finned pilot whales had high acoustic densities, and echolocated predominantly at night. Risso’s dolphins occurred more often during low sea surface height deviation. False killer whales were less frequently detected and mostly occurred during the day. Sperm whale detections were fewer than expected and associated with high chlorophyll a. Short duration Kogiidae encounters occurred on average every third day. These types of long-term site studies are an informative tool to comparatively assess species composition, relative abundance, and relationship to oceanographic changes.

2015
Baumann-Pickering, S, Roch MA, Wiggins SM, Schnitzler HU, Hildebrand JA.  2015.  Acoustic behavior of melon-headed whales varies on a diel cycle. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. 69:1553-1563.   10.1007/s00265-015-1967-0   AbstractWebsite

Many terrestrial and marine species have a diel activity pattern, and their acoustic signaling follows their current behavioral state. Whistles and echolocation clicks on long-term recordings produced by melon-headed whales (Peponocephala electra) at Palmyra Atoll indicated that these signals were used selectively during different phases of the day, strengthening the idea of nighttime foraging and daytime resting with afternoon socializing for this species. Spectral features of their echolocation clicks changed from day to night, shifting the median center frequency up. Additionally, click received levels increased with increasing ambient noise during both day and night. Ambient noise over a wide frequency band was on average higher at night. The diel adjustment of click features might be a reaction to acoustic masking caused by these nighttime sounds. Similar adaptations have been documented for numerous taxa in response to noise. Or it could be, unrelated, an increase in biosonar source levels and with it a shift in center frequency to enhance detection distances during foraging at night. Call modifications in intensity, directionality, frequency, and duration according to echolocation task are well established for bats. This finding indicates that melon-headed whales have flexibility in their acoustic behavior, and they collectively and repeatedly adapt their signals from day- to nighttime circumstances.

Roch, MA, Stinner-Sloan J, Baumann-Pickering S, Wiggins SM.  2015.  Compensating for the effects of site and equipment variation on delphinid species identification from their echolocation clicks. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 137:22-29.   10.1121/1.4904507   AbstractWebsite

A concern for applications of machine learning techniques to bioacoustics is whether or not classifiers learn the categories for which they were trained. Unfortunately, information such as characteristics of specific recording equipment or noise environments can also be learned. This question is examined in the context of identifying delphinid species by their echolocation clicks. To reduce the ambiguity between species classification performance and other confounding factors, species whose clicks can be readily distinguished were used in this study: Pacific white-sided and Risso's dolphins. A subset of data from autonomous acoustic recorders located at seven sites in the Southern California Bight collected between 2006 and 2012 was selected. Cepstral-based features were extracted for each echolocation click and Gaussian mixture models were used to classify groups of 100 clicks. One hundred Monte-Carlo three-fold experiments were conducted to examine classification performance where fold composition was determined by acoustic encounter, recorder characteristics, or recording site. The error rate increased from 6.1% when grouped by acoustic encounter to 18.1%, 46.2%, and 33.2% for grouping by equipment, equipment category, and site, respectively. A noise compensation technique reduced error for these grouping schemes to 2.7%, 4.4%, 6.7%, and 11.4%, respectively, a reduction in error rate of 56%-86%. (C) 2015 Acoustical Society of America.

Trickey, JS, Baumann-Pickering S, Hildebrand JA, Reyes Reyes MV, Melcón M, Iñíguez M.  2015.  Antarctic beaked whale echolocation signals near South Scotia Ridge. Marine Mammal Science. 31:1265–1274.   10.1111/mms.12216  
Gruden, P, White PR, Oswald JN, Barkley Y, Cerchio S, Lammers M, Baumann-Pickering S.  2015.  Differences in oscillatory whistles produced by spinner (Stenella longirostris) and pantropical spotted (Stenella attenuata) dolphins. Marine Mammal Science.   10.1111/mms.12280   AbstractWebsite

Acoustic recordings of two closely related species, spinner dolphin (Stenella longirostris) and pantropical spotted dolphin (Stenella attenuata), were investigated from four different geographic locations: two in the Central Tropical Pacific, one in the Eastern Tropical Pacific and one in the Indian Ocean. The two delphinid species occur in tropical and warm temperate waters, with overlapping ranges. They produce very similar vocalizations, but at the same time their calls exhibit a certain degree of intraspecific variation among different geographic locations as has been observed in other delphinid species. Oscillatory whistles (whistles with at least two oscillations in their frequency contours) were identified and manually extracted from the recordings. Whistles with four or more maxima (oscillations) occurred only in spinner dolphins and they were present in all geographic regions investigated. In addition, the oscillatory whistles with two and three maxima were significantly more frequent in spinner than in spotted dolphins. The differences in oscillatory whistles for these two species seem to be consistent across study areas and therefore, could be used in addition to other whistle features to help distinguish between them.

Baumann-Pickering, S, Simonis AE, Oleson EM, Baird RW, Roch MA, Wiggins SM.  2015.  False killer whale and short-finned pilot whale acoustic identification. Endangered Species Research. 28:97-108.   10.3354/esr00685   Abstract

False killer whales and short-finned pilot whales are known to interact with long-line fishing gear in Hawaiian waters, causing economic loss and leading to whale injuries and deaths. The main Hawaiian Islands insular population of false killer whales is listed as endangered and the offshore population is considered “strategic” under the Marine Mammal Protection Act due to relatively high bycatch levels. Discriminating between these species acoustically is problematic due to similarity in the spectral content of their echolocation clicks. We use passive acoustic monitoring along with data from satellite tags to distinguish signals from these two species. Acoustic encounters recorded with autonomous instruments offshore of the islands of Hawai‘i and Kaua‘i were matched with concurrent and nearby location information from satellite tagged individuals. Two patterns of echolocation clicks were established for the two species. The overall spectral click parameters were highly similar (22 kHz peak and 25 kHz center frequency), but false killer whales had shorter duration and broader bandwidth clicks than short-finned pilot whales (225 μs, 8 kHz (-3 dB bandwidth) and 545 μs, 4 kHz, respectively). Also, short-finned pilot whale clicks showed distinct spectral peaks at 12 and 18 kHz. Automated classification techniques using Gaussian mixture models had a 6.5% median error rate. Based on these findings for echolcoation clicks and prior published work on whistle classification, acoustic encounters of false killer whales and short-finned pilot whales on autonomous instruments should be identifiable to species level, leading to better long-term monitoring with the goal of mitigating bycatch.

Hildebrand, JA, Baumann-Pickering S, Frasier KE, Trickey JS, Merkens KPB, Wiggins SM, McDonald MA, Harrison LP, Harris D, Marques TA, Thomas L.  2015.  Passive acoustic monitoring of beaked whale densities in the Gulf of Mexico. Scientific Reports. (5):16343.   10.1038/srep16343   Abstract

Beaked whales are deep diving elusive animals, difficult to census with conventional visual surveys. Methods are presented for the density estimation of beaked whales, using passive acoustic monitoring data collected at sites in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) from the period during and following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill (2010-2013). Beaked whale species detected include: Gervais’ (Mesoplodon europaeus), Cuvier’s (Ziphius cavirostris), Blainville’s (Mesoplodon densirostris) and an unknown species of Mesoplodon sp. (designated as Beaked Whale Gulf - BWG). For Gervais’ and Cuvier’s beaked whales, we estimated weekly animal density using two methods, one based on the number of echolocation clicks, and another based on the detection of animal groups during 5 min time-bins. Density estimates derived from these two methods were in good general agreement. At two sites in the western GOM, Gervais’ beaked whales were present throughout the monitoring period, but Cuvier’s beaked whales were present only seasonally, with periods of low density during the summer and higher density in the winter. At an eastern GOM site, both Gervais’ and Cuvier’s beaked whales had a high density throughout the monitoring period.

2014
Baumann-Pickering, S, Roch MA, Brownell Jr RL, Simonis AE, McDonald MA, Solsona-Berga A, Oleson EM, Wiggins SM, Hildebrand JA.  2014.  Spatio-temporal patterns of beaked whale echolocation signals in the North Pacific. PLoS ONE. 9(1):e86072.: Public Library of Science   10.1371/journal.pone.0086072   AbstractWebsite

At least ten species of beaked whales inhabit the North Pacific, but little is known about their abundance, ecology, and behavior, as they are elusive and difficult to distinguish visually at sea. Six of these species produce known species-specific frequency modulated (FM) echolocation pulses: Baird’s, Blainville’s, Cuvier’s, Deraniyagala’s, Longman’s, and Stejneger’s beaked whales. Additionally, one described FM pulse (BWC) from Cross Seamount, Hawai’i, and three unknown FM pulse types (BW40, BW43, BW70) have been identified from almost 11 cumulative years of autonomous recordings at 24 sites throughout the North Pacific. Most sites had a dominant FM pulse type with other types being either absent or limited. There was not a strong seasonal influence on the occurrence of these signals at any site, but longer time series may reveal smaller, consistent fluctuations. Only the species producing BWC signals, detected throughout the Pacific Islands region, consistently showed a diel cycle with nocturnal foraging. By comparing stranding and sighting information with acoustic findings, we hypothesize that BWC signals are produced by ginkgo-toothed beaked whales. BW43 signal encounters were restricted to Southern California and may be produced by Perrin’s beaked whale, known only from Californian waters. BW70 signals were detected in the southern Gulf of California, which is prime habitat for Pygmy beaked whales. Hubb’s beaked whale may have produced the BW40 signals encountered off central and southern California; however, these signals were also recorded off Pearl and Hermes Reef and Wake Atoll, which are well south of their known range.

2013
Baumann-Pickering, S, Yack TM, Barlow J, Wiggins SM, Hildebrand JA.  2013.  Baird's beaked whale echolocation signals. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 133:4321-4331.   10.1121/1.4804316   AbstractWebsite

Echolocation signals from Baird's beaked whales were recorded during visual and acoustic shipboard surveys of cetaceans in the California Current ecosystem and with autonomous, long-term recorders in the Southern California Bight. The preliminary measurement of the visually validated Baird's beaked whale echolocation signals from towed array data were used as a basis for identifying Baird's signals in the autonomous recorder data. Two distinct signal types were found, one being a beaked whale-like frequency modulated (FM) pulse, the other being a dolphin-like broadband click. The median FM inter-pulse interval was 230 ms. Both signal types showed a consistent multi-peak structure in their spectra with peaks at ∼9, 16, 25, and 40 kHz. Depending on signal type, as well as recording aspect and distance to the hydrophone, these peaks varied in relative amplitude. The description of Baird's echolocation signals will allow for studies of their distribution and abundance using towed array data without associated visual sightings and from autonomous seafloor hydrophones.

Cholewiak, D, Baumann-Pickering S, Van Parijs S.  2013.  Description of sounds associated with Sowerby's beaked whales (Mesoplodon bidens) in the western North Atlantic Ocean. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 134:3905-3912.   10.1121/1.4823843   AbstractWebsite

Several groups of Sowerby's beaked whales (Mesoplodon bidens) were encountered on July 4, 2011, during a shipboard cetacean survey conducted off the eastern seaboard of the United States. Acoustic recordings were collected using a three-element towed hydrophone array. Many echolocation clicks were recorded during the encounter, but no tonal sounds were detected. A total of 2969 echolocation clicks were included in analyses of frequency and temporal characteristics. A Gaussian mixture model with four mixtures was fitted to the histogram of peak frequencies; four subsets of clicks were designated. The majority of clicks (n=2048) contained a median peak frequency of 33 kHz, while the others contained a median peak frequency of 25 kHz (n=324), 51 kHz (n=304), or 67 kHz (n=293). Most clicks did not contain a clear frequency-modulated upsweep, though some clicks exhibited a slight sweep from 30-36 kHz. Seven burst pulses were detected in the encounter, two of which were of high enough quality for detailed analysis. The acoustic characteristics of Sowerby's beaked whales have not previously been described; the current study will facilitate incorporation of these data into passive acoustic monitoring programs in the North Atlantic Ocean.

Baumann-Pickering, S, Simonis AE, Wiggins SM, Brownell RL, Hildebrand JA.  2013.  Aleutian Islands beaked whale echolocation signals. Marine Mammal Science. 29(1):221-227.: Blackwell Publishing Inc   10.1111/j.1748-7692.2011.00550.x   AbstractWebsite

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Baumann-Pickering, S, McDonald MA, Simonis AE, Berga AS, Merkens KPB, Oleson EM, Roch MA, Wiggins SM, Rankin S, Yack TM, Hildebrand JA.  2013.  Species-specific beaked whale echolocation signals. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 134:2293-2301.: ASA   10.1121/1.4817832   AbstractWebsite

Beaked whale echolocation signals are mostly frequency-modulated (FM) upsweep pulses and appear to be species specific. Evolutionary processes of niche separation may have driven differentiation of beaked whale signals used for spatial orientation and foraging. FM pulses of eight species of beaked whales were identified, as well as five distinct pulse types of unknown species, but presumed to be from beaked whales. Current evidence suggests these five distinct but unidentified FM pulse types are also species-specific and are each produced by a separate species. There may be a relationship between adult body length and center frequency with smaller whales producing higher frequency signals. This could be due to anatomical and physiological restraints or it could be an evolutionary adaption for detection of smaller prey for smaller whales with higher resolution using higher frequencies. The disadvantage of higher frequencies is a shorter detection range. Whales echolocating with the highest frequencies, or broadband, likely lower source level signals also use a higher repetition rate, which might compensate for the shorter detection range. Habitat modeling with acoustic detections should give further insights into how niches and prey may have shaped species-specific FM pulse types.

2012
Simonis, AE, Baumann-Pickering S, Oleson E, Melcon ML, Gassmann M, Wiggins SM, Hildebrand JA.  2012.  High-frequency modulated signals of killer whales (Orcinus orca) in the North Pacific. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 131:EL295-EL301.   10.1121/1.3690963   Abstract

Killer whales in the North Pacific, similar to Atlantic populations, produce high-frequency modulated signals, based on acoustic recordings from ship-based hydrophone arrays and autonomous recorders at multiple locations. The median peak frequency of these signals ranged from 19.6-36.1 kHz and median duration ranged from 50-163 ms. Source levels were 185-193 dB peak-to-peak re: 1 mu Pa at 1 m. These uniform, repetitive, down-swept signals are similar to bat echolocation signals and possibly could have echolocation functionality. A large geographic range of occurrence suggests that different killer whale ecotypes may utilize these signals. (C) 2012 Acoustical Society of America

Kerosky, SM, Širović A, Roche LK, Baumann-Pickering S, Wiggins SM, Hildebrand JA.  2012.  Bryde's whale seasonal range expansion and increasing presence in the Southern California Bight from 2000 to 2010. Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers. 65:125-132.   10.1016/j.dsr.2012.03.013   AbstractWebsite

Bryde's whales (Balaenoptera edeni) are commonly found in tropical and subtropical regions of the Pacific Ocean, but few studies have explored the presence of Bryde's whales at the boundary of their distribution range. Such studies are increasingly relevant as climate impact models predict the range expansion of warm water species towards the poles in response to ocean warming. Like other baleen whales, Bryde's whales produce distinct low frequency (<60 Hz) calls, which can be used for long-term acoustic monitoring of whale presence in an area. Autonomous passive acoustic recorders deployed at five sites in the Southern California Bight (SCB) were used to investigate the presence of Bryde's whales in temperate waters from 2000 to 2010. Calling Bryde's whales were observed in the SCB from summer to early winter, indicating a seasonal poleward range expansion. There was a significant increase in the presence of calling Bryde's whales in the SCB between 2000 and 2010, but no significant correlation was found between Bryde's whale presence and local sea surface temperature. Bryde's whale occurrence is likely driven by prey availability within the California Current ecosystem, which is affected by seasonal and inter-annual changes in climate and oceanographic conditions. Continued monitoring of Bryde's whales and their prey in the eastern North Pacific is needed to provide a longer time series and determine the full effect of climate variability and ocean warming on the distribution of this species.

2011
Roch, MA, Klinck H, Baumann-Pickering S, Mellinger DK, Qui S, Soldevilla MS, Hildebrand JA.  2011.  Classification of echolocation clicks from odontocetes in the Southern California Bight. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 129:467-475.   10.1121/1.3514383   Abstract

This study presents a system for classifying echolocation clicks of six species of odontocetes in the Southern California Bight: Visually confirmed bottlenose dolphins, short-and long-beaked common dolphins, Pacific white-sided dolphins, Risso's dolphins, and presumed Cuvier's beaked whales. Echolocation clicks are represented by cepstral feature vectors that are classified by Gaussian mixture models. A randomized cross-validation experiment is designed to provide conditions similar to those found in a field-deployed system. To prevent matched conditions from inappropriately lowering the error rate, echolocation clicks associated with a single sighting are never split across the training and test data. Sightings are randomly permuted before assignment to folds in the experiment. This allows different combinations of the training and test data to be used while keeping data from each sighting entirely in the training or test set. The system achieves a mean error rate of 22% across 100 randomized three-fold cross-validation experiments. Four of the six species had mean error rates lower than the overall mean, with the presumed Cuvier's beaked whale clicks showing the best performance (<2% error rate). Long-beaked common and bottlenose dolphins proved the most difficult to classify, with mean error rates of 53% and 68%, respectively. (C) 2011 Acoustical Society of America. [DOI: 10.1121/1.3514383]

Rankin, S, Baumann-Pickering S, Yack T, Barlow J.  2011.  Description of sounds recorded from Longman's beaked whale, Indopacetus pacificus. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 130:EL339-EL344.   10.1121/1.3646026   Abstract

Sounds from Longman's beaked whale, Inclopacetus pacificus were recorded during shipboard surveys of cetaceans surrounding the Hawaiian Islands archipelago; this represents the first known recording of this species. Sounds included echolocation clicks and burst pulses. Echolocation clicks were grouped into three categories, a 15 kHz click (11 = 106), a 25 kHz click (n = 136), and a 25 kHz pulse with a frequency-modulated upsweep (n = 70). The 15 and 25 kHz clicks were relatively short (181 and 144 ms, respectively); the longer 25 kHz upswept pulse was 288 ms. Burst pulses were long (0.5 s) click trains with approximately 240 clicks/s.

Roch, MA, Brandes ST, Patel B, Barkley Y, Baumann-Pickering S, Soldevilla MS.  2011.  Automated extraction of odontocete whistle contours. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 130:2212-2223.   10.1121/1.3624821   AbstractWebsite

Many odontocetes produce frequency modulated tonal calls known as whistles. The ability to automatically determine time x frequency tracks corresponding to these vocalizations has numerous applications including species description, identification, and density estimation. This work develops and compares two algorithms on a common corpus of nearly one hour of data collected in the Southern California Bight and at Palmyra Atoll. The corpus contains over 3000 whistles from bottlenose dolphins, long- and short-beaked common dolphins, spinner dolphins, and melon-headed whales that have been annotated by a human, and released to the Moby Sound archive. Both algorithms use a common signal processing front end to determine time x frequency peaks from a spectrogram. In the first method, a particle filter performs Bayesian filtering, estimating the contour from the noisy spectral peaks. The second method uses an adaptive polynomial prediction to connect peaks into a graph, merging graphs when they cross. Whistle contours are extracted from graphs using information from both sides of crossings. The particle filter was able to retrieve 71.5% (recall) of the human annotated tonals with 60.8% of the detections being valid (precision). The graph algorithm's recall rate was 80.0% with a precision of 76.9%. (C) 2011 Acoustical Society of America. [DOI: 10.1121/1.3624821]

2010
Baumann-Pickering, S, Wiggins SM, Hildebrand JA, Roch MA, Schnitz H-U.  2010.  Discriminating features of echolocation clicks of melon-headed whales (Peponocephala electra), bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), and Gray's spinner dolphins (Stenella longirostris longirostris). Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 128:2212-2224.   10.1121/1.3479549   Abstract

Spectral parameters were used to discriminate between echolocation clicks produced by three dolphin species at Palmyra Atoll: melon-headed whales (Peponocephala electra), bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) and Gray's spinner dolphins (Stenella longirostris longirostris). Single species acoustic behavior during daytime observations was recorded with a towed hydrophone array sampling at 192 and 480 kHz. Additionally, an autonomous, bottom moored High-frequency Acoustic Recording Package (HARP) collected acoustic data with a sampling rate of 200 kHz. Melon-headed whale echolocation clicks had the lowest peak and center frequencies, spinner dolphins had the highest frequencies and bottlenose dolphins were nested in between these two species. Frequency differences were significant. Temporal parameters were not well suited for classification. Feature differences were enhanced by reducing variability within a set of single clicks by calculating mean spectra for groups of clicks. Median peak frequencies of averaged clicks (group size 50) of melon-headed whales ranged between 24.4 and 29.7 kHz, of bottlenose dolphins between 26.7 and 36.7 kHz, and of spinner dolphins between 33.8 and 36.0 kHz. Discriminant function analysis showed the ability to correctly discriminate between 93% of melon-headed whales, 75% of spinner dolphins and 54% of bottlenose dolphins. (c) 2010 Acoustical Society of America. [DOI: 10.1121/1.3479549]

Baumann-Pickering, S, Wiggins SM, Roth EH, Roch MA, Schnitzler H-U, Hildebrand JA.  2010.  Echolocation signals of a beaked whale at Palmyra Atoll. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 127:3790-3799.   10.1121/1.3409478   Abstract

Acoustic recordings from Palmyra Atoll, northern Line Islands, central Pacific, showed upsweep frequency modulated pulses reminiscent of those produced by beaked whales. These signals had higher frequencies, broader bandwidths, longer pulse durations and shorter inter-pulse intervals than previously described pulses of Blainville's, Cuvier's and Gervais' beaked whales [Zimmer (2005). J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 117, 3919-3927; Johnson (2006). J. Exp. Biol. 209, 5038-5050; Gillespie (2009). J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 125, 3428-3433]. They were distinctly different temporally and spectrally from the unknown beaked whale at Cross Seamount, HI [McDonald (2009). J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 125, 624-627]. Genetics on beaked whale specimens found at Palmyra Atoll suggest the presence of a poorly known beaked whale species. Mesoplodon sp. might be the source of the FM pulses described in this paper. The Palmyra Atoll FM pulse peak frequency was at 44 kHz with a -10 dB bandwidth of 26 kHz. Mean pulse duration was 355 mu s and inter-pulse interval was 225 ms, with a bimodal distribution. Buzz sequences were detected with inter-pulse intervals below 20 ms and unmodulated spectra, with about 20 dB lower amplitude than prior FM pulses. These clicks had a 39 kHz bandwidth (-10 dB), peak frequency at 37 kHz, click duration 155 mu s, and inter-click interval between 4 and 10 ms. (C) 2010 Acoustical Society of America. [DOI: 10.1121/1.3409478]