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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, 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]

Varga, LM, Wiggins SM, Hildebrand JA.  2018.  Behavior of singing fin whales Balaenoptera physalus tracked acoustically offshore of Southern California. Endangered Species Research. 35:113-124.   10.3354/esr00881   AbstractWebsite

Fin whales Balaenoptera physalus produce stereotyped low-frequency calls (1530 Hz) that can be detected at great ranges and are considered song when produced in a repeated temporal pattern. These calls, referred to as 20 Hz calls, were localized and tracked using a 1 km aperture array of 4 passive acoustic recorders at approximately 800 m depth northwest of San Clemente Island, offshore of Southern California, USA, for 4 continuous weeks during late fall 2007. A total of 1454 calls were localized over the recording period. The average (+/- SD) estimated source sound pressure level was 194.8 +/- 0.2 dB(pp) re 1 mu Pa-2 at 1 m (where pp is peak-to-peak) and 180.9 +/- 0.2 dB(rms) re 1 mu Pa at 1 m (where rms is root mean square). The majority of these calls were in the form of a doublet song pattern, with average inter-pulse intervals of 13 and 18 s. These tracks are the first to be reported for transiting solitary singing fin whales using passive acoustic monitoring techniques. Acoustic tracking of fin whales provides insight into the ecology and behavior of this endangered species as well as vocal behaviors, which are important when studying the potential impact of anthropogenic noise. Call source sound pressure level, along with calling behavior, provides important parameters required for population density estimation. Furthermore, studying fin whale song patterns may aid in distinguishing different subpopulations.

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, 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.

Wiggins, SM, Oleson EM, McDonald MA, Hildebrand JA.  2005.  Blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) diel call patterns offshore of southern California. Aquatic Mammals. 31:161-168.   10.1578/AM.31.2.2005.161   AbstractWebsite

Diel and seasonal calling patterns for blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) were observed in coastal waters off southern California using seafloor-mounted autonomous acoustic recording packages (ARPs). Automated call counting from spectrogram cross-correlation showed peak seasonal calling in late summer/early fall. When call counts were organized by daily time intervals, calling peaks were observed during twilight periods, just after sunset and before sunrise. Minimum calling was observed during the day. Nighttime calling was greater than daytime calling, but also showed a minimum between the dusk and dawn calling peaks. These peaks correlate with the vertical migration times of krill, the blue whales' primary prey. One hypothesis to explain these diel variations is that blue whale calling and foraging may be mutually exclusive activities. Fewer calls are produced during the day while prey are aggregated at depth and foraging is efficient. More calls are produced during the twilight time periods when prey are vertically migrating and at night when prey are dispersed near the sea surface and foraging is less efficient.

Melcon, ML, Cummins AJ, Kerosky SM, Roche LK, Wiggins SM, Hildebrand JA.  2012.  Blue whales respond to anthropogenic noise. Plos One. 7:e32681.   doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0032681   AbstractWebsite

Anthropogenic noise may significantly impact exposed marine mammals. This work studied the vocalization response of endangered blue whales to anthropogenic noise sources in the mid-frequency range using passive acoustic monitoring in the Southern California Bight. Blue whales were less likely to produce calls when mid-frequency active sonar was present. This reduction was more pronounced when the sonar source was closer to the animal, at higher sound levels. The animals were equally likely to stop calling at any time of day, showing no diel pattern in their sensitivity to sonar. Conversely, the likelihood of whales emitting calls increased when ship sounds were nearby. Whales did not show a differential response to ship noise as a function of the time of the day either. These results demonstrate that anthropogenic noise, even at frequencies well above the blue whales' sound production range, has a strong probability of eliciting changes in vocal behavior. The long-term implications of disruption in call production to blue whale foraging and other behaviors are currently not well understood.

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).

Kerosky, SM, Sirovic 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. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.