Publications

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2013
Baumann-Pickering, S, M. Yack T, 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.

Wiggins, SM, Frasier KE, Henderson EE, Hildebrand JA.  2013.  Tracking dolphin whistles using an autonomous acoustic recorder array. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 133:3813-3818.: ASA   http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.4802645   AbstractWebsite

Dolphins are known to produce nearly omnidirectional whistles that can propagate several kilometers, allowing these sounds to be localized and tracked using acoustic arrays. During the fall of 2007, a km-scale array of four autonomous acoustic recorders was deployed offshore of southern California in a known dolphin habitat at ∼800 m depth. Concurrently with the one-month recording, a fixed-point marine mammal visual survey was conducted from a moored research platform in the center of the array, providing daytime species and behavior visual confirmation. The recordings showed three main types of dolphin acoustic activity during distinct times: primarily whistling during daytime, whistling and clicking during early night, and primarily clicking during late night. Tracks from periods of daytime whistling typically were tightly grouped and traveled at a moderate rate. In one example with visual observations, traveling common dolphins (Delphinus sp.) were tracked for about 10 km with an average speed of ∼2.5 m s−1 (9 km h−1). Early night recordings had whistle localizations with wider spatial distribution and slower travel speed than daytime recordings, presumably associated with foraging behavior. Localization and tracking of dolphins over long periods has the potential to provide insight into their ecology, behavior, and potential response to stimuli.

2012
Wiggins, SM, McDonald MA, Hildebrand JA.  2012.  Beaked whale and dolphin tracking using a multichannel autonomous acoustic recorder. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 131:156-163.   10.1121/1.3662076   AbstractWebsite

To track highly directional echolocation clicks from odontocetes, passive hydrophone arrays with small apertures can be used to receive the same high frequency click on each sensor. A four-hydrophone small-aperture array was coupled to an autonomous acoustic recorder and used for long-term tracking of high-frequency odontocete sounds. The instrument was deployed in the spring of 2009 offshore of southern California in a known beaked whale and dolphin habitat at about 1000 m depth. The array was configured as a tetrahedron with approximately 0.5 m sensor spacing. Time difference of arrival measurements between the six sensor-pairs were used to estimate three-dimensional bearings to sources. Both near-seafloor beaked whales and near-sea surface dolphins were tracked. The tracks observed using this technique provide swimming and diving behavioral information for free-ranging animals using a single instrument. Furthermore, animal detection ranges were derived, allowing for estimation of detection probability functions. (C) 2012 Acoustical Society of America. [DOI: 10.1121/1.3662076]

McKenna, MF, Ross D, Wiggins SM, Hildebrand JA.  2012.  Underwater radiated noise from modern commercial ships. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 131:92-103.   10.1121/1.3664100   AbstractWebsite

Underwater radiated noise measurements for seven types of modern commercial ships during normal operating conditions are presented. Calibrated acoustic data (<1000 Hz) from an autonomous seafloor-mounted acoustic recorder were combined with ship passage information from the Automatic Identification System. This approach allowed for detailed measurements (i.e., source level, sound exposure level, and transmission range) on ships of opportunity. A key result was different acoustic levels and spectral shapes observed from different ship-types. A 54 kGT container ship had the highest broadband source level at 188 dB re 1 mu Pa@1m; a 26 kGT chemical tanker had the lowest at 177 dB re 1 mu Pa@1m. Bulk carriers had higher source levels near 100 Hz, while container ship and tanker noise was predominantly below 40 Hz. Simple models to predict source levels of modern merchant ships as a group from particular ship characteristics (e. g., length, gross tonnage, and speed) were not possible given individual ship-type differences. Furthermore, ship noise was observed to radiate asymmetrically. Stern aspect noise levels are 5 to 10 dB higher than bow aspect noise levels. Collectively, these results emphasize the importance of including modern ship-types in quantifying shipping noise for predictive models of global, regional, and local marine environments. (C) 2012 Acoustical Society of America. [DOI: 10.1121/1.3664100]