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Frasier, KE, Roch MA, Soldevilla MS, Wiggins SM, Garrison LP, Hildebrand JA.  2017.  Automated classification of dolphin echolocation click types from the Gulf of Mexico. Plos Computational Biology. 13   10.1371/journal.pcbi.1005823   AbstractWebsite

Delphinids produce large numbers of short duration, broadband echolocation clicks which may be useful for species classification in passive acoustic monitoring efforts. A challenge in echolocation click classification is to overcome the many sources of variability to recognize underlying patterns across many detections. An automated unsupervised network-based classification method was developed to simulate the approach a human analyst uses when categorizing click types: Clusters of similar clicks were identified by incorporating multiple click characteristics (spectral shape and inter-click interval distributions) to distinguish within-type from between-type variation, and identify distinct, persistent click types. Once click types were established, an algorithm for classifying novel detections using existing clusters was tested. The automated classification method was applied to a dataset of 52 million clicks detected across five monitoring sites over two years in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM). Seven distinct click types were identified, one of which is known to be associated with an acoustically identifiable delphinid (Risso's dolphin) and six of which are not yet identified. All types occurred at multiple monitoring locations, but the relative occurrence of types varied, particularly between continental shelf and slope locations. Automatically- identified click types from autonomous seafloor recorders without verifiable species identification were compared with clicks detected on sea-surface towed hydrophone arrays in the presence of visually identified delphinid species. These comparisons suggest potential species identities for the animals producing some echolocation click types. The network-based classification method presented here is effective for rapid, unsupervised delphinid click classification across large datasets in which the click types may not be known a priori.

Frasier, KE, Wiggins SM, Harris D, Marques TA, Thomas L, Hildebrand JA.  2016.  Delphinid echolocation click detection probability on near-seafloor sensors. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 140:1918-1930.   10.1121/1.4962279   AbstractWebsite

The probability of detecting echolocating delphinids on a near-seafloor sensor was estimated using two Monte Carlo simulation methods. One method estimated the probability of detecting a single click (cue counting); the other estimated the probability of detecting a group of delphinids (group counting). Echolocation click beam pattern and source level assumptions strongly influenced detectability predictions by the cue counting model. Group detectability was also influenced by assumptions about group behaviors. Model results were compared to in situ recordings of encounters with Risso's dolphin (Grampus griseus) and presumed pantropical spotted dolphin (Stenella attenuata) from a near-seafloor four-channel tracking sensor deployed in the Gulf of Mexico (25.537 degrees N 84.632 degrees W, depth 1220 m). Horizontal detection range, received level and estimated source level distributions from localized encounters were compared with the model predictions. Agreement between in situ results and model predictions suggests that simulations can be used to estimate detection probabilities when direct distance estimation is not available. (C) 2016 Acoustical Society of America.

Henderson, EE, Smith MH, Gassmann M, Wiggins SM, Douglas AB, Hildebrand JA.  2014.  Delphinid behavioral responses to incidental mid-frequency active sonar. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 136:2003-2014.   10.1121/1.4895681   AbstractWebsite

Opportunistic observations of behavioral responses by delphinids to incidental mid-frequency active (MFA) sonar were recorded in the Southern California Bight from 2004 through 2008 using visual focal follows, static hydrophones, and autonomous recorders. Sound pressure levels were calculated between 2 and 8 kHz. Surface behavioral responses were observed in 26 groups from at least three species of 46 groups out of five species encountered during MFA sonar incidents. Responses included changes in behavioral state or direction of travel, changes in vocalization rates and call intensity, or a lack of vocalizations while MFA sonar occurred. However, 46% of focal groups not exposed to sonar also changed their behavior, and 43% of focal groups exposed to sonar did not change their behavior. Mean peak sound pressure levels when a behavioral response occurred were around 122 dB re: 1 mu Pa. Acoustic localizations of dolphin groups exhibiting a response gave insight into nighttime movement patterns and provided evidence that impacts of sonar may be mediated by behavioral state. The lack of response in some cases may indicate a tolerance of or habituation to MFA sonar by local populations; however, the responses that occur at lower received levels may point to some sensitization as well. (C) 2014 Acoustical Society of America.

Cranford, TW, McKenna MF, Soldevilla MS, Wiggins SM, Goldbogen JA, Shadwick RE, Krysl P, St Leger JA, Hildebrand JA.  2008.  Anatomic geometry of sound transmission and reception in Cuvier's beaked whale (Ziphius cavirostris). Anatomical Record-Advances in Integrative Anatomy and Evolutionary Biology. 291:353-378.   10.1002/ar.20652   AbstractWebsite

This study uses remote imaging technology to quantify, compare, and contrast the cephalic anatomy between a neonate female and a young adult male Cuvier's beaked whale. Primary results reveal details of anatomic geometry with implications for acoustic function and diving. Specifically, we describe the juxtaposition of the large pterygoid sinuses, a fibrous venous plexus, and a lipid-rich pathway that connects the acoustic environment to the bony ear complex. We surmise that the large pterygoid air sinuses are essential adaptations for maintaining acoustic isolation and auditory acuity of the ears at depth. In the adult male, an acoustic waveguide lined with pachyosteosclerotic bones is apparently part of a novel transmission pathway for outgoing biosonar signals. Substitution of dense tissue boundaries where we normally find air sacs in delphinoids appears to be a recurring theme in deep-diving beaked whales and sperm whales. The anatomic configuration of the adult male Ziphius forehead resembles an upside-down sperm whale nose and may be its functional equivalent, but the homologous relationships between forehead structures are equivocal. Anat Rec, 291:353-378, 2008. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.