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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   AbstractWebsite

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

Sirovic, A, Hildebrand JA, Wiggins SM, McDonald MA, Moore SE, Thiele D.  2004.  Seasonality of blue and fin whale calls and the influence of sea ice in the Western Antarctic Peninsula. Deep-Sea Research Part Ii-Topical Studies in Oceanography. 51:2327-2344.   10.1016/j.dsr2.2004.08.005   AbstractWebsite

The calling seasonality of blue (Balaenoptera musculus) and fin (B. physalus) whales was assessed using acoustic data recorded on seven autonomous acoustic recording packages (ARPs) deployed from March 2001 to February 2003 in the Western Antarctic Peninsula. Automatic detection and acoustic power analysis methods were used for determining presence and absence of whale calls. Blue whale calls were detected year round, on average 177 days per year, with peak calling in March and April, and a secondary peak in October and November. Lowest calling rates occurred between June and September, and in December. Fin whale calling rates were seasonal with calls detected between February and June (on average 51 days/year), and peak calling in May. Sea ice formed a month later and retreated a month earlier in 2001 than in 2002 over all recording sites. During the entire deployment period, detected calls of both species of whales showed negative correlation with sea ice concentrations at all sites, suggesting an absence of blue and fin whales in areas covered with sea ice. A conservative density estimate of calling whales from the acoustic data yields 0.43 calling blue whales per 1000 n mi(2) and 1.30 calling fin whales per 1000 n mi(2), which is about one-third higher than the density of blue whales and approximately equal to the density of fin whales estimated from the visual surveys. (C) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Sirovic, A, Williams LN, Kerosky SM, Wiggins SM, Hildebrand JA.  2012.  Temporal separation of two fin whale call types across the eastern North Pacific. Marine Biology. 160:47-57.   10.1007/s00227-012-2061-z   AbstractWebsite

Fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) produce a variety of low-frequency, short-duration, frequency-modulated calls. The differences in temporal patterns between two fin whale call types are described from long-term passive acoustic data collected intermittently between 2005 and 2011 at three locations across the eastern North Pacific: the Bering Sea, off Southern California, and in Canal de Ballenas in the northern Gulf of California. Fin whale calls were detected at all sites year-round, during all periods with recordings. At all three locations, 40-Hz calls peaked in June, preceding a peak in 20-Hz calls by 3-5 months. Monitoring both call types may provide a more accurate insight into the seasonal presence of fin whales across the eastern North Pacific than can be obtained from a single call type. The 40-Hz call may be associated with a foraging function, and temporal separation between 40- and 20-Hz calls may indicate the separation between predominately feeding behavior and other social interactions.

Sirovic, A, Rice A, Chou E, Hildebrand JA, Wiggins SM, Roch MA.  2015.  Seven years of blue and fin whale call abundance in the Southern California Bight. Endangered Species Research. 28:61-76.   10.3354/esr00676   AbstractWebsite

Blue whales Balaenoptera musculus and fin whales B. physalus are common inhabitants of the Southern California Bight (SCB), but little is known about the spatial and temporal variability of their use of this area. To study their distribution in the SCB, high-frequency acoustic recording packages were intermittently deployed at 16 locations across the SCB from 2006 to 2012. Presence of blue whale B calls and fin whale 20 Hz calls was determined using 2 types of automatic detection methods, i.e. spectrogram correlation and acoustic energy detection, respectively. Blue whale B calls were generally detected between June and January, with a peak in September, with an overall total of over 3 million detections. Fin whale 20 Hz calls, measured via the fin whale call index, were present year-round, with the highest values between September and December, with a peak in November. Blue whale calls were more common at coastal sites and near the northern Channel Islands, while the fin whale call index was highest in the central and southern areas of the SCB, indicating a possible difference in habitat preferences of the 2 species in this area. Across years, a peak in blue whale call detections occurred in 2008, with minima in 2006 and 2007, but there was no long-term trend. There was an increase in the fin whale call index during this period. These trends are consistent with visual survey estimates for both species in Southern California, providing evidence that passive acoustics can be a powerful tool to monitor population trends for these endangered species.

Širović, A, Bassett HR, Johnson SC, Wiggins SM, Hildebrand JA.  2013.  Bryde's whale calls recorded in the Gulf of Mexico. Marine Mammal Science. :n/a-n/a.   10.1111/mms.12036   AbstractWebsite

Bryde's whales (Balaenoptera edeni) inhabit tropical and subtropical waters worldwide and, unlike most other mysticetes, they are not thought to make long seasonal migrations (Jefferson et al. 2008). They are the only balaenopterid regularly found in the U.S. waters of the Gulf of Mexico (GOM), with their range likely constrained to the shallow, northeastern part of the GOM around DeSoto Canyon (Maze-Foley and Mullin, 2006). Bryde's whales are likely the smallest population of cetaceans in the region (Maze-Foley and Mullin, 2006). While it is possible Bryde's whales are present in this area year-round as four reported strandings have been recorded across seasons (Mead 1977, Jefferson and Schiro 1997, Würsig et al. 2000), visual surveys have been conducted only during the spring (Waring et al. 2009).

Sirovic, A, Hildebrand JA, Wiggins SM.  2007.  Blue and fin whale call source levels and propagation range in the Southern Ocean. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 122:1208-15.   10.1121/1.2749452   AbstractWebsite

Blue (Balaenoptera musculus) and fin whales (B. physalus) produce high-intensity, low-frequency calls, which probably function for communication during mating and feeding. The source levels of blue and fin whale calls off the Western Antarctic Peninsula were calculated using recordings made with calibrated, bottom-moored hydrophones. Blue whales were located up to a range of 200 km using hyperbolic localization and time difference of arrival. The distance to fin whales, estimated using multipath arrivals of their calls, was up to 56 km. The error in range measurements was 3.8 km using hyperbolic localization, and 3.4 km using multipath arrivals. Both species produced high-intensity calls; the average blue whale call source level was 189+/-3 dB re:1 microPa-1 m over 25-29 Hz, and the average fin whale call source level was 189+/-4 dB re:1 microPa-1 m over 15-28 Hz. Blue and fin whale populations in the Southern Ocean have remained at low numbers for decades since they became protected; using source level and detection range from passive acoustic recordings can help in calculating the relative density of calling whales.

Sirovic, A, Hildebrand JA, Wiggins SM, Thiele D.  2009.  Blue and fin whale acoustic presence around Antarctica during 2003 and 2004. Marine Mammal Science. 25:125-136.   10.1111/j.1748-7692.2008.00239.x   AbstractWebsite

Seasonal and spatial variations of blue (Balaenoptera musculus) and fin whale (B. physalus) calls were analyzed from recordings collected with Acoustic Recording Packages (ARPs) deployed between January 2003 and July 2004 at four circumpolar locations: the Western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP), the Scotia Sea (SS), Eastern Antarctica (EA), and the Ross Sea (RS). Call characteristics were compared among sites using the average pressure spectrum levels from 1 month of data at each location. Presence of calls was analyzed using automatic call detection and acoustic power analysis methods. Blue whale calls were recorded year-round, with the highest detections in February-May and November. This suggests that the blue whale population may not migrate synchronously, and may indicate long duration calls are more common during migrations. Fin whale calls were detected only during February-July. Two distinct fin whale call types were recorded, suggesting a possible separation into two populations. The calls at the EA site had a secondary frequency peak in the pressure spectrum at 99 Hz and the calls at the WAP and the SS sites had a peak at 89 Hz. No fin whale calls were detected at the RS site. Acoustics are a good tool to monitor large whales in the Southern Ocean.

Sirovic, A, Wiggins SM, Oleson EM.  2013.  Ocean noise in the tropical and subtropical Pacific Ocean. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 134:2681-2689.   10.1121/1.4820884   AbstractWebsite

Ocean ambient noise is well studied in the North Pacific and North Atlantic but is poorly described for most of the worlds' oceans. Calibrated passive acoustic recordings were collected during 2009-2010 at seven locations in the central and western tropical and subtropical Pacific. Monthly and hourly mean power spectra (15-1000 Hz) were calculated in addition to their skewness, kurtosis, and percentile distributions. Overall, ambient noise at these seven sites was 10-20 dB lower than reported recently for most other locations in the North Pacific. At frequencies <100Hz, spectrum levels were equivalent to those predicted for remote or light shipping. Noise levels in the 40Hz band were compared to the presence of nearby and distant ships as reported to the World Meteorological Organization Voluntary Observing Ship Scheme (VOS) project. There was a positive, but nonsignificant correlation between distant shipping and low frequency noise (at 40 Hz). There was a seasonal variation in ambient noise at frequencies >200Hz with higher levels recorded in the winter than in the summer. Several species of baleen whales, humpback (Megaptera novaeangliae), blue (Balaenoptera musculus), and fin (B. physalus) whales, also contributed seasonally to ambient noise in characteristic frequency bands. (C) 2013 Acoustical Society of America.

Širović, A, Johnson SC, Roche LK, Varga LM, Wiggins SM, Hildebrand JA.  2014.  North Pacific right whales (Eubalaena japonica) recorded in the northeastern Pacific Ocean in 2013. Marine Mammal Science. :n/a-n/a.   10.1111/mms.12189   AbstractWebsite
Soldevilla, MS, Wiggins SM, Hildebrand JA.  2010.  Spatio-temporal comparison of Pacific white-sided dolphin echolocation click types. Aquatic Biology. 9:49-62.   10.3354/ab00224   AbstractWebsite

A comparison of temporal and geographical trends in different echolocation click types produced by Pacific white-sided dolphin Lagenorhynchus obliquidens can lead to insights into the significance of their usage by the dolphins. Using autonomous seafloor recording packages, the spatial, diel and seasonal patterns of Pacific white-sided dolphin echolocation click activity are described for 6 locations in the Southern California Bight. Click bouts of the 2 types of Pacific white-sided dolphin echolocation clicks are identified based on their unique spectral characteristics in long-term spectral averages. Type A clicks were detected on 317 of 1959 recording days and were heard at all 6 sites, with the majority of detections occurring at San Clemente Island and Point Conception. Type B clicks were detected on 130 recording days and were only heard at the 2 southern inshore sites. Significant diel patterns were evident for both click types: Type A click bouts were detected during more hours and with higher click rates at night than during the day, while Type B click bouts exhibited the opposite behavior, with greater activity during the day. At the southern sites, both click types exhibited a fall-winter peak in seasonal occurrence. At Point Conception, where only Type A was detected, peak occurrence was during spring. The described spatial and seasonal patterns support the hypothesis that click types are population-specific, while diel patterns suggest differences in prey preferences.

Soldevilla, MS, Wiggins SM, Hildebrand JA, Oleson EM, Ferguson MC.  2011.  Risso's and Pacific white-sided dolphin habitat modeling from passive acoustic monitoring. Marine Ecology-Progress Series. 423:247-267.   10.3354/meps08927   AbstractWebsite

Habitat characterization allows prediction of dolphin distributions in response to oceanographic processes and can be used to understand and predict effects of anthropogenic disturbances. Many habitat models focus on contemporary dolphin occurrence and environmental predictor data, but time-lagged oceanographic data may increase a model's predictive power due to ecological successional processes. Using hourly occurrence of Risso's dolphin Grampus griseus clicks and 2 types of Pacific white-sided dolphin Lagenorhynchus obliquidens clicks in autonomous passive acoustic recordings, we investigate the importance of time-lagged predictor variables with generalized additive models. These models relate dolphin acoustic activity from recordings at 6 sites in the Southern California Bight between August 2005 and December 2007 to oceanographic variables including sea surface temperature (SST), SST coefficient of variation (CV), sea surface chlorophyll concentration (chl), chl CV, upwelling indices, and solar and lunar temporal indices. The most consistently selected variables among the trial models evaluated during cross-validation were SST (100% of models) and SST CV (80%) for Risso's dolphin clicks; solar indices (100%) and SST and SST CV (60% each) for Pacific white-sided type A (PWS A) clicks; and SST CV (100%), solar indices (100%) and SST (80%) for Pacific white-sided type B (PWS B) clicks. Best predictive models for Risso's dolphins and PWS A clicks included time-lagged variables, suggesting the importance of ecological succession between abiotic variables and dolphin occurrence, while best models of PWS B clicks were for current conditions, suggesting association with prey-aggregating features such as fronts and eddies.

Soldevilla, MS, McKenna ME, Wiggins SM, Shadwick RE, Cranford TW, Hildebrand JA.  2005.  Cuvier's beaked whale (Ziphius cavirostris) head tissues: physical properties and CT imaging. Journal of Experimental Biology. 208:2319-2332.   10.1242/jeb.01624   AbstractWebsite

Tissue physical properties from a Clavier's beaked whale (Ziphius cavirostris) neonate head are reported and compared with computed tomography (CT) X-ray imaging. Physical properties measured include longitudinal sound velocity, density, elastic modulus and hysteresis. Tissues were classified by type as follows: mandibular acoustic fat, mandibular blubber, forehead acoustic fat (melon), forehead blubber, muscle and connective tissue. Results show that each class of tissues has unique, co-varying physical properties. The mandibular acoustic fats had minimal values for sound speed (1350 +/- 10.6 m s(-1)) and mass density (890 +/- 23 kg m(-3)). These values increased through mandibular blubber (1376 +/- 13 m s(-1), 919 +/- 13 kg m(-3)), melon (1382 +/- 23m s(-1), 937 +/- 17 kg m(-3)), forehead blubber (1401 +/- 7.8 m s(-1), 935 +/- 25 kg m(-3)) and muscle (1517 +/- 46.8 m s(-1), 993 +/- 58 kg m(-3)). Connective tissue had the greatest I mean sound speed and density (1628 +/- 48.7 m s(-1)

Soldevilla, MS, Henderson EE, Campbell GS, Wiggins SM, Hildebrand JA, Roch MA.  2008.  Classification of Risso's and Pacific white-sided dolphins using spectral properties of echolocation clicks. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 124:609-624.: ASA   10.1121/1.2932059   AbstractWebsite

The spectral and temporal properties of echolocation clicks and the use of clicks for species classification are investigated for five species of free-ranging dolphins found offshore of southern California: short-beaked common (Delphinus delphis), long-beaked common (D. capensis), Risso's (Grampus griseus), Pacific white-sided (Lagenorhynchus obliquidens), and bottlenose (Tursiops truncatus) dolphins. Spectral properties are compared among the five species and unique spectral peak and notch patterns are described for two species. The spectral peak mean values from Pacific white-sided dolphin clicks are 22.2, 26.6, 33.7, and 37.3 kHz and from Risso's dolphins are 22.4, 25.5, 30.5, and 38.8 kHz. The spectral notch mean values from Pacific white-sided dolphin clicks are 19.0, 24.5, and 29.7 kHz and from Risso's dolphins are 19.6, 27.7, and 35.9 kHz. Analysis of variance analyses indicate that spectral peaks and notches within the frequency band 24–35 kHz are distinct between the two species and exhibit low variation within each species. Post hoc tests divide Pacific white-sided dolphin recordings into two distinct subsets containing different click types, which are hypothesized to represent the different populations that occur within the region. Bottlenose and common dolphin clicks do not show consistent patterns of spectral peaks or notches within the frequency band examined (1–100 kHz).

Soldevilla, MS, Wiggins SM, Hildebrand JA.  2010.  Spatial and temporal patterns of Risso's dolphin echolocation in the Southern California Bight. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 127:124-32.   10.1121/1.3257586   AbstractWebsite

Geographical and temporal trends in echolocation clicking activity can lead to insights into the foraging and migratory behaviors of pelagic dolphins. Using autonomous acoustic recording packages, the geographical, diel, and seasonal patterns of Risso's dolphin (Grampus griseus) echolocation click activity are described for six locations in the Southern California Bight between 2005 and 2007. Risso's dolphin echolocation click bouts are identified based on their unique spectral characteristics. Click bouts were identified on 739 of 1959 recording days at all 6 sites, with the majority occurring at nearshore sites. A significant diel pattern is evident in which both hourly occurrences of click bouts and click rates are higher at night than during the day. At all nearshore sites, Risso's dolphin clicks were identified year-round, with the highest daily occurrence at the southern end of Santa Catalina Island. Seasonal and interannual variabilities in occurrence were high across sites with peak occurrence in autumn of most years at most sites. These results suggest that Risso's dolphins forage at night and that the southern end of Santa Catalina Island represents an important habitat for Risso's dolphins throughout the year.

Stafford, KM, Moore SE, Spillane M, Wiggins S.  2007.  Gray whale calls recorded near barrow, Alaska, throughout the winter of 2003-04. Arctic. 60:167-172. AbstractWebsite

Since the mid-1990s, gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus) have been reported with increasing frequency near Barrow, Alaska, during summer and autumn months. In collaboration with a broad-scale oceanographic study, three autonomous acoustic recorders were moored northeast of Barrow in October 2003 to provide capability for year-round detection of calls. Two recorders were recovered in September 2004, one from the continental slope (water depth = 316 m) and one from near the base of the slope (water depth = 1258 m). The shallow instrument recorded for roughly 3 months (87 days), and the deeper instrument for roughly 7.3 months (222 days). Gray whale calls were recorded on both instruments throughout their periods of operation. The calling rate at the shallower instrument was higher than at the deeper recorder, but surprisingly, the deeper instrument detected calls throughout the 2003-04 winter, though the calling rate diminished as winter progressed. Low-frequency N1/S1 pulses, the most common of the calls produced by gray whales, were recorded from deployment through December 2003 on the shallower of the two instruments and from deployment through May 2004 on the deeper instrument. Because this is the first-ever winter-long acoustic study, we cannot be certain that gray whales have not overwintered in the Beaufort Sea in the past. However, a combination of increasing population size and habitat alteration associated with sea ice reduction and warming in the Alaskan Arctic may be responsible for the extra-seasonal gray whale occurrence near Barrow.