Science.gov

Sample records for acoustic sperm whale

  1. Male sperm whale acoustic behavior observed from multipaths at a single hydrophone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Laplanche, Christophe; Adam, Olivier; Lopatka, Maciej; Motsch, Jean-François

    2005-10-01

    Sperm whales generate transient sounds (clicks) when foraging. These clicks have been described as echolocation sounds, a result of having measured the source level and the directionality of these signals and having extrapolated results from biosonar tests made on some small odontocetes. The authors propose a passive acoustic technique requiring only one hydrophone to investigate the acoustic behavior of free-ranging sperm whales. They estimate whale pitch angles from the multipath distribution of click energy. They emphasize the close bond between the sperm whale's physical and acoustic activity, leading to the hypothesis that sperm whales might, like some small odontocetes, control click level and rhythm. An echolocation model estimating the range of the sperm whale's targets from the interclick interval is computed and tested during different stages of the whale's dive. Such a hypothesis on the echolocation process would indicate that sperm whales echolocate their prey layer when initiating their dives and follow a methodic technique when foraging.

  2. Identifying individual sperm whales acoustically using self-organizing maps

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ioup, Juliette W.; Ioup, George E.

    2005-09-01

    The Littoral Acoustic Demonstration Center (LADC) is a consortium at Stennis Space Center comprising the University of New Orleans, the University of Southern Mississippi, the Naval Research Laboratory, and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. LADC deployed three Environmental Acoustic Recording System (EARS) buoys in the northern Gulf of Mexico during the summer of 2001 to study ambient noise and marine mammals. Each LADC EARS was an autonomous, self-recording buoy capable of 36 days of continuous recording of a single channel at an 11.7-kHz sampling rate (bandwidth to 5859 Hz). The hydrophone selected for this analysis was approximately 50 m from the bottom in a water depth of 800 m on the continental slope off the Mississippi River delta. This paper contains recent analysis results for sperm whale codas recorded during a 3-min period. Results are presented for the identification of individual sperm whales from their codas, using the acoustic properties of the clicks within each coda. The recorded time series, the Fourier transform magnitude, and the wavelet transform coefficients are each used separately with a self-organizing map procedure for 43 codas. All show the codas as coming from four or five individual whales. [Research supported by ONR.

  3. Model-based passive acoustic tracking of sperm whale foraging behavior in the Gulf of Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tiemann, Christopher; Thode, Aaron; Straley, Jan; Folkert, Kendall; O'Connell, Victoria

    2005-09-01

    In 2004, the Southeast Alaska Sperm Whale Avoidance Project (SEASWAP) introduced the use of passive acoustics to help monitor the behavior of sperm whales depredating longline fishing operations. Acoustic data from autonomous recorders mounted on longlines provide the opportunity to demonstrate a tracking algorithm based on acoustic propagation modeling while providing insight into whales' foraging behavior. With knowledge of azimuthally dependent bathymetry, a 3D track of whale motion can be obtained using data from just one hydrophone by exploiting multipath arrival information from recorded sperm whale clicks. The evolution of multipath arrival patterns is matched to range-, depth-, and azimuth-dependent modeled arrival patterns to generate an estimate of whale motion. This technique does not require acoustic ray identification (i.e., direct path, surface reflected, etc.) while still utilizing individual ray arrival information, and it can also account for all waveguide propagation physics such as interaction with range-dependent bathymetry and ray refraction.

  4. Spectral identification of sperm whales from Littoral Acoustic Demonstration Center passive acoustic recordings

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sidorovskaia, Natalia A.; Richard, Blake; Ioup, George E.; Ioup, Juliette W.

    2005-09-01

    The Littoral Acoustic Demonstration Center (LADC) made a series of passive broadband acoustic recordings in the Gulf of Mexico and Ligurian Sea to study noise and marine mammal phonations. The collected data contain a large amount of various types of sperm whale phonations, such as isolated clicks and communication codas. It was previously reported that the spectrograms of the extracted clicks and codas contain well-defined null patterns that seem to be unique for individuals. The null pattern is formed due to individual features of the sound production organs of an animal. These observations motivated the present studies of adapting human speech identification techniques for deep-diving marine mammal phonations. A three-state trained hidden Markov model (HMM) was used with the phonation spectra of sperm whales. The HHM-algorithm gave 75% accuracy in identifying individuals when it had been initially tested for the acoustic data set correlated with visual observations of sperm whales. A comparison of the identification accuracy based on null-pattern similarity analysis and the HMM-algorithm is presented. The results can establish the foundation for developing an acoustic identification database for sperm whales and possibly other deep-diving marine mammals that would be difficult to observe visually. [Research supported by ONR.

  5. Assessing the Deepwater Horizon oil spill impact on marine mammal population through acoustics: endangered sperm whales.

    PubMed

    Ackleh, Azmy S; Ioup, George E; Ioup, Juliette W; Ma, Baoling; Newcomb, Joal J; Pal, Nabendu; Sidorovskaia, Natalia A; Tiemann, Christopher

    2012-03-01

    Long-term monitoring of endangered species abundance based on acoustic recordings has not yet been pursued. This paper reports the first attempt to use multi-year passive acoustic data to study the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on the population of endangered sperm whales. Prior to the spill the Littoral Acoustic Demonstration Center (LADC) collected acoustic recordings near the spill site in 2007. These baseline data now provide a unique opportunity to better understand how the oil spill affected marine mammals in the Gulf of Mexico. In September 2010, LADC redeployed recording buoys at previously used locations 9, 25, and 50 miles away from the incident site. A statistical methodology that provides point and interval estimates of the abundance of the sperm whale population at the two nearest sites is presented. A comparison of the 2007 and the 2010 recordings shows a decrease in acoustic activity and abundance of sperm whales at the 9-mile site by a factor of 2, whereas acoustic activity and abundance at the 25-mile site has clearly increased. This indicates that some sperm whales may have relocated farther away from the spill. Follow-up experiments will be important for understanding long-term impact.

  6. Acoustically derived growth rates of sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) in Kaikoura, New Zealand.

    PubMed

    Miller, Brian S; Growcott, Abraham; Slooten, Elisabeth; Dawson, Stephen M

    2013-09-01

    A non-invasive acoustic method for measuring the growth of sperm whales was developed based on estimating the length of individuals by measuring the inter-pulse interval (IPI) of their clicks. Most prior knowledge of growth in male sperm whales has come from from fitting growth curves to length data gained from whaling. Recordings made at Kaikoura, New Zealand, were used to estimate the length and growth of 32 photographically identified, resident whales that have been recorded repeatedly between 1991 and 2009. All whales recorded more than six months apart (n = 30) showed an increase in IPI. Using established relationships between IPI and total length, it was found that the average growth rate in the Kaikoura population is lower, especially for smaller whales (13-14.5 m), than that derived from historical whaling data from other populations. This difference may be due to ecological differences among populations but might also reflect upward bias in measurements gained in whaling. The ability to track growth of individuals through time is only possible via non-lethal means and offers a fundamentally different kind of data because differences among individuals can be measured.

  7. Studies of depredating sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) off Sitka, AK, using videocameras, tags, and long-range passive acoustic tracking

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mathias, Delphine

    This dissertation uses videocameras, tags and acoustic recorders to investigate the diving and acoustic behavior of sperm whales in the Gulf of Alaska during natural and depredation foraging conditions. First, underwater videocamera footage of a sperm whale attacking a fisherman's longline at 100 m depth was used to examine its acoustic behavior at close range and to estimate its size both acoustically and visually. Second, bioacoustic tagging data demonstrated that the same individuals displayed different acoustic behaviors during natural and depredation foraging states. Two broad categories of depredation, "shallow" and "deep," were also identified. These results suggest that passive acoustic monitoring at close ranges may yield useful metrics for quantifying depredation activity. Third, the behavioral reactions of depredating sperm whales to a variety of acoustic playbacks generated at relatively low source levels were investigated using bioacoustic tags. Finally, bioacoustic and satellite tag data were used to develop passive acoustic techniques for tracking sperm whales with a short-aperture two-element vertical array. When numeric sound propagation models were exploited, localization ranges up to 35 km were obtained. The tracking methods were also used to estimate the source levels of sperm whale "clicks" and "creaks", predict the maximum detection range of the signals as a function of sea state, and measure the drift of several whales away from a visual decoy.

  8. Sperm whale predator-prey interactions involve chasing and buzzing, but no acoustic stunning.

    PubMed

    Fais, A; Johnson, M; Wilson, M; Aguilar Soto, N; Madsen, P T

    2016-01-01

    The sperm whale carries a hypertrophied nose that generates powerful clicks for long-range echolocation. However, it remains a conundrum how this bizarrely shaped apex predator catches its prey. Several hypotheses have been advanced to propose both active and passive means to acquire prey, including acoustic debilitation of prey with very powerful clicks. Here we test these hypotheses by using sound and movement recording tags in a fine-scale study of buzz sequences to relate the acoustic behaviour of sperm whales with changes in acceleration in their head region during prey capture attempts. We show that in the terminal buzz phase, sperm whales reduce inter-click intervals and estimated source levels by 1-2 orders of magnitude. As a result, received levels at the prey are more than an order of magnitude below levels required for debilitation, precluding acoustic stunning to facilitate prey capture. Rather, buzzing involves high-frequency, low amplitude clicks well suited to provide high-resolution biosonar updates during the last stages of capture. The high temporal resolution helps to guide motor patterns during occasionally prolonged chases in which prey are eventually subdued with the aid of fast jaw movements and/or buccal suction as indicated by acceleration transients (jerks) near the end of buzzes. PMID:27340122

  9. Sperm whale predator-prey interactions involve chasing and buzzing, but no acoustic stunning

    PubMed Central

    Fais, A.; Johnson, M.; Wilson, M.; Aguilar Soto, N.; Madsen, P. T.

    2016-01-01

    The sperm whale carries a hypertrophied nose that generates powerful clicks for long-range echolocation. However, it remains a conundrum how this bizarrely shaped apex predator catches its prey. Several hypotheses have been advanced to propose both active and passive means to acquire prey, including acoustic debilitation of prey with very powerful clicks. Here we test these hypotheses by using sound and movement recording tags in a fine-scale study of buzz sequences to relate the acoustic behaviour of sperm whales with changes in acceleration in their head region during prey capture attempts. We show that in the terminal buzz phase, sperm whales reduce inter-click intervals and estimated source levels by 1–2 orders of magnitude. As a result, received levels at the prey are more than an order of magnitude below levels required for debilitation, precluding acoustic stunning to facilitate prey capture. Rather, buzzing involves high-frequency, low amplitude clicks well suited to provide high-resolution biosonar updates during the last stages of capture. The high temporal resolution helps to guide motor patterns during occasionally prolonged chases in which prey are eventually subdued with the aid of fast jaw movements and/or buccal suction as indicated by acceleration transients (jerks) near the end of buzzes. PMID:27340122

  10. Sperm whale assessment in the Western Ionian Sea using acoustic data from deep sea observatories

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Caruso, Francesco; Bellia, Giorgio; Beranzoli, Laura; De Domenico, Emilio; Larosa, Giuseppina; Marinaro, Giuditta; Papale, Elena; Pavan, Gianni; Pellegrino, Carmelo; Pulvirenti, Sara; Riccobene, Giorgio; Scandura, Danila; Sciacca, Virginia; Viola, Salvatore

    2015-04-01

    The Italian National Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN) operates two deep sea infrastructures: Capo Passero, Western Ionian Sea 3,600 meters of depth, and Catania Wester Ionian Sea 2,100 m depth. At the two sites, several research observatories have been run: OnDE, NEMO-SN1, SMO, KM3NeT-Italia most of them jointly operated between INFN and INGV. In all these observatories, passive acoustic sensors (hydrophones) have been installed. Passive Acoustics Monitoring (PAM) is nowadays the main tool of the bioacoustics to study marine mammals. In particular, receiving the sounds emitted by cetaceans from a multi-hydrophones array installed in a cabled seafloor observatory, a research about the ecological dynamics of the species may be performed. Data acquired with the hydrophones installed aboard the OnDE, SMO and KM3NeT-Italia observatories will be reported. Thanks to acquired data, the acoustic presence of the sperm whales was assessed and studied for several years (2005:2013). An "ad hoc" algorithm was also developed to allow the automatic identification of the "clicks" emitted by the sperm whales and measure the size of detected animals. According to the results obtained, the sperm whale population in the area is well-distributed in size, sex and sexual maturity. Although specimens more than 14 meters of length (old males) seem to be absent.

  11. Sperm whale predator-prey interactions involve chasing and buzzing, but no acoustic stunning.

    PubMed

    Fais, A; Johnson, M; Wilson, M; Aguilar Soto, N; Madsen, P T

    2016-06-24

    The sperm whale carries a hypertrophied nose that generates powerful clicks for long-range echolocation. However, it remains a conundrum how this bizarrely shaped apex predator catches its prey. Several hypotheses have been advanced to propose both active and passive means to acquire prey, including acoustic debilitation of prey with very powerful clicks. Here we test these hypotheses by using sound and movement recording tags in a fine-scale study of buzz sequences to relate the acoustic behaviour of sperm whales with changes in acceleration in their head region during prey capture attempts. We show that in the terminal buzz phase, sperm whales reduce inter-click intervals and estimated source levels by 1-2 orders of magnitude. As a result, received levels at the prey are more than an order of magnitude below levels required for debilitation, precluding acoustic stunning to facilitate prey capture. Rather, buzzing involves high-frequency, low amplitude clicks well suited to provide high-resolution biosonar updates during the last stages of capture. The high temporal resolution helps to guide motor patterns during occasionally prolonged chases in which prey are eventually subdued with the aid of fast jaw movements and/or buccal suction as indicated by acceleration transients (jerks) near the end of buzzes.

  12. Acoustic Propagation Studies For Sperm Whale Phonation Analysis During LADC Experiments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sidorovskaia, Natalia A.; Ioup, George E.; Ioup, Juliette W.; Caruthers, Jerald W.

    2004-11-01

    The Littoral Acoustic Demonstration Center (LADC) conducted a series of passive acoustic experiments in the Northern Gulf of Mexico and the Ligurian Sea in 2001 and 2002. Environmental and acoustic moorings were deployed in areas of large concentrations of marine mammals (mainly, sperm whales). Recordings and analysis of whale phonations are among the objectives of the project. Each mooring had a single autonomously recording hydrophone (Environmental Acoustic Recording System (EARS)) obtained from the U.S. Naval Oceanographic Office after modification to record signals up to 5,859 Hz in the Gulf of Mexico and up to 12,500 Hz in the Ligurian Sea. Self-recording environmental sensors, attached to the moorings, and concurrent environmental ship surveys provided the environmental data for the experiments. The results of acoustic simulations of long-range propagation of the broad-band (500-6,000 Hz) phonation pulses from a hypothetical whale location to the recording hydrophone in the experimental environments are presented. The utilization of the simulation results for an interpretation of the spectral features observed in whale clicks and for the development of tracking algorithms from single hydrophone recordings based on the identification of direct and surface and bottom reflected arrivals are discussed. [Research supported by ONR.

  13. Three-dimensional passive acoustic tracking of sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) in ray-refracting environments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thode, Aaron

    2005-12-01

    A wide-aperture towed passive acoustic array is used to obtain ranges and depths of acoustically active sperm whales in the Gulf of Mexico in June 2004, by extending a technique previously reported [Thode, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 116, 245-253 (2004)] to explicitly account for ray-refraction effects arising from a depth-dependent sound speed profile. Under this expanded approach, three quantities are measured from an impulsive sound: the time difference between direct-path arrivals on a forward and rear subarray, the time difference between the direct and surface-reflected paths on the rear subarray, and the acoustic bearing measured on the rear subarray. These quantities, combined with independent measurements of hydrophone depths and cable inclination, are converted into range-depth position fixes by implementing an efficient numerical procedure that uses a ray-tracing code to account for ray-refraction effects caused by depth-dependent sound speed profiles. Analytic expressions that assume a constant waterborne sound speed are also derived. Foraging depths of various sperm whales over 10 days in June, 2004 are estimated using the numerical technique.

  14. A comparison of acoustic and visual metrics of sperm whale longline depredation.

    PubMed

    Thode, Aaron M; Wild, Lauren; Mathias, Delphine; Straley, Janice; Lunsford, Christopher

    2014-05-01

    Annual federal stock assessment surveys for Alaskan sablefish also attempt to measure sperm whale depredation by quantifying visual evidence of depredation, including lip remains and damaged fish. A complementary passive acoustic method for quantifying depredation was investigated during the 2011 and 2012 survey hauls. A combination of machine-aided and human analysis counted the number of distinct “creak” sounds detected on autonomous recorders deployed during the survey, emphasizing sounds that are followed by silence (“creak-pauses”), a possible indication of prey capture. These raw counts were then adjusted for variations in background noise levels between deployments. Both a randomized Pearson correlation analysis and a generalized linear model found that noise-adjusted counts of “creak-pauses” were highly correlated with survey counts of lip remains during both years (2012: r(10) = 0.89, p = 1e-3; 2011: r(39) = 0.72, p = 4e-3) and somewhat correlated with observed sablefish damage in 2011 [r(39) = 0.37, p = 0.03], but uncorrelated with other species depredation. The acoustic depredation count was anywhere from 10% to 80% higher than the visual counts, depending on the survey year and assumptions employed. The results suggest that passive acoustics can provide upper bounds on depredation rates; however, the observed correlation breaks down whenever three or more whales are present.

  15. A comparison of acoustic and visual metrics of sperm whale longline depredation.

    PubMed

    Thode, Aaron M; Wild, Lauren; Mathias, Delphine; Straley, Janice; Lunsford, Christopher

    2014-05-01

    Annual federal stock assessment surveys for Alaskan sablefish also attempt to measure sperm whale depredation by quantifying visual evidence of depredation, including lip remains and damaged fish. A complementary passive acoustic method for quantifying depredation was investigated during the 2011 and 2012 survey hauls. A combination of machine-aided and human analysis counted the number of distinct “creak” sounds detected on autonomous recorders deployed during the survey, emphasizing sounds that are followed by silence (“creak-pauses”), a possible indication of prey capture. These raw counts were then adjusted for variations in background noise levels between deployments. Both a randomized Pearson correlation analysis and a generalized linear model found that noise-adjusted counts of “creak-pauses” were highly correlated with survey counts of lip remains during both years (2012: r(10) = 0.89, p = 1e-3; 2011: r(39) = 0.72, p = 4e-3) and somewhat correlated with observed sablefish damage in 2011 [r(39) = 0.37, p = 0.03], but uncorrelated with other species depredation. The acoustic depredation count was anywhere from 10% to 80% higher than the visual counts, depending on the survey year and assumptions employed. The results suggest that passive acoustics can provide upper bounds on depredation rates; however, the observed correlation breaks down whenever three or more whales are present. PMID:24926504

  16. Acoustic and diving behavior of sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) during natural and depredation foraging in the Gulf of Alaska.

    PubMed

    Mathias, Delphine; Thode, Aaron M; Straley, Jan; Calambokidis, John; Schorr, Gregory S; Folkert, Kendall

    2012-07-01

    Sperm whales have depredated black cod (Anoplopoma fimbria) from demersal longlines in the Gulf of Alaska for decades, but the behavior has recently spread in intensity and geographic coverage. Over a three-year period 11 bioacoustic tags were attached to adult sperm whales off Southeast Alaska during both natural and depredation foraging conditions. Measurements of the animals' dive profiles and their acoustic behavior under both behavioral modes were examined for statistically significant differences. Two rough categories of depredation are identified: "deep" and "shallow." "Deep depredating" whales consistently surface within 500 m of a hauling fishing vessel, have maximum dive depths greater than 200 m, and display significantly different acoustic behavior than naturally foraging whales, with shorter inter-click intervals, occasional bouts of high "creak" rates, and fewer dives without creaks. "Shallow depredating" whales conduct dives that are much shorter, shallower, and more acoustically active than both the natural and deep depredating behaviors, with median creak rates three times that of natural levels. These results suggest that depredation efforts might be measured remotely with passive acoustic monitoring at close ranges.

  17. Tracking sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) dive profiles using a towed passive acoustic array

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thode, Aaron

    2004-07-01

    A passive acoustic method is presented for tracking sperm whale dive profiles, using two or three hydrophones deployed as either a vertical or large-aperture towed array. The relative arrival times between the direct and surface-reflected acoustic paths are used to obtain the ranges and depths of animals with respect to the array, provided that the hydrophone depths are independently measured. Besides reducing the number of hydrophones required, exploiting surface reflections simplifies automation of the data processing. Experimental results are shown from 2002 and 2003 cruises in the Gulf of Mexico for two different towed array deployments. The 2002 deployment consisted of two short-aperture towed arrays separated by 170 m, while the 2003 deployment placed an autonomous acoustic recorder in tandem with a short-aperture towed array, and used ship noise to time-align the acoustic data. The resulting dive profiles were independently checked using single-hydrophone localizations, whenever multipath reflections from the ocean bottom could be exploited to effectively create a large-aperture vertical array. This technique may have applications for basic research and for real-time mitigation for seismic airgun surveys.

  18. Acoustic property reconstruction of a pygmy sperm whale (Kogia breviceps) forehead based on computed tomography imaging.

    PubMed

    Song, Zhongchang; Xu, Xiao; Dong, Jianchen; Xing, Luru; Zhang, Meng; Liu, Xuecheng; Zhang, Yu; Li, Songhai; Berggren, Per

    2015-11-01

    Computed tomography (CT) imaging and sound experimental measurements were used to reconstruct the acoustic properties (density, velocity, and impedance) of the forehead tissues of a deceased pygmy sperm whale (Kogia breviceps). The forehead was segmented along the body axis and sectioned into cross section slices, which were further cut into sample pieces for measurements. Hounsfield units (HUs) of the corresponding measured pieces were obtained from CT scans, and regression analyses were conducted to investigate the linear relationships between the tissues' HUs and velocity, and HUs and density. The distributions of the acoustic properties of the head at axial, coronal, and sagittal cross sections were reconstructed, revealing that the nasal passage system was asymmetric and the cornucopia-shaped spermaceti organ was in the right nasal passage, surrounded by tissues and airsacs. A distinct dense theca was discovered in the posterior-dorsal area of the melon, which was characterized by low velocity in the inner core and high velocity in the outer region. Statistical analyses revealed significant differences in density, velocity, and acoustic impedance between all four structures, melon, spermaceti organ, muscle, and connective tissue (p < 0.001). The obtained acoustic properties of the forehead tissues provide important information for understanding the species' bioacoustic characteristics.

  19. Acoustic property reconstruction of a pygmy sperm whale (Kogia breviceps) forehead based on computed tomography imaging.

    PubMed

    Song, Zhongchang; Xu, Xiao; Dong, Jianchen; Xing, Luru; Zhang, Meng; Liu, Xuecheng; Zhang, Yu; Li, Songhai; Berggren, Per

    2015-11-01

    Computed tomography (CT) imaging and sound experimental measurements were used to reconstruct the acoustic properties (density, velocity, and impedance) of the forehead tissues of a deceased pygmy sperm whale (Kogia breviceps). The forehead was segmented along the body axis and sectioned into cross section slices, which were further cut into sample pieces for measurements. Hounsfield units (HUs) of the corresponding measured pieces were obtained from CT scans, and regression analyses were conducted to investigate the linear relationships between the tissues' HUs and velocity, and HUs and density. The distributions of the acoustic properties of the head at axial, coronal, and sagittal cross sections were reconstructed, revealing that the nasal passage system was asymmetric and the cornucopia-shaped spermaceti organ was in the right nasal passage, surrounded by tissues and airsacs. A distinct dense theca was discovered in the posterior-dorsal area of the melon, which was characterized by low velocity in the inner core and high velocity in the outer region. Statistical analyses revealed significant differences in density, velocity, and acoustic impedance between all four structures, melon, spermaceti organ, muscle, and connective tissue (p < 0.001). The obtained acoustic properties of the forehead tissues provide important information for understanding the species' bioacoustic characteristics. PMID:26627786

  20. Size Distribution of Sperm Whales Acoustically Identified during Long Term Deep-Sea Monitoring in the Ionian Sea.

    PubMed

    Caruso, Francesco; Sciacca, Virginia; Bellia, Giorgio; De Domenico, Emilio; Larosa, Giuseppina; Papale, Elena; Pellegrino, Carmelo; Pulvirenti, Sara; Riccobene, Giorgio; Simeone, Francesco; Speziale, Fabrizio; Viola, Salvatore; Pavan, Gianni

    2015-01-01

    The sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) emits a typical short acoustic signal, defined as a "click", almost continuously while diving. It is produced in different time patterns to acoustically explore the environment and communicate with conspecifics. Each emitted click has a multi-pulse structure, resulting from the production of the sound within the sperm whale's head. A Stable Inter Pulse Interval (Stable IPI) can be identified among the pulses that compose a single click. Applying specific algorithms, the measurement of this interval provides useful information to assess the total length of the animal recorded. In January 2005, a cabled hydrophone array was deployed at a depth of 2,100 m in the Central Mediterranean Sea, 25 km offshore Catania (Ionian Sea). The acoustic antenna, named OνDE (Ocean noise Detection Experiment), was in operation until November 2006. OνDE provided real time acoustic data used to perform Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM) of cetacean sound emissions. In this work, an innovative approach was applied to automatically measure the Stable IPI of the clicks, performing a cepstrum analysis to the energy (square amplitude) of the signals. About 2,100 five-minute recordings were processed to study the size distribution of the sperm whales detected during the OνDE long term deep-sea acoustic monitoring. Stable IPIs were measured in the range between 2.1 ms and 6.4 ms. The equations of Gordon (1991) and of Growcott (2011) were used to convert the IPIs into measures of size. The results revealed that the sperm whales recorded were distributed in length from about 7.5 m to 14 m. The size category most represented was from 9 m to 12 m (adult females or juvenile males) and specimens longer than 14 m (old males) seemed to be absent.

  1. Size Distribution of Sperm Whales Acoustically Identified during Long Term Deep-Sea Monitoring in the Ionian Sea.

    PubMed

    Caruso, Francesco; Sciacca, Virginia; Bellia, Giorgio; De Domenico, Emilio; Larosa, Giuseppina; Papale, Elena; Pellegrino, Carmelo; Pulvirenti, Sara; Riccobene, Giorgio; Simeone, Francesco; Speziale, Fabrizio; Viola, Salvatore; Pavan, Gianni

    2015-01-01

    The sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) emits a typical short acoustic signal, defined as a "click", almost continuously while diving. It is produced in different time patterns to acoustically explore the environment and communicate with conspecifics. Each emitted click has a multi-pulse structure, resulting from the production of the sound within the sperm whale's head. A Stable Inter Pulse Interval (Stable IPI) can be identified among the pulses that compose a single click. Applying specific algorithms, the measurement of this interval provides useful information to assess the total length of the animal recorded. In January 2005, a cabled hydrophone array was deployed at a depth of 2,100 m in the Central Mediterranean Sea, 25 km offshore Catania (Ionian Sea). The acoustic antenna, named OνDE (Ocean noise Detection Experiment), was in operation until November 2006. OνDE provided real time acoustic data used to perform Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM) of cetacean sound emissions. In this work, an innovative approach was applied to automatically measure the Stable IPI of the clicks, performing a cepstrum analysis to the energy (square amplitude) of the signals. About 2,100 five-minute recordings were processed to study the size distribution of the sperm whales detected during the OνDE long term deep-sea acoustic monitoring. Stable IPIs were measured in the range between 2.1 ms and 6.4 ms. The equations of Gordon (1991) and of Growcott (2011) were used to convert the IPIs into measures of size. The results revealed that the sperm whales recorded were distributed in length from about 7.5 m to 14 m. The size category most represented was from 9 m to 12 m (adult females or juvenile males) and specimens longer than 14 m (old males) seemed to be absent. PMID:26675588

  2. Size Distribution of Sperm Whales Acoustically Identified during Long Term Deep-Sea Monitoring in the Ionian Sea

    PubMed Central

    Caruso, Francesco; Sciacca, Virginia; Bellia, Giorgio; De Domenico, Emilio; Larosa, Giuseppina; Papale, Elena; Pellegrino, Carmelo; Pulvirenti, Sara; Riccobene, Giorgio; Simeone, Francesco; Speziale, Fabrizio; Viola, Salvatore; Pavan, Gianni

    2015-01-01

    The sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) emits a typical short acoustic signal, defined as a “click”, almost continuously while diving. It is produced in different time patterns to acoustically explore the environment and communicate with conspecifics. Each emitted click has a multi-pulse structure, resulting from the production of the sound within the sperm whale’s head. A Stable Inter Pulse Interval (Stable IPI) can be identified among the pulses that compose a single click. Applying specific algorithms, the measurement of this interval provides useful information to assess the total length of the animal recorded. In January 2005, a cabled hydrophone array was deployed at a depth of 2,100 m in the Central Mediterranean Sea, 25 km offshore Catania (Ionian Sea). The acoustic antenna, named OνDE (Ocean noise Detection Experiment), was in operation until November 2006. OνDE provided real time acoustic data used to perform Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM) of cetacean sound emissions. In this work, an innovative approach was applied to automatically measure the Stable IPI of the clicks, performing a cepstrum analysis to the energy (square amplitude) of the signals. About 2,100 five-minute recordings were processed to study the size distribution of the sperm whales detected during the OνDE long term deep-sea acoustic monitoring. Stable IPIs were measured in the range between 2.1 ms and 6.4 ms. The equations of Gordon (1991) and of Growcott (2011) were used to convert the IPIs into measures of size. The results revealed that the sperm whales recorded were distributed in length from about 7.5 m to 14 m. The size category most represented was from 9 m to 12 m (adult females or juvenile males) and specimens longer than 14 m (old males) seemed to be absent. PMID:26675588

  3. Extraction of pulse repetition intervals from sperm whale click trains for ocean acoustic data mining.

    PubMed

    Zaugg, Serge; van der Schaar, Mike; Houégnigan, Ludwig; André, Michel

    2013-02-01

    The analysis of acoustic data from the ocean is a valuable tool to study free ranging cetaceans and anthropogenic noise. Due to the typically large volume of acquired data, there is a demand for automated analysis techniques. Many cetaceans produce acoustic pulses (echolocation clicks) with a pulse repetition interval (PRI) remaining nearly constant over several pulses. Analyzing these pulse trains is challenging because they are often interleaved. This article presents an algorithm that estimates a pulse's PRI with respect to neighboring pulses. It includes a deinterleaving step that operates via a spectral dissimilarity metric. The sperm whale (SW) produces trains with PRIs between 0.5 and 2 s. As a validation, the algorithm was used for the PRI-based identification of SW click trains with data from the NEMO-ONDE observatory that contained other pulsed sounds, mainly from ship propellers. Separation of files containing SW clicks with a medium and high signal to noise ratio from files containing other pulsed sounds gave an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve value of 0.96. This study demonstrates that PRI can be used for the automated identification of SW clicks and that deinterleaving via spectral dissimilarity contributes to algorithm performance.

  4. Acoustic tracking of sperm whales in the Gulf of Alaska using a two-element vertical array and tags.

    PubMed

    Mathias, Delphine; Thode, Aaron M; Straley, Jan; Andrews, Russel D

    2013-09-01

    Between 15 and 17 August 2010, a simple two-element vertical array was deployed off the continental slope of Southeast Alaska in 1200 m water depth. The array was attached to a vertical buoy line used to mark each end of a longline fishing set, at 300 m depth, close to the sound-speed minimum of the deep-water profile. The buoy line also served as a depredation decoy, attracting seven sperm whales to the area. One animal was tagged with both a LIMPET dive depth-transmitting satellite and bioacoustic "B-probe" tag. Both tag datasets were used as an independent check of various passive acoustic schemes for tracking the whale in depth and range, which exploited the elevation angles and relative arrival times of multiple ray paths recorded on the array. Analytical tracking formulas were viable up to 2 km range, but only numerical propagation models yielded accurate locations up to at least 35 km range at Beaufort sea state 3. Neither localization approach required knowledge of the local bottom bathymetry. The tracking system was successfully used to estimate the source level of an individual sperm whale's "clicks" and "creaks" and predict the maximum detection range of the signals as a function of sea state.

  5. Signal processing techniques for acoustic measurement of sperm whale body lengths.

    PubMed

    Goold, J C

    1996-11-01

    Waveform cross correlation and cepstrum analysis were used to demonstrate possible techniques to measure pulse intervals within sperm whale sonar clicks. The structure of sperm whale clicks takes the form of a series of decaying broadband pulses separated by a time interval that is a function of sound velocity in spermaceti oil and the length of the spermaceti sac within the whales' head. Click signals were bandpass filtered and waveform cross correlation used on the filtered signals to obtain maxima in the correlation function. Such maxima occur when successive pulses within the filtered click waveforms align after time shifting of the replica waveform by integer multiples of the interpulse interval. As an alternative approach, cepstrum analysis was used on the spectra of individual clicks, which were found to contain ripples with periods corresponding to the reciprocal of the interpulse interval. Variable signal quality lead to the conclusion that neither method was reliable for spot measurements of IPIs from individual clicks. However, calculating IPIs by either method for several hundred clicks in 6-min sequences, and smoothing the results with moving averages, allowed realistic mean values to be obtained and interpulse interval trends to be observed with dive time. Interpulse intervals were generally found to decrease with dive time, in accordance with known sound velocity characteristics of spermaceti oil under increasing pressure. Mean values of interpulse intervals obtained by cepstrum analysis for each click sequence were used to estimate body lengths of the respective animals.

  6. Sound production in neonate sperm whales (L)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Madsen, P. T.; Carder, D. A.; Au, W. W. L.; Nachtigall, P. E.; Møhl, B.; Ridgway, S. H.

    2003-06-01

    Acoustic data from two sperm whale neonates (Physeter macrocephalus) in rehabilitation are presented and implications for sound production and function are discussed. The clicks of neonate sperm whale are very different from usual clicks of adult specimens in that neonate clicks are of low directionality [SL anomaly (0°-90°) <8 dB], long duration (2-12 ms), and low frequency (centroid frequency between 300 and 1700 Hz) with estimated SLs between 140 and 162 dB//1 μPa (rms). Such neonate clicks are unsuited for biosonar, but can potentially convey homing information between calves and submerged conspecifics in open ocean waters at ranges of some 2 km. Moreover, it is demonstrated that sperm whale clicks are produced at the anterior placed monkey lips, thereby substantiating a key point in the modified Norris and Harvey theory and supporting the unifying theory of sound production in odontocetes.

  7. Vocal clans in sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus).

    PubMed

    Rendell, L E; Whitehead, H

    2003-02-01

    Cultural transmission may be a significant source of variation in the behaviour of whales and dolphins, especially as regards their vocal signals. We studied variation in the vocal output of 'codas' by sperm whale social groups. Codas are patterns of clicks used by female sperm whales in social circumstances. The coda repertoires of all known social units (n = 18, each consisting of about 11 females and immatures with long-term relationships) and 61 out of 64 groups (about two social units moving together for periods of days) that were recorded in the South Pacific and Caribbean between 1985 and 2000 can be reliably allocated into six acoustic 'clans', five in the Pacific and one in the Caribbean. Clans have ranges that span thousands of kilometres, are sympatric, contain many thousands of whales and most probably result from cultural transmission of vocal patterns. Units seem to form groups preferentially with other units of their own clan. We suggest that this is a rare example of sympatric cultural variation on an oceanic scale. Culture may thus be a more important determinant of sperm whale population structure than genes or geography, a finding that has major implications for our understanding of the species' behavioural and population biology.

  8. Abundance and Distribution of Sperm Whales in the Canary Islands: Can Sperm Whales in the Archipelago Sustain the Current Level of Ship-Strike Mortalities?

    PubMed

    Fais, Andrea; Lewis, Tim P; Zitterbart, Daniel P; Álvarez, Omar; Tejedor, Ana; Aguilar Soto, Natacha

    2016-01-01

    Sperm whales are present in the Canary Islands year-round, suggesting that the archipelago is an important area for this species in the North Atlantic. However, the area experiences one of the highest reported rates of sperm whale ship-strike in the world. Here we investigate if the number of sperm whales found in the archipelago can sustain the current rate of ship-strike mortality. The results of this study may also have implications for offshore areas where concentrations of sperm whales may coincide with high densities of ship traffic, but where ship-strikes may be undocumented. The absolute abundance of sperm whales in an area of 52933 km2, covering the territorial waters of the Canary Islands, was estimated from 2668 km of acoustic line-transect survey using Distance sampling analysis. Data on sperm whale diving and acoustic behaviour, obtained from bio-logging, were used to calculate g(0) = 0.92, this is less than one because of occasional extended periods when whales do not echolocate. This resulted in an absolute abundance estimate of 224 sperm whales (95% log-normal CI 120-418) within the survey area. The recruitment capability of this number of whales, some 2.5 whales per year, is likely to be exceeded by the current ship-strike mortality rate. Furthermore, we found areas of higher whale density within the archipelago, many coincident with those previously described, suggesting that these are important habitats for females and immature animals inhabiting the archipelago. Some of these areas are crossed by active shipping lanes increasing the risk of ship-strikes. Given the philopatry in female sperm whales, replacement of impacted whales might be limited. Therefore, the application of mitigation measures to reduce the ship-strike mortality rate seems essential for the conservation of sperm whales in the Canary Islands. PMID:26999791

  9. Abundance and Distribution of Sperm Whales in the Canary Islands: Can Sperm Whales in the Archipelago Sustain the Current Level of Ship-Strike Mortalities?

    PubMed

    Fais, Andrea; Lewis, Tim P; Zitterbart, Daniel P; Álvarez, Omar; Tejedor, Ana; Aguilar Soto, Natacha

    2016-01-01

    Sperm whales are present in the Canary Islands year-round, suggesting that the archipelago is an important area for this species in the North Atlantic. However, the area experiences one of the highest reported rates of sperm whale ship-strike in the world. Here we investigate if the number of sperm whales found in the archipelago can sustain the current rate of ship-strike mortality. The results of this study may also have implications for offshore areas where concentrations of sperm whales may coincide with high densities of ship traffic, but where ship-strikes may be undocumented. The absolute abundance of sperm whales in an area of 52933 km2, covering the territorial waters of the Canary Islands, was estimated from 2668 km of acoustic line-transect survey using Distance sampling analysis. Data on sperm whale diving and acoustic behaviour, obtained from bio-logging, were used to calculate g(0) = 0.92, this is less than one because of occasional extended periods when whales do not echolocate. This resulted in an absolute abundance estimate of 224 sperm whales (95% log-normal CI 120-418) within the survey area. The recruitment capability of this number of whales, some 2.5 whales per year, is likely to be exceeded by the current ship-strike mortality rate. Furthermore, we found areas of higher whale density within the archipelago, many coincident with those previously described, suggesting that these are important habitats for females and immature animals inhabiting the archipelago. Some of these areas are crossed by active shipping lanes increasing the risk of ship-strikes. Given the philopatry in female sperm whales, replacement of impacted whales might be limited. Therefore, the application of mitigation measures to reduce the ship-strike mortality rate seems essential for the conservation of sperm whales in the Canary Islands.

  10. Abundance and Distribution of Sperm Whales in the Canary Islands: Can Sperm Whales in the Archipelago Sustain the Current Level of Ship-Strike Mortalities?

    PubMed Central

    Fais, Andrea; Lewis, Tim P.; Zitterbart, Daniel P.; Álvarez, Omar; Tejedor, Ana; Aguilar Soto, Natacha

    2016-01-01

    Sperm whales are present in the Canary Islands year-round, suggesting that the archipelago is an important area for this species in the North Atlantic. However, the area experiences one of the highest reported rates of sperm whale ship-strike in the world. Here we investigate if the number of sperm whales found in the archipelago can sustain the current rate of ship-strike mortality. The results of this study may also have implications for offshore areas where concentrations of sperm whales may coincide with high densities of ship traffic, but where ship-strikes may be undocumented. The absolute abundance of sperm whales in an area of 52933 km2, covering the territorial waters of the Canary Islands, was estimated from 2668 km of acoustic line-transect survey using Distance sampling analysis. Data on sperm whale diving and acoustic behaviour, obtained from bio-logging, were used to calculate g(0) = 0.92, this is less than one because of occasional extended periods when whales do not echolocate. This resulted in an absolute abundance estimate of 224 sperm whales (95% log-normal CI 120–418) within the survey area. The recruitment capability of this number of whales, some 2.5 whales per year, is likely to be exceeded by the current ship-strike mortality rate. Furthermore, we found areas of higher whale density within the archipelago, many coincident with those previously described, suggesting that these are important habitats for females and immature animals inhabiting the archipelago. Some of these areas are crossed by active shipping lanes increasing the risk of ship-strikes. Given the philopatry in female sperm whales, replacement of impacted whales might be limited. Therefore, the application of mitigation measures to reduce the ship-strike mortality rate seems essential for the conservation of sperm whales in the Canary Islands. PMID:26999791

  11. Changes in dive behavior during naval sonar exposure in killer whales, long-finned pilot whales, and sperm whales

    PubMed Central

    Sivle, L. D.; Kvadsheim, P. H.; Fahlman, A.; Lam, F. P. A.; Tyack, P. L.; Miller, P. J. O.

    2012-01-01

    Anthropogenic underwater sound in the environment might potentially affect the behavior of marine mammals enough to have an impact on their reproduction and survival. Diving behavior of four killer whales (Orcinus orca), seven long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala melas), and four sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) was studied during controlled exposures to naval sonar [low frequency active sonar (LFAS): 1–2 kHz and mid frequency active sonar (MFAS): 6–7 kHz] during three field seasons (2006–2009). Diving behavior was monitored before, during and after sonar exposure using an archival tag placed on the animal with suction cups. The tag recorded the animal's vertical movement, and additional data on horizontal movement and vocalizations were used to determine behavioral modes. Killer whales that were conducting deep dives at sonar onset changed abruptly to shallow diving (ShD) during LFAS, while killer whales conducting deep dives at the onset of MFAS did not alter dive mode. When in ShD mode at sonar onset, killer whales did not change their diving behavior. Pilot and sperm whales performed normal deep dives (NDD) during MFAS exposure. During LFAS exposures, long-finned pilot whales mostly performed fewer deep dives and some sperm whales performed shallower and shorter dives. Acoustic recording data presented previously indicates that deep diving (DD) is associated with feeding. Therefore, the observed changes in dive behavior of the three species could potentially reduce the foraging efficiency of the affected animals. PMID:23087648

  12. Changes in dive behavior during naval sonar exposure in killer whales, long-finned pilot whales, and sperm whales.

    PubMed

    Sivle, L D; Kvadsheim, P H; Fahlman, A; Lam, F P A; Tyack, P L; Miller, P J O

    2012-01-01

    Anthropogenic underwater sound in the environment might potentially affect the behavior of marine mammals enough to have an impact on their reproduction and survival. Diving behavior of four killer whales (Orcinus orca), seven long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala melas), and four sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) was studied during controlled exposures to naval sonar [low frequency active sonar (LFAS): 1-2 kHz and mid frequency active sonar (MFAS): 6-7 kHz] during three field seasons (2006-2009). Diving behavior was monitored before, during and after sonar exposure using an archival tag placed on the animal with suction cups. The tag recorded the animal's vertical movement, and additional data on horizontal movement and vocalizations were used to determine behavioral modes. Killer whales that were conducting deep dives at sonar onset changed abruptly to shallow diving (ShD) during LFAS, while killer whales conducting deep dives at the onset of MFAS did not alter dive mode. When in ShD mode at sonar onset, killer whales did not change their diving behavior. Pilot and sperm whales performed normal deep dives (NDD) during MFAS exposure. During LFAS exposures, long-finned pilot whales mostly performed fewer deep dives and some sperm whales performed shallower and shorter dives. Acoustic recording data presented previously indicates that deep diving (DD) is associated with feeding. Therefore, the observed changes in dive behavior of the three species could potentially reduce the foraging efficiency of the affected animals.

  13. Biological Significance of Acoustic Impacts on Marine Mammals: Examples Using an Acoustic Recording tag to Define Acoustic Exposure of Sperm Whales, Physeter catodon, Exposed to Airgun Sounds in Controlled Exposure Experiments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tyack, P. L.; Johnson, M. P.; Madsen, P. T.; Miller, P. J.; Lynch, J.

    2006-05-01

    There has been considerable debate about how to regulate behavioral disruption in marine mammals. The U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act prohibits "taking" marine mammals, including harassment, which is defined as injury or disruption of behavioral patterns. A 2005 report by the National Academy of Sciences focuses on the need to analyze acoustic impacts on marine mammal behavior in terms of biological significance. The report develops a model for predicting population consequences of acoustic impacts. One of the key data gaps involves methods to estimate the impact of disruption on an animal's ability to complete life functions critical for growth, survival, and reproduction. One of the few areas where theory and data are available involves foraging energetics. Patrick Miller in the next talk and I will discuss an example study designed to evaluate the impact of exposure to seismic survey on the foraging energetics of sperm whales. As petroleum exploration moves offshore to deep water, there is increasing overlap between seismic exploration and deep diving toothed whales such as the sperm whale which is listed by the US as an endangered species. With support from the US Minerals Management Service and the Industry Research Funding Coalition, we tagged sperm whales with tags that can record sound, orientation, acceleration, temperature and depth. Eight whales tagged in the Gulf of Mexico during 2002-2003 were subjects in 5 controlled experiments involving exposure to sounds of an airgun array. One critical component of evaluating effects involves quantifying exposure at the animal. While the on-axis signature of airgun arrays has been well quantified, there are few broadband calibrated measurements in the water column displaced horizontally away from the downward-directed beam. The acoustic recording tags provide direct data on sounds as received at the animals. Due to multipath propagation, multiple sound pulses were recorded on the tagged whales for each firing of

  14. Three-dimensional localization of sperm whales using a single hydrophone.

    PubMed

    Tiemann, Christopher O; Thode, Aaron M; Straley, Janice; O'Connell, Victoria; Folkert, Kendall

    2006-10-01

    A three-dimensional localization method for tracking sperm whales with as few as one sensor is demonstrated. Based on ray-trace acoustic propagation modeling, the technique exploits multipath arrival information from recorded sperm whale clicks and can account for waveguide propagation physics like interaction with range-dependent bathymetry and ray refraction. It also does not require ray identification (i.e., direct, surface reflected) while utilizing individual ray arrival information, simplifying automation efforts. The algorithm compares the arrival pattern from a sperm whale click to range-, depth-, and azimuth-dependent modeled arrival patterns in order to estimate whale location. With sufficient knowledge of azimuthally dependent bathymetry, a three-dimensional track of whale motion can be obtained using data from a single hydrophone. Tracking is demonstrated using data from acoustic recorders attached to fishing anchor lines off southeast Alaska as part of efforts to study sperm whale depredation of fishing operations. Several tracks of whale activity using real data from one or two hydrophones have been created, and three are provided to demonstrate the method, including one simultaneous visual and acoustic localization of a sperm whale actively clicking while surfaced. The tracks also suggest that whales' foraging is shallower in the presence of a longline haul than without.

  15. The monopulsed nature of sperm whale clicks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Møhl, Bertel; Wahlberg, Magnus; Madsen, Peter T.; Heerfordt, Anders; Lund, Anders

    2003-08-01

    Traditionally, sperm whale clicks have been described as multipulsed, long duration, nondirectional signals of moderate intensity and with a spectrum peaking below 10 kHz. Such properties are counterindicative of a sonar function, and quite different from the properties of dolphin sonar clicks. Here, data are presented suggesting that the traditional view of sperm whale clicks is incomplete and derived from off-axis recordings of a highly directional source. A limited number of assumed on-axis clicks were recorded and found to be essentially monopulsed clicks, with durations of 100 μs, with a composite directionality index of 27 dB, with source levels up to 236 dB re: 1 μPa (rms), and with centroid frequencies of 15 kHz. Such clicks meet the requirements for long-range biosonar purposes. Data were obtained with a large-aperture, GPS-synchronized array in July 2000 in the Bleik Canyon off Vestera˚len, Norway (69°28' N, 15°40' E). A total of 14 h of sound recordings was collected from five to ten independent, simultaneously operating recording units. The sound levels measured make sperm whale clicks by far the loudest of sounds recorded from any biological source. On-axis click properties support previous work proposing the nose of sperm whales to operate as a generator of sound.

  16. Expression and Purification of Sperm Whale Myoglobin

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Miller, Stephen; Indivero, Virginia; Burkhard, Caroline

    2010-01-01

    We present a multiweek laboratory exercise that exposes students to the fundamental techniques of bacterial expression and protein purification through the preparation of sperm whale myoglobin. Myoglobin, a robust oxygen-binding protein, contains a single heme that gives the protein a reddish color, making it an ideal subject for the teaching…

  17. The monopulsed nature of sperm whale clicks.

    PubMed

    Møhl, Bertel; Wahlberg, Magnus; Madsen, Peter T; Heerfordt, Anders; Lund, Anders

    2003-08-01

    Traditionally, sperm whale clicks have been described as multipulsed, long duration, nondirectional signals of moderate intensity and with a spectrum peaking below 10 kHz. Such properties are counterindicative of a sonar function, and quite different from the properties of dolphin sonar clicks. Here, data are presented suggesting that the traditional view of sperm whale clicks is incomplete and derived from off-axis recordings of a highly directional source. A limited number of assumed on-axis clicks were recorded and found to be essentially monopulsed clicks, with durations of 100 micros, with a composite directionality index of 27 dB, with source levels up to 236 dB re: 1 microPa (rms), and with centroid frequencies of 15 kHz. Such clicks meet the requirements for long-range biosonar purposes. Data were obtained with a large-aperture, GPS-synchronized array in July 2000 in the Bleik Canyon off Vesterålen, Norway (69 degrees 28' N, 15 degrees 40' E). A total of 14 h of sound recordings was collected from five to ten independent, simultaneously operating recording units. The sound levels measured make sperm whale clicks by far the loudest of sounds recorded from any biological source. On-axis click properties support previous work proposing the nose of sperm whales to operate as a generator of sound.

  18. Ontogenesis of the sperm whale brain.

    PubMed

    Oelschläger, H H; Kemp, B

    1998-09-21

    The development of the sperm whale brain (Physeter macrocephalus) was investigated in 12 embryos and early fetuses to obtain a better understanding of the morphological and physiological adaptations in this most exotic cetacean concerning locomotion, deep diving, and orientation. In male adult sperm whales, the average absolute brain mass and the relative size of the telencephalic hemisphere are the largest within the mammalia, whereas the ratio of the brain mass to the total body mass is one of the smallest. In the early sperm whale fetus, the rostral part of the olfactory system (olfactory nerves and bulbs) is lost, whereas the nervus terminalis seems to persist. Several components of the limbic system show signs of regression (hippocampus, fornix, mamillary body). In contrast, some components of the auditory system (trapezoid body, inferior colliculus) show marked enlargement in the early fetal period, thereby reflecting their dominant position in the adult. The cerebellum and pons grow slower than in most smaller toothed whales. The pyramidal tract develops poorly (reduction of the limbs), whereas marked growth of the striatum and inferior olive may be related to the animal's locomotion via trunk and tail. In the early fetal period, the trigeminal, vestibulocochlear, and facial nerves are the dominant cranial nerves (besides the vagus nerve). Whereas the number of axons in the vestibulocochlear nerve is high in adult, toothed whales and their diameters are considerable, the trigeminal nerve of the sperm whale may be the thickest of all cranial nerves and has the largest number of axons (innervation of the huge forehead region). A similar situation seems to exist for the facial nerve: It innervates the blowhole musculature that surrounds the very large spermaceti organ and melon (generation and emission of sonar clicks).

  19. Relationship between sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) click structure and size derived from videocamera images of a depredating whale (sperm whale prey acquisition).

    PubMed

    Mathias, Delphine; Thode, Aaron; Straley, Jan; Folkert, Kendall

    2009-05-01

    Sperm whales have learned to depredate black cod (Anoplopoma fimbria) from longline deployments in the Gulf of Alaska. On May 31, 2006, simultaneous acoustic and visual recordings were made of a depredation attempt by a sperm whale at 108 m depth. Because the whale was oriented perpendicularly to the camera as it contacted the longline at a known distance from the camera, the distance from the nose to the hinge of the jaw could be estimated. Allometric relationships obtained from whaling data and skeleton measurements could then be used to estimate both the spermaceti organ length and total length of the animal. An acoustic estimate of animal length was obtained by measuring the inter-pulse interval (IPI) of clicks detected from the animal and using empirical formulas to convert this interval into a length estimate. Two distinct IPIs were extracted from the clicks, one yielding a length estimate that matches the visually-derived length to within experimental error. However, acoustic estimates of spermaceti organ size, derived from standard sound production theories, are inconsistent with the visual estimates, and the derived size of the junk is smaller than that of the spermaceti organ, in contradiction with known anatomical relationships.

  20. Sperm whale codas may encode individuality as well as clan identity.

    PubMed

    Oliveira, Cláudia; Wahlberg, Magnus; Silva, Mónica A; Johnson, Mark; Antunes, Ricardo; Wisniewska, Danuta M; Fais, Andrea; Gonçalves, João; Madsen, Peter T

    2016-05-01

    Sperm whales produce codas for communication that can be grouped into different types according to their temporal patterns. Codas have led researchers to propose that sperm whales belong to distinct cultural clans, but it is presently unclear if they also convey individual information. Coda clicks comprise a series of pulses and the delay between pulses is a function of organ size, and therefore body size, and so is one potential source of individual information. Another potential individual-specific parameter could be the inter-click intervals within codas. To test whether these parameters provide reliable individual cues, stereo-hydrophone acoustic tags (Dtags) were attached to five sperm whales of the Azores, recording a total of 802 codas. A discriminant function analysis was used to distinguish 288 5 Regular codas from four of the sperm whales and 183 3 Regular codas from two sperm whales. The results suggest that codas have consistent individual features in their inter-click intervals and inter-pulse intervals which may contribute to individual identification. Additionally, two whales produced different coda types in distinct foraging dive phases. Codas may therefore be used by sperm whales to convey information of identity as well as activity within a social group to a larger extent than previously assumed. PMID:27250178

  1. Sperm whale codas may encode individuality as well as clan identity.

    PubMed

    Oliveira, Cláudia; Wahlberg, Magnus; Silva, Mónica A; Johnson, Mark; Antunes, Ricardo; Wisniewska, Danuta M; Fais, Andrea; Gonçalves, João; Madsen, Peter T

    2016-05-01

    Sperm whales produce codas for communication that can be grouped into different types according to their temporal patterns. Codas have led researchers to propose that sperm whales belong to distinct cultural clans, but it is presently unclear if they also convey individual information. Coda clicks comprise a series of pulses and the delay between pulses is a function of organ size, and therefore body size, and so is one potential source of individual information. Another potential individual-specific parameter could be the inter-click intervals within codas. To test whether these parameters provide reliable individual cues, stereo-hydrophone acoustic tags (Dtags) were attached to five sperm whales of the Azores, recording a total of 802 codas. A discriminant function analysis was used to distinguish 288 5 Regular codas from four of the sperm whales and 183 3 Regular codas from two sperm whales. The results suggest that codas have consistent individual features in their inter-click intervals and inter-pulse intervals which may contribute to individual identification. Additionally, two whales produced different coda types in distinct foraging dive phases. Codas may therefore be used by sperm whales to convey information of identity as well as activity within a social group to a larger extent than previously assumed.

  2. Cumulative sperm whale bone damage and the bends.

    PubMed

    Moore, Michael J; Early, Greg A

    2004-12-24

    Diving mosasaurs, plesiosaurs, and humans develop dysbaric osteonecrosis from end-artery nitrogen embolism ("the bends") in certain bones. Sixteen sperm whales from calves to large adults showed a size-related development of osteonecrosis in chevron and rib bone articulations, deltoid crests, and nasal bones. Occurrence in animals from the Pacific and Atlantic oceans over 111 years made a pathophysiological diagnosis of dysbarism most likely. Decompression avoidance therefore may constrain diving behavior. This suggests why some deep-diving mammals show periodic shallow-depth activity and why gas emboli are found in animals driven to surface precipitously by acoustic stressors such as mid-frequency sonar systems.

  3. Measuring the off-axis angle and the rotational movements of phonating sperm whales using a single hydrophone.

    PubMed

    Laplanche, Christophe; Adam, Olivier; Lopatka, Maciej; Motsch, Jean-François

    2006-06-01

    The common use of the bent-horn model of the sperm whale sound generator describes sperm whale clicks as the pulse series {p0, p1, p2, p3,...}. Clicks, however, deviate from this standard when recorded using off-axis hydrophones. The existence of additional pulses within the {p0, p1, p2, p3, ...} series can be explained still using the bent-horn model. Multiple reflections on the whale's frontal and distal sacs of the p0 pulse lead to additional sets of pulses detectable using a farfield, off-axis hydrophone. The travel times of some of these additional pulses depend on the whale's orientation. The authors propose a method to estimate the off-axis angle of sperm whale clicks. They also propose a method to determine the nature of the movement (if it is pitch, yaw, or roll) of phonating sperm whales. The application of both methods requires the measurement of the travel time differences between pulses composing a sperm whale click. They lead, using a simple apparatus consisting of a single hydrophone at an unknown depth, to new measurements of the underwater movements of sperm whales. Using these methods shows that sperm whales would methodically scan seawater while searching for prey, by making periodic pitch and yaw movements in sync with their acoustic activity.

  4. Cetacean mitochondrial DNA control region: sequences of all extant baleen whales and two sperm whale species.

    PubMed

    Arnason, U; Gullberg, A; Widegren, B

    1993-09-01

    The sequence of the mitochondrial control region was determined in all 10 extant species commonly assigned to the suborder Mysticeti (baleen or whalebone whales) and to two odontocete (toothed whale) species (the sperm and the pygmy sperm whale). In the mysticetes, both the length and the sequence of the control region were very similar, with differences occurring primarily in the first approximately 160 bp of the 5' end of the L-strand of the region. There were marked differences between the mysticete and sperm whale sequences and also between the two sperm whales. The control region, less its variable portion, was used in a comparison including the 10 mysticete sequences plus the same region of an Antarctic minke whale specimen and the two sperm whales. The difference between the minke whales from the North Atlantic and the Antarctic was greater than that between any acknowledged species belonging to the same genus (Balaenoptera). The difference was similar to that between the families Balaenopteridae (rorquals) and Eschrichtiidae (gray whales). The findings suggest that the Antarctic minke whale should have a full species status, B. bonaerensis. Parsimony analysis separated the bowhead and the right whale (family Balaenidae) from all remaining mysticetes, including the pygmy right whale. The pygmy right whale is usually included in family Balaenidae. The analysis revealed a close relationship between the gray whale (family Eschrichtiidae) sequence and those of the rorquals (family Balaenopteridae). The gray whale was included in a clade together with the sei, Bryde's, fin, blue, and humpback whales. This clade was separated from the two minke whale types, which branched together.

  5. Cardiomyopathy in stranded pygmy and dwarf sperm whales.

    PubMed

    Bossart, G D; Odell, D K; Altman, N H

    1985-12-01

    Necropsy and histologic examinations were performed in 23 pygmy sperm whales (Kogia breviceps) and 6 dwarf sperm whales (Kogia simus) that had been stranded singly or in cow-calf pairs along the southeastern coastline of the United States. At necropsy, the gross findings in the adult whales included pale, flabby right ventricles. Microscopically, lesions in the hearts of the whales were characterized by moderate to extensive myocellular degeneration, atrophy, and fibrosis. Similar changes were not seen in 5 of 6 sexually immature whales or in the whale calves. Hepatic changes were consistent with heart failure. The cause of the myocardial lesions was not determined. The systemic effects of failing myocardium probably were a major reason for the stranding of the adult whales.

  6. Automated detection of sperm whale sounds as a function of abrupt changes in sound intensity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Walker, Christopher D.; Rayborn, Grayson H.; Brack, Benjamin A.; Kuczaj, Stan A.; Paulos, Robin L.

    2003-04-01

    An algorithm designed to detect abrupt changes in sound intensity was developed and used to identify and count sperm whale vocalizations and to measure boat noise. The algorithm is a MATLAB routine that counts the number of occurrences for which the change in intensity level exceeds a threshold. The algorithm also permits the setting of a ``dead time'' interval to prevent the counting of multiple pulses within a single sperm whale click. This algorithm was used to analyze digitally sampled recordings of ambient noise obtained from the Gulf of Mexico using near bottom mounted EARS buoys deployed as part of the Littoral Acoustic Demonstration Center experiment. Because the background in these data varied slowly, the result of the application of the algorithm was automated detection of sperm whale clicks and creaks with results that agreed well with those obtained by trained human listeners. [Research supported by ONR.

  7. Architecture of the sperm whale forehead facilitates ramming combat.

    PubMed

    Panagiotopoulou, Olga; Spyridis, Panagiotis; Mehari Abraha, Hyab; Carrier, David R; Pataky, Todd C

    2016-01-01

    Herman Melville's novel Moby Dick was inspired by historical instances in which large sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus L.) sank 19th century whaling ships by ramming them with their foreheads. The immense forehead of sperm whales is possibly the largest, and one of the strangest, anatomical structures in the animal kingdom. It contains two large oil-filled compartments, known as the "spermaceti organ" and "junk," that constitute up to one-quarter of body mass and extend one-third of the total length of the whale. Recognized as playing an important role in echolocation, previous studies have also attributed the complex structural configuration of the spermaceti organ and junk to acoustic sexual selection, acoustic prey debilitation, buoyancy control, and aggressive ramming. Of these additional suggested functions, ramming remains the most controversial, and the potential mechanical roles of the structural components of the spermaceti organ and junk in ramming remain untested. Here we explore the aggressive ramming hypothesis using a novel combination of structural engineering principles and probabilistic simulation to determine if the unique structure of the junk significantly reduces stress in the skull during quasi-static impact. Our analyses indicate that the connective tissue partitions in the junk reduce von Mises stresses across the skull and that the load-redistribution functionality of the former is insensitive to moderate variation in tissue material parameters, the thickness of the partitions, and variations in the location and angle of the applied load. Absence of the connective tissue partitions increases skull stresses, particularly in the rostral aspect of the upper jaw, further hinting of the important role the architecture of the junk may play in ramming events. Our study also found that impact loads on the spermaceti organ generate lower skull stresses than an impact on the junk. Nevertheless, whilst an impact on the spermaceti organ would

  8. Architecture of the sperm whale forehead facilitates ramming combat.

    PubMed

    Panagiotopoulou, Olga; Spyridis, Panagiotis; Mehari Abraha, Hyab; Carrier, David R; Pataky, Todd C

    2016-01-01

    Herman Melville's novel Moby Dick was inspired by historical instances in which large sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus L.) sank 19th century whaling ships by ramming them with their foreheads. The immense forehead of sperm whales is possibly the largest, and one of the strangest, anatomical structures in the animal kingdom. It contains two large oil-filled compartments, known as the "spermaceti organ" and "junk," that constitute up to one-quarter of body mass and extend one-third of the total length of the whale. Recognized as playing an important role in echolocation, previous studies have also attributed the complex structural configuration of the spermaceti organ and junk to acoustic sexual selection, acoustic prey debilitation, buoyancy control, and aggressive ramming. Of these additional suggested functions, ramming remains the most controversial, and the potential mechanical roles of the structural components of the spermaceti organ and junk in ramming remain untested. Here we explore the aggressive ramming hypothesis using a novel combination of structural engineering principles and probabilistic simulation to determine if the unique structure of the junk significantly reduces stress in the skull during quasi-static impact. Our analyses indicate that the connective tissue partitions in the junk reduce von Mises stresses across the skull and that the load-redistribution functionality of the former is insensitive to moderate variation in tissue material parameters, the thickness of the partitions, and variations in the location and angle of the applied load. Absence of the connective tissue partitions increases skull stresses, particularly in the rostral aspect of the upper jaw, further hinting of the important role the architecture of the junk may play in ramming events. Our study also found that impact loads on the spermaceti organ generate lower skull stresses than an impact on the junk. Nevertheless, whilst an impact on the spermaceti organ would

  9. Architecture of the sperm whale forehead facilitates ramming combat

    PubMed Central

    Spyridis, Panagiotis; Mehari Abraha, Hyab; Carrier, David R.; Pataky, Todd C.

    2016-01-01

    Herman Melville’s novel Moby Dick was inspired by historical instances in which large sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus L.) sank 19th century whaling ships by ramming them with their foreheads. The immense forehead of sperm whales is possibly the largest, and one of the strangest, anatomical structures in the animal kingdom. It contains two large oil-filled compartments, known as the “spermaceti organ” and “junk,” that constitute up to one-quarter of body mass and extend one-third of the total length of the whale. Recognized as playing an important role in echolocation, previous studies have also attributed the complex structural configuration of the spermaceti organ and junk to acoustic sexual selection, acoustic prey debilitation, buoyancy control, and aggressive ramming. Of these additional suggested functions, ramming remains the most controversial, and the potential mechanical roles of the structural components of the spermaceti organ and junk in ramming remain untested. Here we explore the aggressive ramming hypothesis using a novel combination of structural engineering principles and probabilistic simulation to determine if the unique structure of the junk significantly reduces stress in the skull during quasi-static impact. Our analyses indicate that the connective tissue partitions in the junk reduce von Mises stresses across the skull and that the load-redistribution functionality of the former is insensitive to moderate variation in tissue material parameters, the thickness of the partitions, and variations in the location and angle of the applied load. Absence of the connective tissue partitions increases skull stresses, particularly in the rostral aspect of the upper jaw, further hinting of the important role the architecture of the junk may play in ramming events. Our study also found that impact loads on the spermaceti organ generate lower skull stresses than an impact on the junk. Nevertheless, whilst an impact on the spermaceti organ

  10. Sperm whales and killer whales with the largest brains of all toothed whales show extreme differences in cerebellum.

    PubMed

    Ridgway, Sam H; Hanson, Alicia C

    2014-01-01

    Among cetaceans, killer whales and sperm whales have the widest distribution in the world's oceans. Both species use echolocation, are long-lived, and have the longest periods of gestation among whales. Sperm whales dive much deeper and much longer than killer whales. It has long been thought that sperm whales have the largest brains of all living things, but our brain mass evidence, from published sources and our own specimens, shows that big males of these two species share this distinction. Despite this, we also find that cerebellum size is very different between killer whales and sperm whales. The sperm whale cerebellum is only about 7% of the total brain mass, while the killer whale cerebellum is almost 14%. These results are significant because they contradict claims that the cerebellum scales proportionally with the rest of the brain in all mammals. They also correct the generalization that all cetaceans have enlarged cerebella. We suggest possible reasons for the existence of such a large cerebellar size difference between these two species. Cerebellar function is not fully understood, and comparing the abilities of animals with differently sized cerebella can help uncover functional roles of the cerebellum in humans and animals. Here we show that the large cerebellar difference likely relates to evolutionary history, diving, sensory capability, and ecology.

  11. Sperm whales and killer whales with the largest brains of all toothed whales show extreme differences in cerebellum.

    PubMed

    Ridgway, Sam H; Hanson, Alicia C

    2014-01-01

    Among cetaceans, killer whales and sperm whales have the widest distribution in the world's oceans. Both species use echolocation, are long-lived, and have the longest periods of gestation among whales. Sperm whales dive much deeper and much longer than killer whales. It has long been thought that sperm whales have the largest brains of all living things, but our brain mass evidence, from published sources and our own specimens, shows that big males of these two species share this distinction. Despite this, we also find that cerebellum size is very different between killer whales and sperm whales. The sperm whale cerebellum is only about 7% of the total brain mass, while the killer whale cerebellum is almost 14%. These results are significant because they contradict claims that the cerebellum scales proportionally with the rest of the brain in all mammals. They also correct the generalization that all cetaceans have enlarged cerebella. We suggest possible reasons for the existence of such a large cerebellar size difference between these two species. Cerebellar function is not fully understood, and comparing the abilities of animals with differently sized cerebella can help uncover functional roles of the cerebellum in humans and animals. Here we show that the large cerebellar difference likely relates to evolutionary history, diving, sensory capability, and ecology. PMID:24852603

  12. Using a coherent hydrophone array for observing sperm whale range, classification, and shallow-water dive profiles.

    PubMed

    Tran, Duong D; Huang, Wei; Bohn, Alexander C; Wang, Delin; Gong, Zheng; Makris, Nicholas C; Ratilal, Purnima

    2014-06-01

    Sperm whales in the New England continental shelf and slope were passively localized, in both range and bearing, and classified using a single low-frequency (<2500 Hz), densely sampled, towed horizontal coherent hydrophone array system. Whale bearings were estimated using time-domain beamforming that provided high coherent array gain in sperm whale click signal-to-noise ratio. Whale ranges from the receiver array center were estimated using the moving array triangulation technique from a sequence of whale bearing measurements. Multiple concurrently vocalizing sperm whales, in the far-field of the horizontal receiver array, were distinguished and classified based on their horizontal spatial locations and the inter-pulse intervals of their vocalized click signals. The dive profile was estimated for a sperm whale in the shallow waters of the Gulf of Maine with 160 m water-column depth located close to the array's near-field where depth estimation was feasible by employing time difference of arrival of the direct and multiply reflected click signals received on the horizontal array. By accounting for transmission loss modeled using an ocean waveguide-acoustic propagation model, the sperm whale detection range was found to exceed 60 km in low to moderate sea state conditions after coherent array processing.

  13. Using a coherent hydrophone array for observing sperm whale range, classification, and shallow-water dive profiles.

    PubMed

    Tran, Duong D; Huang, Wei; Bohn, Alexander C; Wang, Delin; Gong, Zheng; Makris, Nicholas C; Ratilal, Purnima

    2014-06-01

    Sperm whales in the New England continental shelf and slope were passively localized, in both range and bearing, and classified using a single low-frequency (<2500 Hz), densely sampled, towed horizontal coherent hydrophone array system. Whale bearings were estimated using time-domain beamforming that provided high coherent array gain in sperm whale click signal-to-noise ratio. Whale ranges from the receiver array center were estimated using the moving array triangulation technique from a sequence of whale bearing measurements. Multiple concurrently vocalizing sperm whales, in the far-field of the horizontal receiver array, were distinguished and classified based on their horizontal spatial locations and the inter-pulse intervals of their vocalized click signals. The dive profile was estimated for a sperm whale in the shallow waters of the Gulf of Maine with 160 m water-column depth located close to the array's near-field where depth estimation was feasible by employing time difference of arrival of the direct and multiply reflected click signals received on the horizontal array. By accounting for transmission loss modeled using an ocean waveguide-acoustic propagation model, the sperm whale detection range was found to exceed 60 km in low to moderate sea state conditions after coherent array processing. PMID:24907798

  14. A simulation study of acoustic-assisted tracking of whales for mark-recapture surveys.

    PubMed

    Peel, David; Miller, Brian S; Kelly, Natalie; Dawson, Steve; Slooten, Elisabeth; Double, Michael C

    2014-01-01

    Collecting enough data to obtain reasonable abundance estimates of whales is often difficult, particularly when studying rare species. Passive acoustics can be used to detect whale sounds and are increasingly used to estimate whale abundance. Much of the existing effort centres on the use of acoustics to estimate abundance directly, e.g. analysing detections in a distance sampling framework. Here, we focus on acoustics as a tool incorporated within mark-recapture surveys. In this context, acoustic tools are used to detect and track whales, which are then photographed or biopsied to provide data for mark-recapture analyses. The purpose of incorporating acoustics is to increase the encounter rate beyond using visual searching only. While this general approach is not new, its utility is rarely quantified. This paper predicts the "acoustically-assisted" encounter rate using a discrete-time individual-based simulation of whales and survey vessel. We validate the simulation framework using existing data from studies of sperm whales. We then use the framework to predict potential encounter rates in a study of Antarctic blue whales. We also investigate the effects of a number of the key parameters on encounter rate. Mean encounter rates from the simulation of sperm whales matched well with empirical data. Variance of encounter rate, however, was underestimated. The simulation of Antarctic blue whales found that passive acoustics should provide a 1.7-3.0 fold increase in encounter rate over visual-only methods. Encounter rate was most sensitive to acoustic detection range, followed by vocalisation rate. During survey planning and design, some indication of the relationship between expected sample size and effort is paramount; this simulation framework can be used to predict encounter rates and establish this relationship. For a case in point, the simulation framework indicates unequivocally that real-time acoustic tracking should be considered for quantifying the abundance

  15. A simulation study of acoustic-assisted tracking of whales for mark-recapture surveys.

    PubMed

    Peel, David; Miller, Brian S; Kelly, Natalie; Dawson, Steve; Slooten, Elisabeth; Double, Michael C

    2014-01-01

    Collecting enough data to obtain reasonable abundance estimates of whales is often difficult, particularly when studying rare species. Passive acoustics can be used to detect whale sounds and are increasingly used to estimate whale abundance. Much of the existing effort centres on the use of acoustics to estimate abundance directly, e.g. analysing detections in a distance sampling framework. Here, we focus on acoustics as a tool incorporated within mark-recapture surveys. In this context, acoustic tools are used to detect and track whales, which are then photographed or biopsied to provide data for mark-recapture analyses. The purpose of incorporating acoustics is to increase the encounter rate beyond using visual searching only. While this general approach is not new, its utility is rarely quantified. This paper predicts the "acoustically-assisted" encounter rate using a discrete-time individual-based simulation of whales and survey vessel. We validate the simulation framework using existing data from studies of sperm whales. We then use the framework to predict potential encounter rates in a study of Antarctic blue whales. We also investigate the effects of a number of the key parameters on encounter rate. Mean encounter rates from the simulation of sperm whales matched well with empirical data. Variance of encounter rate, however, was underestimated. The simulation of Antarctic blue whales found that passive acoustics should provide a 1.7-3.0 fold increase in encounter rate over visual-only methods. Encounter rate was most sensitive to acoustic detection range, followed by vocalisation rate. During survey planning and design, some indication of the relationship between expected sample size and effort is paramount; this simulation framework can be used to predict encounter rates and establish this relationship. For a case in point, the simulation framework indicates unequivocally that real-time acoustic tracking should be considered for quantifying the abundance

  16. Click production during breathing in a sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wahlberg, Magnus; Frantzis, Alexandros; Alexiadou, Paraskevi; Madsen, Peter T.; Møhl, Bertel

    2005-12-01

    A sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) was observed at the surface with above- and underwater video and synchronized underwater sound recordings. During seven instances the whale ventilated its lungs while clicking. From this observation it is inferred that click production is achieved by pressurizing air in the right nasal passage, pneumatically disconnected from the lungs and the left nasal passage, and that air flows anterior through the phonic lips into the distal air sac. The capability of breathing and clicking at the same time is unique among studied odontocetes and relates to the extreme asymmetry of the sperm whale sound-producing forehead.

  17. Click production during breathing in a sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus).

    PubMed

    Wahlberg, Magnus; Frantzis, Alexandros; Alexiadou, Paraskevi; Madsen, Peter T; Møhl, Bertel

    2005-12-01

    A sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) was observed at the surface with above- and underwater video and synchronized underwater sound recordings. During seven instances the whale ventilated its lungs while clicking. From this observation it is inferred that click production is achieved by pressurizing air in the right nasal passage, pneumatically disconnected from the lungs and the left nasal passage, and that air flows anterior through the phonic lips into the distal air sac. The capability of breathing and clicking at the same time is unique among studied odontocetes and relates to the extreme asymmetry of the sperm whale sound-producing forehead.

  18. Detection and Classification of Whale Acoustic Signals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Xian, Yin

    This dissertation focuses on two vital challenges in relation to whale acoustic signals: detection and classification. In detection, we evaluated the influence of the uncertain ocean environment on the spectrogram-based detector, and derived the likelihood ratio of the proposed Short Time Fourier Transform detector. Experimental results showed that the proposed detector outperforms detectors based on the spectrogram. The proposed detector is more sensitive to environmental changes because it includes phase information. In classification, our focus is on finding a robust and sparse representation of whale vocalizations. Because whale vocalizations can be modeled as polynomial phase signals, we can represent the whale calls by their polynomial phase coefficients. In this dissertation, we used the Weyl transform to capture chirp rate information, and used a two dimensional feature set to represent whale vocalizations globally. Experimental results showed that our Weyl feature set outperforms chirplet coefficients and MFCC (Mel Frequency Cepstral Coefficients) when applied to our collected data. Since whale vocalizations can be represented by polynomial phase coefficients, it is plausible that the signals lie on a manifold parameterized by these coefficients. We also studied the intrinsic structure of high dimensional whale data by exploiting its geometry. Experimental results showed that nonlinear mappings such as Laplacian Eigenmap and ISOMAP outperform linear mappings such as PCA and MDS, suggesting that the whale acoustic data is nonlinear. We also explored deep learning algorithms on whale acoustic data. We built each layer as convolutions with either a PCA filter bank (PCANet) or a DCT filter bank (DCTNet). With the DCT filter bank, each layer has different a time-frequency scale representation, and from this, one can extract different physical information. Experimental results showed that our PCANet and DCTNet achieve high classification rate on the whale

  19. Molecular studies on two variant repeat types of the common cetacean DNA satellite of the sperm whale, and the relationship between Physeteridae (sperm whales) and Ziphiidae (beaked whales).

    PubMed

    Grétarsdóttir, S; Arnason, U

    1993-03-01

    In the sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) two different repeat types (A and B) of the common cetacean DNA satellite were identified. The evolution of each group of repeats appears to be independent from that of the other. The sequence similarity between the two groups is less than the similarity between group A and repeats of the satellite in related whale species. The systematic relationship within and between the families Physeteridae (sperm whales) and Ziphiidae (beaked whales) was addressed by both sequence analysis of the satellite and comparisons with the families Delphinidae and Phocoenidae. The mysticete blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) was used as an outgroup in the comparisons. The molecular phylogeny, when maximum-parsimony analysis and the neighbor-joining method were used, grouped together species of each family. At the family level the ziphiids grouped closet to the families Phocoenidae and Delphinidae. The similarities between the common cetacean satellite of the blue whale and the sperm whale were greater than those between the blue whale and the other odontocetes included, suggesting that the evolution of the satellite is slower in the sperm whale than in the other odontocetes.

  20. Socially segregated, sympatric sperm whale clans in the Atlantic Ocean.

    PubMed

    Gero, Shane; Bøttcher, Anne; Whitehead, Hal; Madsen, Peter Teglberg

    2016-06-01

    Sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) are unusual in that there is good evidence for sympatric populations with distinct culturally determined behaviour, including potential acoustic markers of the population division. In the Pacific, socially segregated, vocal clans with distinct dialects coexist; by contrast, geographical variation in vocal repertoire in the Atlantic has been attributed to drift. We examine networks of acoustic repertoire similarity and social interactions for 11 social units in the Eastern Caribbean. We find the presence of two socially segregated, sympatric vocal clans whose dialects differ significantly both in terms of categorical coda types produced by each clan (Mantel test between clans: matrix correlation = 0.256; p ≤ 0.001) and when using classification-free similarity which ignores defined types (Mantel test between clans: matrix correlation = 0.180; p ≤ 0.001). The more common of the two clans makes a characteristic 1 + 1 + 3 coda, while the other less often sighted clan makes predominantly regular codas. Units were only observed associating with other units within their vocal clan. This study demonstrates that sympatric vocal clans do exist in the Atlantic, that they define a higher order level of social organization as they do in the Pacific, and suggests that cultural identity at the clan level is probably important in this species worldwide.

  1. Socially segregated, sympatric sperm whale clans in the Atlantic Ocean.

    PubMed

    Gero, Shane; Bøttcher, Anne; Whitehead, Hal; Madsen, Peter Teglberg

    2016-06-01

    Sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) are unusual in that there is good evidence for sympatric populations with distinct culturally determined behaviour, including potential acoustic markers of the population division. In the Pacific, socially segregated, vocal clans with distinct dialects coexist; by contrast, geographical variation in vocal repertoire in the Atlantic has been attributed to drift. We examine networks of acoustic repertoire similarity and social interactions for 11 social units in the Eastern Caribbean. We find the presence of two socially segregated, sympatric vocal clans whose dialects differ significantly both in terms of categorical coda types produced by each clan (Mantel test between clans: matrix correlation = 0.256; p ≤ 0.001) and when using classification-free similarity which ignores defined types (Mantel test between clans: matrix correlation = 0.180; p ≤ 0.001). The more common of the two clans makes a characteristic 1 + 1 + 3 coda, while the other less often sighted clan makes predominantly regular codas. Units were only observed associating with other units within their vocal clan. This study demonstrates that sympatric vocal clans do exist in the Atlantic, that they define a higher order level of social organization as they do in the Pacific, and suggests that cultural identity at the clan level is probably important in this species worldwide. PMID:27429766

  2. Socially segregated, sympatric sperm whale clans in the Atlantic Ocean

    PubMed Central

    Bøttcher, Anne; Whitehead, Hal

    2016-01-01

    Sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) are unusual in that there is good evidence for sympatric populations with distinct culturally determined behaviour, including potential acoustic markers of the population division. In the Pacific, socially segregated, vocal clans with distinct dialects coexist; by contrast, geographical variation in vocal repertoire in the Atlantic has been attributed to drift. We examine networks of acoustic repertoire similarity and social interactions for 11 social units in the Eastern Caribbean. We find the presence of two socially segregated, sympatric vocal clans whose dialects differ significantly both in terms of categorical coda types produced by each clan (Mantel test between clans: matrix correlation = 0.256; p ≤ 0.001) and when using classification-free similarity which ignores defined types (Mantel test between clans: matrix correlation = 0.180; p ≤ 0.001). The more common of the two clans makes a characteristic 1 + 1 + 3 coda, while the other less often sighted clan makes predominantly regular codas. Units were only observed associating with other units within their vocal clan. This study demonstrates that sympatric vocal clans do exist in the Atlantic, that they define a higher order level of social organization as they do in the Pacific, and suggests that cultural identity at the clan level is probably important in this species worldwide. PMID:27429766

  3. Off-axis effects on the multipulse structure of sperm whale usual clicks with implications for sound production

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zimmer, Walter M. X.; Madsen, Peter T.; Teloni, Valeria; Johnson, Mark P.; Tyack, Peter L.

    2005-11-01

    Sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) produce multipulsed clicks with their hypertrophied nasal complex. The currently accepted view of the sound generation process is based on the click structure measured directly in front of, or behind, the whale where regular interpulse intervals (IPIs) are found between successive pulses in the click. Most sperm whales, however, are recorded with the whale in an unknown orientation with respect to the hydrophone where the multipulse structure and the IPI do not conform to a regular pulse pattern. By combining far-field recordings of usual clicks with acoustic and orientation information measured by a tag on the clicking whale, we analyzed clicks from known aspects to the whale. We show that a geometric model based on the bent horn theory for sound production can explain the varying off-axis multipulse structure. Some of the sound energy that is reflected off the frontal sac radiates directly into the water creating an intermediate pulse p1/2 seen in off-axis recordings. The powerful p1 sonar pulse exits the front of the junk as predicted by the bent-horn model, showing that the junk of the sperm whale nasal complex is both anatomically and functionally homologous to the melon of smaller toothed whales.

  4. Off-axis effects on the multipulse structure of sperm whale usual clicks with implications for sound production.

    PubMed

    Zimmer, Walter M X; Madsen, Peter T; Teloni, Valeria; Johnson, Mark P; Tyack, Peter L

    2005-11-01

    Sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) produce multipulsed clicks with their hypertrophied nasal complex. The currently accepted view of the sound generation process is based on the click structure measured directly in front of, or behind, the whale where regular interpulse intervals (IPIs) are found between successive pulses in the click. Most sperm whales, however, are recorded with the whale in an unknown orientation with respect to the hydrophone where the multipulse structure and the IPI do not conform to a regular pulse pattern. By combining far-field recordings of usual clicks with acoustic and orientation information measured by a tag on the clicking whale, we analyzed clicks from known aspects to the whale. We show that a geometric model based on the bent horn theory for sound production can explain the varying off-axis multipulse structure. Some of the sound energy that is reflected off the frontal sac radiates directly into the water creating an intermediate pulse p1/2 seen in off-axis recordings. The powerful p1 sonar pulse exits the front of the junk as predicted by the bent-horn model, showing that the junk of the sperm whale nasal complex is both anatomically and functionally homologous to the melon of smaller toothed whales.

  5. Deep-diving foraging behaviour of sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus).

    PubMed

    Watwood, Stephanie L; Miller, Patrick J O; Johnson, Mark; Madsen, Peter T; Tyack, Peter L

    2006-05-01

    1. Digital tags were used to describe diving and vocal behaviour of sperm whales during 198 complete and partial foraging dives made by 37 individual sperm whales in the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico and the Ligurian Sea. 2. The maximum depth of dive averaged by individual differed across the three regions and was 985 m (SD = 124.3), 644 m (123.4) and 827 m (60.3), respectively. An average dive cycle consisted of a 45 min (6.3) dive with a 9 min (3.0) surface interval, with no significant differences among regions. On average, whales spent greater than 72% of their time in foraging dive cycles. 3. Whales produced regular clicks for 81% (4.1) of a dive and 64% (14.6) of the descent phase. The occurrence of buzz vocalizations (also called 'creaks') as an indicator of the foraging phase of a dive showed no difference in mean prey capture attempts per dive between regions [18 buzzes/dive (7.6)]. Sperm whales descended a mean of 392 m (144) from the start of regular clicking to the first buzz, which supports the hypothesis that regular clicks function as a long-range biosonar. 4. There were no significant differences in the duration of the foraging phase [28 min (6.0)] or percentage of the dive duration in the foraging phase [62% (7.3)] between the three regions, with an overall average proportion of time spent actively encountering prey during dive cycles of 0.53 (0.05). Whales maintained their time in the foraging phase by decreasing transit time for deeper foraging dives. 5. Similarity in foraging behaviour in the three regions and high diving efficiencies suggest that the success of sperm whales as mesopelagic predators is due in part to long-range echolocation of deep prey patches, efficient locomotion and a large aerobic capacity during diving.

  6. A Theory for the Function of the Spermaceti Organ of the Sperm Whale (Physeter Catodon L.)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Norris, K. S.; Harvey, G. W.

    1972-01-01

    The function of the spermaceti organ of the sperm whale is studied using a model of its acoustic system. Suggested functions of the system include: (1) action as an acoustic resonating and sound focussing chamber to form and process burst-pulsed clicks; (2) use of nasal passages in forehead for repeated recycling of air for phonation during dives and to provide mirrors for sound reflection and signal processing; and (3) use of the entire system to allow sound signal production especially useful for long range echolocofion in the deep sea.

  7. Gastrointestinal leiomyosarcoma in a pygmy sperm whale (Kogia breviceps).

    PubMed

    Leone, Angelique; Dark, Michael; Kondo, Hirotaka; Rotstein, David S; Kiupel, Matti; Walsh, Michael T; Erlacher-Reid, Claire; Gordon, Nadia; Conway, Julia A

    2013-09-01

    An adult male pygmy sperm whale (Kogia breviceps) was stranded within a tidal pool on Fernandina Beach on the north Florida Atlantic coast (USA) and expired soon after discovery. Necropsy findings included a small intestinal mass markedly expanding the intestinal wall and partially obstructing the lumen. This finding likely led to the malnutrition and ultimately the stranding of this whale. The differential diagnoses for the mass based on gross evaluation included a duodenal adenocarcinoma, leiomyoma/sarcoma, gastrointestinal stroma tumor, and benign/malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor, previously referred to as neurofibromas or schwannomas. The mass was presumptively diagnosed as a leiomyosarcoma via routine histopathology and confirmed by immunoreactivity for desmin and smooth actin (SMA). KIT, a gene name for CD 117, was negative, excluding a gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST). Leiomyosarcomas have been reported within numerous wild and domestic species, although this is the first reported case of any neoplasm in a pygmy sperm whale (K. breviceps).

  8. A Bayesian method to estimate the depth and the range of phonating sperm whales using a single hydrophone.

    PubMed

    Laplanche, Christophe

    2007-03-01

    Some bioacousticians have used a single hydrophone to calculate the depth/range of phonating diving animals. The standard one-hydrophone localization method uses multipath transmissions (direct path, sea surface, and seafloor reflections) of the animal phonations as a substitute for a vertical hydrophone array. The standard method requires three multipath transmissions per phonation. Bioacousticians who study foraging sperm whales usually do not have the required amount of multipath transmissions. However, they usually detect accurately (using shallow hydrophones towed by research vessels) direct path transmissions and sea surface reflections of sperm whale phonations (clicks). Sperm whales emit a few thousand clicks per foraging dive, therefore researchers have this number of direct path transmissions and this number of sea surface reflections per dive. The author describes a Bayesian method to combine the information contained in those acoustic data plus visual observations. The author's tests using synthetic data show that the accurate estimation of the depth/range of sperm whales is possible using a single hydrophone and without using any seafloor reflections. This method could be used to study the behavior of sperm whales using a single hydrophone in any location no matter what the depth, the relief, or the constitution of the seafloor might be.

  9. Sperm whales ability to avoid approaching vessels is affected by sound reception in stratified waters.

    PubMed

    Gannier, A; Marty, G

    2015-06-15

    Collision with vessels is a major cause of whale mortality in the Mediterranean Sea. The effect of non-spherical sound propagation effects on received levels (RL) was investigated for the sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus). Relevant dive patterns were considered in each case and the RL were compared for two periods using a ray tracing software, the winter conditions and the summer stratified situation. RL were plotted as a function of time in a simulated collision case for two vessel speeds representative of a conventional merchant ship (15knots) and a fast-ferry (37knots). In almost all simulated cases, RL featured a brutal 23-31dB re 1μPa rise from below 100dB while the vessel approached the whale at close range. Summer situations were worse because this transition occurred at closer ranges, resulting in acoustic warning times of less than 30s in the fast ferry case. These results suggested that sperm whales could not be able to achieve an escape manoeuvre in a critical situation such as a fast vessel approaching under stratified waters conditions.

  10. Sperm whales ability to avoid approaching vessels is affected by sound reception in stratified waters.

    PubMed

    Gannier, A; Marty, G

    2015-06-15

    Collision with vessels is a major cause of whale mortality in the Mediterranean Sea. The effect of non-spherical sound propagation effects on received levels (RL) was investigated for the sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus). Relevant dive patterns were considered in each case and the RL were compared for two periods using a ray tracing software, the winter conditions and the summer stratified situation. RL were plotted as a function of time in a simulated collision case for two vessel speeds representative of a conventional merchant ship (15knots) and a fast-ferry (37knots). In almost all simulated cases, RL featured a brutal 23-31dB re 1μPa rise from below 100dB while the vessel approached the whale at close range. Summer situations were worse because this transition occurred at closer ranges, resulting in acoustic warning times of less than 30s in the fast ferry case. These results suggested that sperm whales could not be able to achieve an escape manoeuvre in a critical situation such as a fast vessel approaching under stratified waters conditions. PMID:25843440

  11. Foraging behavior of fish-eating sperm whales in the Gulf of Alaska in the presence and absence of fishing vessels

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thode, Aaron; Straley, Jan; Folkert, Kendall; O'Connell, Victoria; Tiemann, Christopher

    2005-09-01

    Historical whaling records indicate that sperm whales off southeast Alaska incorporate fish into their diets, particularly black cod (Anoploploma fimbria). Since 1995 this fact has become relevant to fisheries' concerns in the form of increased depredation encounters between longline fishermen and over 40 sperm whales. Since 2002 the SE Alaska Sperm Whale Avoidance Project (SEASWAP) has been studying this phenomenon using fishermen reports, photo-ID, biopsy, and (since 2004) passive acoustics using both towed arrays and autonomous recorders placed on longline deployments. By using acoustic multipath the range and depths of foraging whales can be determined. Findings to date indicate that, under natural conditions, sperm whales are foraging at mid-depth in the water column (e.g., 250 m in 500-m-deep water), and that their dive cycle durations are similar to those reported in other oceans. This information is being compared with depth measurements of black cod at various stages of their life cycle. There is increasing evidence that distinctive acoustic cues made by longline vessels lead to changes in diving and acoustic behavior by the animals, when the animals are less than 10 nautical miles away. [Work supported by the North Pacific Research Board.

  12. Individual, unit and vocal clan level identity cues in sperm whale codas.

    PubMed

    Gero, Shane; Whitehead, Hal; Rendell, Luke

    2016-01-01

    The 'social complexity hypothesis' suggests that complex social structure is a driver of diversity in animal communication systems. Sperm whales have a hierarchically structured society in which the largest affiliative structures, the vocal clans, are marked on ocean-basin scales by culturally transmitted dialects of acoustic signals known as 'codas'. We examined variation in coda repertoires among both individual whales and social units-the basic element of sperm whale society-using data from nine Caribbean social units across six years. Codas were assigned to individuals using photo-identification and acoustic size measurement, and we calculated similarity between repertoires using both continuous and categorical methods. We identified 21 coda types. Two of those ('1+1+3' and '5R1') made up 65% of the codas recorded, were shared across all units and have dominated repertoires in this population for at least 30 years. Individuals appear to differ in the way they produce '5R1' but not '1+1+3' coda. Units use distinct 4-click coda types which contribute to making unit repertoires distinctive. Our results support the social complexity hypothesis in a marine species as different patterns of variation between coda types suggest divergent functions, perhaps representing selection for identity signals at several levels of social structure.

  13. Individual, unit and vocal clan level identity cues in sperm whale codas.

    PubMed

    Gero, Shane; Whitehead, Hal; Rendell, Luke

    2016-01-01

    The 'social complexity hypothesis' suggests that complex social structure is a driver of diversity in animal communication systems. Sperm whales have a hierarchically structured society in which the largest affiliative structures, the vocal clans, are marked on ocean-basin scales by culturally transmitted dialects of acoustic signals known as 'codas'. We examined variation in coda repertoires among both individual whales and social units-the basic element of sperm whale society-using data from nine Caribbean social units across six years. Codas were assigned to individuals using photo-identification and acoustic size measurement, and we calculated similarity between repertoires using both continuous and categorical methods. We identified 21 coda types. Two of those ('1+1+3' and '5R1') made up 65% of the codas recorded, were shared across all units and have dominated repertoires in this population for at least 30 years. Individuals appear to differ in the way they produce '5R1' but not '1+1+3' coda. Units use distinct 4-click coda types which contribute to making unit repertoires distinctive. Our results support the social complexity hypothesis in a marine species as different patterns of variation between coda types suggest divergent functions, perhaps representing selection for identity signals at several levels of social structure. PMID:26909165

  14. Individual, unit and vocal clan level identity cues in sperm whale codas

    PubMed Central

    Gero, Shane; Whitehead, Hal; Rendell, Luke

    2016-01-01

    The ‘social complexity hypothesis’ suggests that complex social structure is a driver of diversity in animal communication systems. Sperm whales have a hierarchically structured society in which the largest affiliative structures, the vocal clans, are marked on ocean-basin scales by culturally transmitted dialects of acoustic signals known as ‘codas’. We examined variation in coda repertoires among both individual whales and social units—the basic element of sperm whale society—using data from nine Caribbean social units across six years. Codas were assigned to individuals using photo-identification and acoustic size measurement, and we calculated similarity between repertoires using both continuous and categorical methods. We identified 21 coda types. Two of those (‘1+1+3’ and ‘5R1’) made up 65% of the codas recorded, were shared across all units and have dominated repertoires in this population for at least 30 years. Individuals appear to differ in the way they produce ‘5R1’ but not ‘1+1+3’ coda. Units use distinct 4-click coda types which contribute to making unit repertoires distinctive. Our results support the social complexity hypothesis in a marine species as different patterns of variation between coda types suggest divergent functions, perhaps representing selection for identity signals at several levels of social structure. PMID:26909165

  15. Properties and architecture of the sperm whale skull amphitheatre.

    PubMed

    Alam, Parvez; Amini, Shahrouz; Tadayon, Maryam; Miserez, Ali; Chinsamy, Anusuya

    2016-02-01

    The sperm whale skull amphitheatre cradles an enormous two-tonne spermaceti organ. The amphitheatre separates this organ from the cranium and the cervical vertebrae that lie in close proximity to the base of the skull. Here, we elucidate that this skull amphitheatre is an elastic, flexible, triple-layered structure with mechanical properties that are conjointly guided by bone histology and the characteristics of pore space. We contend that the amphitheatre will flex elastically to equilibrate forces transmitted via the spermaceti organ that arise through diving. We find that collisions from sperm whale aggression do not cause the amphitheatre to bend, but rather localise stress to the base of the amphitheatre on its anterior face. We consider, therefore, that the uniquely thin and extended construction of the amphitheatre, has relevance as an energy absorptive structure in diving.

  16. Properties and architecture of the sperm whale skull amphitheatre.

    PubMed

    Alam, Parvez; Amini, Shahrouz; Tadayon, Maryam; Miserez, Ali; Chinsamy, Anusuya

    2016-02-01

    The sperm whale skull amphitheatre cradles an enormous two-tonne spermaceti organ. The amphitheatre separates this organ from the cranium and the cervical vertebrae that lie in close proximity to the base of the skull. Here, we elucidate that this skull amphitheatre is an elastic, flexible, triple-layered structure with mechanical properties that are conjointly guided by bone histology and the characteristics of pore space. We contend that the amphitheatre will flex elastically to equilibrate forces transmitted via the spermaceti organ that arise through diving. We find that collisions from sperm whale aggression do not cause the amphitheatre to bend, but rather localise stress to the base of the amphitheatre on its anterior face. We consider, therefore, that the uniquely thin and extended construction of the amphitheatre, has relevance as an energy absorptive structure in diving. PMID:26781232

  17. Sperm whales (Physeter catodon) in the Gulf of Mexico

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Collum, L.A.; Fritts, T.H.

    1985-01-01

    The distribution of the sperm whale, Physeter catodon, was documented in the Gulf of Mexico during 1979 to 1981 using regular aerial surveys and opportunistic sightings from ships. Most sightings were in the western Gulf of Mexico in deep waters near the edge of the continental shelf. A total of 47 adults and 12 young animals was sighted in groups containing from one to 14 animals.

  18. As main meal for sperm whales: plastics debris.

    PubMed

    de Stephanis, Renaud; Giménez, Joan; Carpinelli, Eva; Gutierrez-Exposito, Carlos; Cañadas, Ana

    2013-04-15

    Marine debris has been found in marine animals since the early 20th century, but little is known about the impacts of the ingestion of debris in large marine mammals. In this study we describe a case of mortality of a sperm whale related to the ingestion of large amounts of marine debris in the Mediterranean Sea (4th published case worldwide to our knowledge), and discuss it within the context of the spatial distribution of the species and the presence of anthropogenic activities in the area that could be the source of the plastic debris found inside the sperm whale. The spatial distribution modelled for the species in the region shows that these animals can be seen in two distinct areas: near the waters of Almería, Granada and Murcia and in waters near the Strait of Gibraltar. The results shows how these animals feed in waters near an area completely flooded by the greenhouse industry, making them vulnerable to its waste products if adequate treatment of this industry's debris is not in place. Most types of these plastic materials have been found in the individual examined and cause of death was presumed to be gastric rupture following impaction with debris, which added to a previous problem of starvation. The problem of plastics arising from greenhouse agriculture should have a relevant section in the conservation plans and should be a recommendation from ACCOBAMS due to these plastics' and sperm whales' high mobility in the Mediterranean Sea.

  19. Sperm whales reduce foraging effort during exposure to 1-2 kHz sonar and killer whale sounds.

    PubMed

    Isojunno, Saana; Cure, Charlotte; Kvadsheim, Petter Helgevold; Lam, Frans-Peter Alexander; Tyack, Peter Lloyd; Wensveen, Paul Jacobus; Miller, Patrick James O'Malley

    2016-01-01

    The time and energetic costs of behavioral responses to incidental and experimental sonar exposures, as well as control stimuli, were quantified using hidden state analysis of time series of acoustic and movement data recorded by tags (DTAG) attached to 12 sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) using suction cups. Behavioral state transition modeling showed that tagged whales switched to a non-foraging, non-resting state during both experimental transmissions of low-frequency active sonar from an approaching vessel (LFAS; 1-2 kHz, source level 214 dB re 1 µPa m, four tag records) and playbacks of potential predator (killer whale, Orcinus orca) sounds broadcast at naturally occurring sound levels as a positive control from a drifting boat (five tag records). Time spent in foraging states and the probability of prey capture attempts were reduced during these two types of exposures with little change in overall locomotion activity, suggesting an effect on energy intake with no immediate compensation. Whales switched to the active non-foraging state over received sound pressure levels of 131-165 dB re 1 µPa during LFAS exposure. In contrast, no changes in foraging behavior were detected in response to experimental negative controls (no-sonar ship approach or noise control playback) or to experimental medium-frequency active sonar exposures (MFAS; 6-7 kHz, source level 199 re 1 µPa m, received sound pressure level [SPL] = 73-158 dB re 1 µPa). Similarly, there was no reduction in foraging effort for three whales exposed to incidental, unidentified 4.7-5.1 kHz sonar signals received at lower levels (SPL = 89-133 dB re 1 µPa). These results demonstrate that similar to predation risk, exposure to sonar can affect functional behaviors, and indicate that increased perception of risk with higher source level or lower frequency may modulate how sperm whales respond to anthropogenic sound. PMID:27039511

  20. Sperm whales reduce foraging effort during exposure to 1-2 kHz sonar and killer whale sounds.

    PubMed

    Isojunno, Saana; Cure, Charlotte; Kvadsheim, Petter Helgevold; Lam, Frans-Peter Alexander; Tyack, Peter Lloyd; Wensveen, Paul Jacobus; Miller, Patrick James O'Malley

    2016-01-01

    The time and energetic costs of behavioral responses to incidental and experimental sonar exposures, as well as control stimuli, were quantified using hidden state analysis of time series of acoustic and movement data recorded by tags (DTAG) attached to 12 sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) using suction cups. Behavioral state transition modeling showed that tagged whales switched to a non-foraging, non-resting state during both experimental transmissions of low-frequency active sonar from an approaching vessel (LFAS; 1-2 kHz, source level 214 dB re 1 µPa m, four tag records) and playbacks of potential predator (killer whale, Orcinus orca) sounds broadcast at naturally occurring sound levels as a positive control from a drifting boat (five tag records). Time spent in foraging states and the probability of prey capture attempts were reduced during these two types of exposures with little change in overall locomotion activity, suggesting an effect on energy intake with no immediate compensation. Whales switched to the active non-foraging state over received sound pressure levels of 131-165 dB re 1 µPa during LFAS exposure. In contrast, no changes in foraging behavior were detected in response to experimental negative controls (no-sonar ship approach or noise control playback) or to experimental medium-frequency active sonar exposures (MFAS; 6-7 kHz, source level 199 re 1 µPa m, received sound pressure level [SPL] = 73-158 dB re 1 µPa). Similarly, there was no reduction in foraging effort for three whales exposed to incidental, unidentified 4.7-5.1 kHz sonar signals received at lower levels (SPL = 89-133 dB re 1 µPa). These results demonstrate that similar to predation risk, exposure to sonar can affect functional behaviors, and indicate that increased perception of risk with higher source level or lower frequency may modulate how sperm whales respond to anthropogenic sound.

  1. Detection and Analysis of Low-Frequency Sperm Whale Vocalizations with a Towed Array

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bohn, Alexander

    Sperm whale vocalizations recorded during a sea test and calibration experiment in the Gulf of Maine on a single towed, horizontal, densely sampled, low-frequency (< 2500 Hz), coherent hydrophone array system are detected and analyzed for signal energy level and other characteristics. The vocalizing individuals are localized in bearing, range, and depth. An algorithm is developed to achieve automatic detection of vocalizations. This analysis is shown to have potential utility despite restriction to only the low-frequency component of the vocalizations by sampling theory. In addition, transmission loss in the New England continental shelf and slope environment is accounted for with an ocean waveguide-acoustic propagation model. Multiple averaged realizations of this model are used to estimate transmission loss as a function of range and depth for transects between the receiver array and vocalizing whales. Comparison of the vocalizations and background noise levels and the estimated transmission loss suggests the sperm whale detection range after coherent array processing exceeds 60 km in low-to-moderate sea states. Low-frequency source levels of vocalizations are estimated using the received levels and the estimated transmission loss, and applications of both this estimate and the receiver-side statistics are discussed.

  2. Near-bottom hydrophone measurements of ambient noise and sperm whale vocalizations in the northern Gulf of Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Newcomb, Joal; Fisher, Robert; Field, Robert; Turgut, Altan; Ioup, George; Ioup, Juliette; Rayborn, Grayson; Kuczaj, Stan; Caruthers, Jerald; Goodman, Ralph; Sidorovskaia, Natalia

    2002-05-01

    Three bottom-moored hydrophones, 50 m above the bottom, were placed on a downslope line, ending at the largest concentration of sperm whale sightings in the northern Gulf of Mexico, in 600 m, 800 m, and 1000 m water depths. These depths were chosen after upslope propagation modeling, using historical databases, showed transmission losses greater than 110 dB at hydrophones near the bottom in water shallower than 600 m for a 500 m deep source at the 1000 m contour. These autonomously recording hydrophones were environmental acoustic recording system (EARS) buoys obtained from the Naval Oceanographic Office. They were capable of recording signals up to 5500 Hz continuously for 36 days and were deployed from July 17 through August 21. During this period a major marine mammal exercise was being conducted at the surface by the Minerals Management Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service, with other government and university scientists, in which temporary acoustic recording devices were attached to the whales and the whales were monitored by a surface towed array. Our near-bottom measurements of ambient noise and sperm whale vocalizations are discussed and compared to those surface and on-whale measurements. [Research supported by ONR.

  3. Underwater Ambient Noise and Sperm Whale Click Detection during Extreme Wind Speed Conditions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Newcomb, Joal J.; Wright, Andrew J.; Kuczaj, Stan; Thames, Rachel; Hillstrom, Wesley R.; Goodman, Ralph

    2004-11-01

    The Littoral Acoustic Demonstration Center (LA DC) deployed three Environmental Acoustic Recording System (EARS) buoys in the northern Gulf of Mexico during the summers of 2001 (LADC 01) and 2002 (LADC 02). The hydrophone of each buoy was approximately 50m from the bottom in water depths of 645m to 1034m. During LADC 01 Tropical Storm Barry passed within 93nmi east of the EARS buoys. During LADC 02 Tropical Storm Isidore and Hurricane Lili passed within approximately 73nmi and 116nmi, respectively, west of the EARS buoys. The proximity of these storm systems to the EARS buoys, in conjunction with wind speed data from three nearby NDBC weather buoys, allows for the direct comparison of underwater ambient noise levels with high wind speeds. These results are compared to the G. M. Wenz spectra at frequencies from 1kHz to 5.5kHz. In addition, the impact of storm conditions on sperm whale clicks was assessed. In particular, although the time period during the closest approach of TS Barry tended to produce lower click rates, this time period did not have the greatest incidence of non-detection at all the EARS buoys. It follows that storm-related masking noise could not have been responsible for all the observed trends. The data suggest that sperm whales may have left the vicinity of the deepest EARS buoy (nearest TS Barry's storm track) during the storm and possibly moved into the shallower waters around the other EARS buoys. It also appears that sperm whales may not have returned to the deepest EARS area, or did not resume normal behavior immediately after the storm, as the click rate did not recover to pre-storm levels during the period after TS Barry had dissipated. Results of these analyses and the ambient noise analysis will be presented. (Research supported by ONR).

  4. 75 FR 81584 - Endangered and Threatened Species; Recovery Plan for the Sperm Whale

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2010-12-28

    ... ocean basin and discussed in three sections: Those sperm whales in the Atlantic Ocean/Mediterranean Sea, including the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico, those in the Pacific Ocean and its adjoining seas and gulfs... endangered species under the ESA on December 2, 1970 (35 FR 18319). Sperm whales have a global...

  5. Edwardsiella tarda sepsis in a live-stranded sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus).

    PubMed

    Cools, Piet; Haelters, Jan; Lopes dos Santos Santiago, Guido; Claeys, Geert; Boelens, Jerina; Leroux-Roels, Isabel; Vaneechoutte, Mario; Deschaght, Pieter

    2013-09-27

    Whale strandings remain poorly understood, although bacterial infections have been suggested to contribute. We isolated Edwardsiella tarda from the blood of a stranded sperm whale. The pathogen was identified with MALDI-TOF MS, confirmed by 16S rRNA gene sequencing and quantified in blood by qPCR. We report the first case of sepsis in a sperm whale. The zoonotic potential of E. tarda and the possible role of bacterial infections in the enigmatic strandings of cetaceans are discussed.

  6. Sperm whale clicks: directionality and source level revisited.

    PubMed

    Møhl, B; Wahlberg, M; Madsen, P T; Miller, L A; Surlykke, A

    2000-01-01

    In sperm whales (Physeter catodon L. 1758) the nose is vastly hypertrophied, accounting for about one-third of the length or weight of an adult male. Norris and Harvey [in Animal Orientation and Navigation, NASA SP-262 (1972), pp. 397-417] ascribed a sound-generating function to this organ complex. A sound generator weighing upward of 10 tons and with a cross-section of 1 m is expected to generate high-intensity, directional sounds. This prediction from the Norris and Harvey theory is not supported by published data for sperm whale clicks (source levels of 180 dB re 1 microPa and little, if any, directionality). Either the theory is not borne out or the data is not representative for the capabilities of the sound-generating mechanism. To increase the amount of relevant data, a five-hydrophone array, suspended from three platforms separated by 1 km and linked by radio, was deployed at the slope of the continental shelf off Andenes, Norway, in the summers of 1997 and 1998. With this system, source levels up to 223 dB re 1 microPa peRMS were recorded. Also, source level differences of 35 dB for the same click at different directions were seen, which are interpreted as evidence for high directionality. This implicates sonar as a possible function of the clicks. Thus, previously published properties of sperm whale clicks underestimate the capabilities of the sound generator and therefore cannot falsify the Norris and Harvey theory.

  7. Underwater behavior of sperm whales off Kaikoura, New Zealand, as revealed by a three-dimensional hydrophone array.

    PubMed

    Miller, Brian; Dawson, Stephen; Vennell, Ross

    2013-10-01

    Observations are presented of the vocal behavior and three dimensional (3D) underwater movements of sperm whales measured with a passive acoustic array off the coast of Kaikoura, New Zealand. Visual observations and vocal behaviors of whales were used to divide dive tracks into different phases, and depths and movements of whales are reported for each of these phases. Diving depths and movement information from 75 3D tracks of whales in Kaikoura are compared to one and two dimensional tracks of whales studied in other oceans. While diving, whales in Kaikoura had a mean swimming speed of 1.57 m/s, and, on average, dived to a depth of 427 m (SD = 117 m), spending most of their time at depths between 300 and 600 m. Creak vocalizations, assumed to be the prey capture phase of echolocation, occurred throughout the water column from sea surface to sea floor, but most occurred at depths of 400-550 m. Three dimensional measurement of tracking revealed several different "foraging" strategies, including active chasing of prey, lining up slow-moving or unsuspecting prey, and foraging on demersal or benthic prey. These movements provide the first 3D descriptions underwater behavior of whales at Kaikoura.

  8. Bayesian three-dimensional reconstruction of toothed whale trajectories: passive acoustics assisted with visual and tagging measurements.

    PubMed

    Laplanche, Christophe

    2012-11-01

    The author describes and evaluates a Bayesian method to reconstruct three-dimensional toothed whale trajectories from a series of echolocation signals. Localization by using passive acoustic data (time of arrival of source signals at receptors) is assisted by using visual data (coordinates of the whale when diving and resurfacing) and tag information (movement statistics). The efficiency of the Bayesian method is compared to the standard minimum mean squared error statistical approach by comparing the reconstruction results of 48 simulated sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) trajectories. The use of the advanced Bayesian method reduces bias (standard deviation) with respect to the standard method up to a factor of 8.9 (13.6). The author provides open-source software which is functional with acoustic data which would be collected in the field from any three-dimensional receptor array design. This approach renews passive acoustics as a valuable tool to study the underwater behavior of toothed whales. PMID:23145606

  9. Directionality of sperm whale sonar clicks and its relation to piston radiation theory.

    PubMed

    Beedholm, Kristian; Møhl, Bertel

    2006-02-01

    This paper investigates the applicability to sperm whales of the theory of sound radiating from a piston. The theory is applied to a physical model and to a series of sperm whale clicks. Results show that wave forms of off-axis signals can be reproduced by convolving an on-axis signal with the spatial impulse response of a piston. The angle of a recorded click can be estimated as the angle producing the spatial impulse response that gives the best match with the observation when convolved with the on-axis wave form. It is concluded that piston theory applies to sperm whale sonar click emission.

  10. Iron defecation by sperm whales stimulates carbon export in the Southern Ocean.

    PubMed

    Lavery, Trish J; Roudnew, Ben; Gill, Peter; Seymour, Justin; Seuront, Laurent; Johnson, Genevieve; Mitchell, James G; Smetacek, Victor

    2010-11-22

    The iron-limited Southern Ocean plays an important role in regulating atmospheric CO(2) levels. Marine mammal respiration has been proposed to decrease the efficiency of the Southern Ocean biological pump by returning photosynthetically fixed carbon to the atmosphere. Here, we show that by consuming prey at depth and defecating iron-rich liquid faeces into the photic zone, sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) instead stimulate new primary production and carbon export to the deep ocean. We estimate that Southern Ocean sperm whales defecate 50 tonnes of iron into the photic zone each year. Molar ratios of C(export):Fe(added) determined during natural ocean fertilization events are used to estimate the amount of carbon exported to the deep ocean in response to the iron defecated by sperm whales. We find that Southern Ocean sperm whales stimulate the export of 4 × 10(5) tonnes of carbon per year to the deep ocean and respire only 2 × 10(5) tonnes of carbon per year. By enhancing new primary production, the populations of 12 000 sperm whales in the Southern Ocean act as a carbon sink, removing 2 × 10(5) tonnes more carbon from the atmosphere than they add during respiration. The ability of the Southern Ocean to act as a carbon sink may have been diminished by large-scale removal of sperm whales during industrial whaling.

  11. Inter-basin movements of Mediterranean sperm whales provide insight into their population structure and conservation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Frantzis, A.; Airoldi, S.; Notarbartolo-di-Sciara, G.; Johnson, C.; Mazzariol, S.

    2011-04-01

    The sperm whale is one of the very few deep diving mammal species in the Mediterranean Sea. Following a rare mass stranding of male sperm whales in the Adriatic Sea in December 2009, photo-identification methods were used in order to investigate previous sightings of the stranded whales in the region. Fluke photos of the stranded whales were compared with those of 153 and 128 free-ranging individuals photographed in the western and eastern Mediterranean basins, respectively. Three out of the seven stranded whales had been previously photo-identified and some of them more than once. To reach the stranding place, two of these re-identified whales performed long-range inter-basin movements of about 1600-2100 km (in a straight line) either through the Strait of Sicily or the Strait of Messina. In addition, comparisons among all whales photographed in the two Mediterranean basins revealed that one more individual first photographed in the western basin (1991) was re-identified 13 years later in the eastern basin (2004). These three cases provide the first conclusive evidence of inter-basin movement of sperm whales in the Mediterranean Sea. Inter-basin gene flow is important for the survival of the small and endangered Mediterranean sperm whale population. Mitigating the disturbance created by human activities in the straits area is crucial for its conservation.

  12. Sperm whale behaviour indicates the use of echolocation click buzzes "creaks" in prey capture.

    PubMed

    Miller, Patrick J O; Johnson, Mark P; Tyack, Peter L

    2004-11-01

    During foraging dives, sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) produce long series of regular clicks at 0.5-2 s intervals interspersed with rapid-click buzzes called "creaks". Sound, depth and orientation recording Dtags were attached to 23 whales in the Ligurian Sea and Gulf of Mexico to test whether the behaviour of diving sperm whales supports the hypothesis that creaks are produced during prey capture. Sperm whales spent most of their bottom time within one or two depth bands, apparently feeding in vertically stratified prey layers. Creak rates were highest during the bottom phase: 99.8% of creaks were produced in the deepest 50% of dives, 57% in the deepest 15% of dives. Whales swam actively during the bottom phase, producing a mean of 12.5 depth inflections per dive. A mean of 32% of creaks produced during the bottom phase occurred within 10 s of an inflection (13x more than chance). Sperm whales actively altered their body orientation throughout the bottom phase with significantly increased rates of change during creaks, reflecting increased manoeuvring. Sperm whales increased their bottom foraging time when creak rates were higher. These results all strongly support the hypothesis that creaks are an echolocation signal adapted for foraging, analogous to terminal buzzes in taxonomically diverse echolocating species.

  13. Sperm whale behaviour indicates the use of echolocation click buzzes "creaks" in prey capture.

    PubMed Central

    Miller, Patrick J. O.; Johnson, Mark P.; Tyack, Peter L.

    2004-01-01

    During foraging dives, sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) produce long series of regular clicks at 0.5-2 s intervals interspersed with rapid-click buzzes called "creaks". Sound, depth and orientation recording Dtags were attached to 23 whales in the Ligurian Sea and Gulf of Mexico to test whether the behaviour of diving sperm whales supports the hypothesis that creaks are produced during prey capture. Sperm whales spent most of their bottom time within one or two depth bands, apparently feeding in vertically stratified prey layers. Creak rates were highest during the bottom phase: 99.8% of creaks were produced in the deepest 50% of dives, 57% in the deepest 15% of dives. Whales swam actively during the bottom phase, producing a mean of 12.5 depth inflections per dive. A mean of 32% of creaks produced during the bottom phase occurred within 10 s of an inflection (13x more than chance). Sperm whales actively altered their body orientation throughout the bottom phase with significantly increased rates of change during creaks, reflecting increased manoeuvring. Sperm whales increased their bottom foraging time when creak rates were higher. These results all strongly support the hypothesis that creaks are an echolocation signal adapted for foraging, analogous to terminal buzzes in taxonomically diverse echolocating species. PMID:15539349

  14. Critical Decline of the Eastern Caribbean Sperm Whale Population

    PubMed Central

    Whitehead, Hal

    2016-01-01

    Sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) populations were expected to rebuild following the end of commercial whaling. We document the decline of the population in the eastern Caribbean by tracing demographic changes of well-studied social units. We address hypotheses that, over a ten-year period of dedicated effort (2005–2015), unit size, numbers of calves and/or calving rates have each declined. Across 16 units, the number of adults decreased in 12 units, increased in two, and showed no change in two. The number of adults per unit decreased at -0.195 individuals/yr (95% CI: -0.080 to -0.310; P = 0.001). The number of calves also declined, but the decline was not significant. This negative trend of -4.5% per year in unit size started in about 2010, with numbers being fairly stable until then. There are several natural and anthropogenic threats, but no well-substantiated cause for the decline. PMID:27706153

  15. Responses of male sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) to killer whale sounds: implications for anti-predator strategies

    PubMed Central

    Curé, Charlotte; Antunes, Ricardo; Alves, Ana Catarina; Visser, Fleur; Kvadsheim, Petter H.; Miller, Patrick J. O.

    2013-01-01

    Interactions between individuals of different cetacean species are often observed in the wild. Killer whales (Orcinus orca) can be potential predators of many other cetaceans, and the interception of their vocalizations by unintended cetacean receivers may trigger anti-predator behavior that could mediate predator-prey interactions. We explored the anti-predator behaviour of five typically-solitary male sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) in the Norwegian Sea by playing sounds of mammal-feeding killer whales and monitoring behavioural responses using multi-sensor tags. Our results suggest that, rather than taking advantage of their large aerobic capacities to dive away from the perceived predator, sperm whales responded to killer whale playbacks by interrupting their foraging or resting dives and returning to the surface, changing their vocal production, and initiating a surprising degree of social behaviour in these mostly solitary animals. Thus, the interception of predator vocalizations by male sperm whales disrupted functional behaviours and mediated previously unrecognized anti-predator responses. PMID:23545484

  16. Responses of male sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) to killer whale sounds: implications for anti-predator strategies.

    PubMed

    Curé, Charlotte; Antunes, Ricardo; Alves, Ana Catarina; Visser, Fleur; Kvadsheim, Petter H; Miller, Patrick J O

    2013-01-01

    Interactions between individuals of different cetacean species are often observed in the wild. Killer whales (Orcinus orca) can be potential predators of many other cetaceans, and the interception of their vocalizations by unintended cetacean receivers may trigger anti-predator behavior that could mediate predator-prey interactions. We explored the anti-predator behaviour of five typically-solitary male sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) in the Norwegian Sea by playing sounds of mammal-feeding killer whales and monitoring behavioural responses using multi-sensor tags. Our results suggest that, rather than taking advantage of their large aerobic capacities to dive away from the perceived predator, sperm whales responded to killer whale playbacks by interrupting their foraging or resting dives and returning to the surface, changing their vocal production, and initiating a surprising degree of social behaviour in these mostly solitary animals. Thus, the interception of predator vocalizations by male sperm whales disrupted functional behaviours and mediated previously unrecognized anti-predator responses.

  17. Tracking beaked whales with a passive acoustic profiler float.

    PubMed

    Matsumoto, Haru; Jones, Christopher; Klinck, Holger; Mellinger, David K; Dziak, Robert P; Meinig, Christian

    2013-02-01

    Acoustic methods are frequently used to monitor endangered marine mammal species. Advantages of acoustic methods over visual ones include the ability to detect submerged animals, to work at night, and to work in any weather conditions. A relatively inexpensive and easy-to-use acoustic float, the QUEphone, was developed by converting a commercially available profiler float to a mobile platform, adding acoustic capability, and installing the ERMA cetacean click detection algorithm of Klinck and Mellinger [(2011). J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 129(4), 1807-1812] running on a high-power DSP. The QUEphone was tested at detecting Blainville's beaked whales at the Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center (AUTEC), a Navy acoustic test range in the Bahamas, in June 2010. Beaked whale were present at AUTEC, and the performance of the QUEphone was compared with the Navy's Marine Mammal Monitoring on Navy Ranges (M3R) system. The field tests provided data useful to evaluate the QUEphone's operational capability as a tool to detect beaked whales and report their presence in near-real time. The range tests demonstrated that the QUEphone's beaked whale detections were comparable to that of M3R's, and that the float is effective at detecting beaked whales.

  18. Low diversity in the mitogenome of sperm whales revealed by next-generation sequencing.

    PubMed

    Alexander, Alana; Steel, Debbie; Slikas, Beth; Hoekzema, Kendra; Carraher, Colm; Parks, Matthew; Cronn, Richard; Baker, C Scott

    2013-01-01

    Large population sizes and global distributions generally associate with high mitochondrial DNA control region (CR) diversity. The sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) is an exception, showing low CR diversity relative to other cetaceans; however, diversity levels throughout the remainder of the sperm whale mitogenome are unknown. We sequenced 20 mitogenomes from 17 sperm whales representative of worldwide diversity using Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technologies (Illumina GAIIx, Roche 454 GS Junior). Resequencing of three individuals with both NGS platforms and partial Sanger sequencing showed low discrepancy rates (454-Illumina: 0.0071%; Sanger-Illumina: 0.0034%; and Sanger-454: 0.0023%) confirming suitability of both NGS platforms for investigating low mitogenomic diversity. Using the 17 sperm whale mitogenomes in a phylogenetic reconstruction with 41 other species, including 11 new dolphin mitogenomes, we tested two hypotheses for the low CR diversity. First, the hypothesis that CR-specific constraints have reduced diversity solely in the CR was rejected as diversity was low throughout the mitogenome, not just in the CR (overall diversity π = 0.096%; protein-coding 3rd codon = 0.22%; CR = 0.35%), and CR phylogenetic signal was congruent with protein-coding regions. Second, the hypothesis that slow substitution rates reduced diversity throughout the sperm whale mitogenome was rejected as sperm whales had significantly higher rates of CR evolution and no evidence of slow coding region evolution relative to other cetaceans. The estimated time to most recent common ancestor for sperm whale mitogenomes was 72,800 to 137,400 years ago (95% highest probability density interval), consistent with previous hypotheses of a bottleneck or selective sweep as likely causes of low mitogenome diversity.

  19. Low Diversity in the Mitogenome of Sperm Whales Revealed by Next-Generation Sequencing

    PubMed Central

    Alexander, Alana; Steel, Debbie; Slikas, Beth; Hoekzema, Kendra; Carraher, Colm; Parks, Matthew; Cronn, Richard; Baker, C. Scott

    2013-01-01

    Large population sizes and global distributions generally associate with high mitochondrial DNA control region (CR) diversity. The sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) is an exception, showing low CR diversity relative to other cetaceans; however, diversity levels throughout the remainder of the sperm whale mitogenome are unknown. We sequenced 20 mitogenomes from 17 sperm whales representative of worldwide diversity using Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technologies (Illumina GAIIx, Roche 454 GS Junior). Resequencing of three individuals with both NGS platforms and partial Sanger sequencing showed low discrepancy rates (454-Illumina: 0.0071%; Sanger-Illumina: 0.0034%; and Sanger-454: 0.0023%) confirming suitability of both NGS platforms for investigating low mitogenomic diversity. Using the 17 sperm whale mitogenomes in a phylogenetic reconstruction with 41 other species, including 11 new dolphin mitogenomes, we tested two hypotheses for the low CR diversity. First, the hypothesis that CR-specific constraints have reduced diversity solely in the CR was rejected as diversity was low throughout the mitogenome, not just in the CR (overall diversity π = 0.096%; protein-coding 3rd codon = 0.22%; CR = 0.35%), and CR phylogenetic signal was congruent with protein-coding regions. Second, the hypothesis that slow substitution rates reduced diversity throughout the sperm whale mitogenome was rejected as sperm whales had significantly higher rates of CR evolution and no evidence of slow coding region evolution relative to other cetaceans. The estimated time to most recent common ancestor for sperm whale mitogenomes was 72,800 to 137,400 years ago (95% highest probability density interval), consistent with previous hypotheses of a bottleneck or selective sweep as likely causes of low mitogenome diversity. PMID:23254394

  20. Exposure to seismic survey alters blue whale acoustic communication.

    PubMed

    Di Iorio, Lucia; Clark, Christopher W

    2010-02-23

    The ability to perceive biologically important sounds is critical to marine mammals, and acoustic disturbance through human-generated noise can interfere with their natural functions. Sounds from seismic surveys are intense and have peak frequency bands overlapping those used by baleen whales, but evidence of interference with baleen whale acoustic communication is sparse. Here we investigated whether blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) changed their vocal behaviour during a seismic survey that deployed a low-medium power technology (sparker). We found that blue whales called consistently more on seismic exploration days than on non-exploration days as well as during periods within a seismic survey day when the sparker was operating. This increase was observed for the discrete, audible calls that are emitted during social encounters and feeding. This response presumably represents a compensatory behaviour to the elevated ambient noise from seismic survey operations. PMID:19776059

  1. Exposure to seismic survey alters blue whale acoustic communication.

    PubMed

    Di Iorio, Lucia; Clark, Christopher W

    2010-02-23

    The ability to perceive biologically important sounds is critical to marine mammals, and acoustic disturbance through human-generated noise can interfere with their natural functions. Sounds from seismic surveys are intense and have peak frequency bands overlapping those used by baleen whales, but evidence of interference with baleen whale acoustic communication is sparse. Here we investigated whether blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) changed their vocal behaviour during a seismic survey that deployed a low-medium power technology (sparker). We found that blue whales called consistently more on seismic exploration days than on non-exploration days as well as during periods within a seismic survey day when the sparker was operating. This increase was observed for the discrete, audible calls that are emitted during social encounters and feeding. This response presumably represents a compensatory behaviour to the elevated ambient noise from seismic survey operations.

  2. POPs in free-ranging pilot whales, sperm whales and fin whales from the Mediterranean Sea: Influence of biological and ecological factors.

    PubMed

    Pinzone, Marianna; Budzinski, Hélène; Tasciotti, Aurélie; Ody, Denis; Lepoint, Gilles; Schnitzler, Joseph; Scholl, George; Thomé, Jean-Pierre; Tapie, Nathalie; Eppe, Gauthier; Das, Krishna

    2015-10-01

    The pilot whale Globicephala melas, the sperm whale Physeter macrocephalus, and the fin whale Balaenoptera physalus are large cetaceans permanently inhabiting the Mediterranean Sea. These species are subjected to numerous anthropogenic threats such as exposure to high levels of contaminants. Therefore, selected persistent organic pollutants POPs (29 PCBs, 15 organochlorine compounds, 9 PBDEs and 17 PCDD/Fs) were analysed in blubber biopsies of 49 long-finned pilot whales, 61 sperm whales and 70 fin whales sampled in the North Western Mediterranean Sea (NWMS) from 2006 to 2013. Contamination profile and species feeding ecology were then combined through the use of stable isotopes. δ(13)C, δ(15)N values and POPs levels were assessed through IR-MS and GC-MS respectively. To assess the toxic potency of the dioxin-like compounds, the TEQ approach was applied. δ(15)N values were 12.2±1.3‰ for sperm whales, 10.5±0.7‰ for pilot whales and 7.7±0.8‰ in fin whales, positioning sperm whales at higher trophic levels. δ(13)C of the two odontocetes was similar and amounted to -17.3±0.4‰ for sperm whales and -17.8±0.3‰ for pilot whales; whilst fin whales were more depleted (-18.7±0.4‰). This indicates a partial overlap in toothed-whales feeding habitats, while confirms the differences in feeding behaviour of the mysticete. Pilot whales presented higher concentrations than sperm whales for ΣPCBs (38,666±25,731 ng g(-1)lw and 22,849±15,566 ng g(-1) lw respectively), ΣPBDEs (712±412 ng g(-1) lw and 347±173 ng g(-1) lw respectively) and ΣDDTs (46,081±37,506 ng g(-1) lw and 37,647±38,518 ng g(-1) lw respectively). Fin whales presented the lowest values, in accordance with its trophic position (ΣPCBs: 5721±5180 ng g(-1) lw, ΣPBDEs: 177±208 ng g(-1) lw and ΣDDTs: 6643±5549 ng g(-1) lw). Each species was characterized by large inter-individual variations that are more related to sex than trophic level, with males presenting higher contaminant burden

  3. POPs in free-ranging pilot whales, sperm whales and fin whales from the Mediterranean Sea: Influence of biological and ecological factors.

    PubMed

    Pinzone, Marianna; Budzinski, Hélène; Tasciotti, Aurélie; Ody, Denis; Lepoint, Gilles; Schnitzler, Joseph; Scholl, George; Thomé, Jean-Pierre; Tapie, Nathalie; Eppe, Gauthier; Das, Krishna

    2015-10-01

    The pilot whale Globicephala melas, the sperm whale Physeter macrocephalus, and the fin whale Balaenoptera physalus are large cetaceans permanently inhabiting the Mediterranean Sea. These species are subjected to numerous anthropogenic threats such as exposure to high levels of contaminants. Therefore, selected persistent organic pollutants POPs (29 PCBs, 15 organochlorine compounds, 9 PBDEs and 17 PCDD/Fs) were analysed in blubber biopsies of 49 long-finned pilot whales, 61 sperm whales and 70 fin whales sampled in the North Western Mediterranean Sea (NWMS) from 2006 to 2013. Contamination profile and species feeding ecology were then combined through the use of stable isotopes. δ(13)C, δ(15)N values and POPs levels were assessed through IR-MS and GC-MS respectively. To assess the toxic potency of the dioxin-like compounds, the TEQ approach was applied. δ(15)N values were 12.2±1.3‰ for sperm whales, 10.5±0.7‰ for pilot whales and 7.7±0.8‰ in fin whales, positioning sperm whales at higher trophic levels. δ(13)C of the two odontocetes was similar and amounted to -17.3±0.4‰ for sperm whales and -17.8±0.3‰ for pilot whales; whilst fin whales were more depleted (-18.7±0.4‰). This indicates a partial overlap in toothed-whales feeding habitats, while confirms the differences in feeding behaviour of the mysticete. Pilot whales presented higher concentrations than sperm whales for ΣPCBs (38,666±25,731 ng g(-1)lw and 22,849±15,566 ng g(-1) lw respectively), ΣPBDEs (712±412 ng g(-1) lw and 347±173 ng g(-1) lw respectively) and ΣDDTs (46,081±37,506 ng g(-1) lw and 37,647±38,518 ng g(-1) lw respectively). Fin whales presented the lowest values, in accordance with its trophic position (ΣPCBs: 5721±5180 ng g(-1) lw, ΣPBDEs: 177±208 ng g(-1) lw and ΣDDTs: 6643±5549 ng g(-1) lw). Each species was characterized by large inter-individual variations that are more related to sex than trophic level, with males presenting higher contaminant burden

  4. Modelling the habitat suitability of cetaceans: Example of the sperm whale in the northwestern Mediterranean Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Praca, Emilie; Gannier, Alexandre; Das, Krishna; Laran, Sophie

    2009-04-01

    Cetaceans are mobile and spend long periods underwater. Because of this, modelling their habitat could be subject to a serious problem of false absence. Furthermore, extensive surveys at sea are time and money consuming, and presence-absence data are difficult to apply. This study compares the ability of two presence-absence and two presence-only habitat modelling methods and uses the example of the sperm whale ( Physeter macrocephalus) in the northwestern Mediterranean Sea. The data consist of summer visual and acoustical detections of sperm whales, compiled between 1998 and 2005. Habitat maps were computed using topographical and hydrological eco-geographical variables. Four methods were compared: principal component analysis (PCA), ecological niche factor analysis (ENFA), generalized linear model (GLM) and multivariate adaptive regression splines (MARS). The evaluation of the models was achieved by calculating the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) of the models and their respective area under the curve (AUC). Presence-absence methods (GLM, AUC=0.70, and MARS, AUC=0.79) presented better AUC than presence-only methods (PCA, AUC=0.58, and ENFA, AUC=0.66), but this difference was not statistically significant, except between the MARS and the PCA models. The four models showed an influence of both topographical and hydrological factors, but the resulting habitat suitability maps differed. The core habitat on the continental slope was well highlighted by the four models, while GLM and MARS maps also showed a suitable habitat in the offshore waters. Presence-absence methods are therefore recommended for modelling the habitat suitability of cetaceans, as they seem more accurate to highlight complex habitat. However, the use of presence-only techniques, in particular ENFA, could be very useful for a first model of the habitat range or when important surveys at sea are not possible.

  5. What's the catch? Validity of whaling data for Japanese catches of sperm whales in the North Pacific.

    PubMed

    Ivashchenko, Yulia V; Clapham, Phillip J

    2015-07-01

    The failure of international efforts to manage commercial whaling was exemplified by revelations of large-scale illegal whale catches by the USSR over a 30 year period following World War II. Falsifications of catch data have also been reported for Japanese coastal whaling, but to date there has been no investigation of the reliability of catch statistics for Japanese pelagic (factory fleet) whaling operations. Here, we use data of known reliability from Soviet whaling industry reports to show that body lengths reported to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) by Japanese factory fleets for female sperm whales caught in the North Pacific are not credible. In 1968/1969, Japanese whaling fleets in the North Pacific killed 1568 females, of which 1525 (97.3%) were reported as being at or above the IWC's minimum length of 11.6 m (legal-sized females, LSFs). By contrast, Soviet fleets operating during this period killed 12 578 females; only 824 (6.6%) were LSFs. Adjusting for effort, catches of LSFs were up to 9.1 times higher for Japan compared with the USSR, and even higher for very large females. Dramatic differences in body length statistics were evident when both nations operated in the same area. Significantly, the frequency of LSFs and very large females in the Japanese catch markedly declined after the IWC's International Observer Scheme in 1972 made illegal whaling more difficult. We conclude that the Japanese length data reflect systematic falsification of catch statistics submitted to the IWC, with serious implications for the reliability of data used in current population assessments. The apparent ease with which catch data were falsified in the past underscores the necessity of transparent and independent inspection procedures in any future commercial whaling.

  6. What's the catch? Validity of whaling data for Japanese catches of sperm whales in the North Pacific.

    PubMed

    Ivashchenko, Yulia V; Clapham, Phillip J

    2015-07-01

    The failure of international efforts to manage commercial whaling was exemplified by revelations of large-scale illegal whale catches by the USSR over a 30 year period following World War II. Falsifications of catch data have also been reported for Japanese coastal whaling, but to date there has been no investigation of the reliability of catch statistics for Japanese pelagic (factory fleet) whaling operations. Here, we use data of known reliability from Soviet whaling industry reports to show that body lengths reported to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) by Japanese factory fleets for female sperm whales caught in the North Pacific are not credible. In 1968/1969, Japanese whaling fleets in the North Pacific killed 1568 females, of which 1525 (97.3%) were reported as being at or above the IWC's minimum length of 11.6 m (legal-sized females, LSFs). By contrast, Soviet fleets operating during this period killed 12 578 females; only 824 (6.6%) were LSFs. Adjusting for effort, catches of LSFs were up to 9.1 times higher for Japan compared with the USSR, and even higher for very large females. Dramatic differences in body length statistics were evident when both nations operated in the same area. Significantly, the frequency of LSFs and very large females in the Japanese catch markedly declined after the IWC's International Observer Scheme in 1972 made illegal whaling more difficult. We conclude that the Japanese length data reflect systematic falsification of catch statistics submitted to the IWC, with serious implications for the reliability of data used in current population assessments. The apparent ease with which catch data were falsified in the past underscores the necessity of transparent and independent inspection procedures in any future commercial whaling. PMID:26587276

  7. Click rates and silences of sperm whales at Kaikoura, New Zealand

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Douglas, Lesley A.; Dawson, Stephen M.; Jaquet, Nathalie

    2005-07-01

    Analysis of the usual click rates of sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) at Kaikoura, New Zealand, confirms the potential for assessing abundance via ``click counting.'' Usual click rates over three dive cycles each of three photographically identified whales showed that 5 min averages of usual click rate did not differ significantly within dives, among dives of the same whale or among whales. Over the nine dives (n=13 728 clicks) mean usual click rate was 1.272 clicks s-1 (95% CI=0.151). On average, individual sperm whales at Kaikoura spent 60% of their time usual clicking in winter and in summer. There was no evidence that whale identity or stage of the dive recorded affects significantly the percentage of time spent usual clicking. Differences in vocal behavior among sperm whale populations worldwide indicate that estimates of abundance that are based on click rates need to based on data from the population of interest, rather than from another population or some global average.

  8. Click rates and silences of sperm whales at Kaikoura, New Zealand.

    PubMed

    Douglas, Lesley A; Dawson, Stephen M; Jaquet, Nathalie

    2005-07-01

    Analysis of the usual click rates of sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) at Kaikoura, New Zealand, confirms the potential for assessing abundance via "click counting." Usual click rates over three dive cycles each of three photographically identified whales showed that 5 min averages of usual click rate did not differ significantly within dives, among dives of the same whale or among whales. Over the nine dives (n= 13 728 clicks) mean usual click rate was 1.272 clicks s(-1) (95% CI= 0.151). On average, individual sperm whales at Kaikoura spent 60% of their time usual clicking in winter and in summer. There was no evidence that whale identity or stage of the dive recorded affects significantly the percentage of time spent usual clicking. Differences in vocal behavior among sperm whale populations worldwide indicate that estimates of abundance that are based on click rates need to based on data from the population of interest, rather than from another population or some global average.

  9. Are solar activity and sperm whale Physeter macrocephalus strandings around the North Sea related?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vanselow, Klaus Heinrich; Ricklefs, Klaus

    2005-04-01

    In the final decades of the last century, an increasing number of strandings of male sperm whales ( Physeter macrocephalus) around the North Sea led to an increase in public interest. Anthropogenic influences (such as contaminants or intensive sound disturbances) are supposed to be the main causes, but natural environmental effects may also explain the disorientation of the animals. We compared the documented sperm whale strandings in the period from 1712 to 2003 with solar activity, especially with sun spot number periodicity and found that 90% of 97 sperm whale stranding events around the North Sea took place when the smoothed sun spot period length was below the mean value of 11 years, while only 10% happened during periods of longer sun spot cycles. The relation becomes even more pronounced (94% to 6%, n = 70) if a smaller time window from November to March is used (which seems to be the main southward migration period of male sperm whales). Adequate chi-square tests of the data give a significance of 1% error probability that sperm whale strandings can depend on solar activity. As an alternative explanation, we suggest that variations of the earth's magnetic field, due to variable energy fluxes from the sun to the earth, may cause a temporary disorientation of migrating animals.

  10. Electrostatic stabilization in sperm whale and harbor seal myoglobins

    SciTech Connect

    Gurd, F.R.N.; Friend, S.H.; Rothgeb, T.M.; Gurd, R.S.; Scouloudi, H.

    1980-10-01

    The compact, largely helical structure of sperm whale and harbor seal myoglobins undergoes an abrupt one-step transition between pH 4.5 and 3.5 as monitored by changes in either the heme Soret band absorbance or circular dichroism probes of secondary structure, for which a modified Tanford-Kirkwood theory provides identification of certain dominant electrostatic interactions responsible for the loss of stability. A similar treatment permits identification of the electrostatic interactions primarily responsible for a process in which the anchoring of the A helix to other parts of the molecule is weakened. This process is detected with both myoglobins, in a pH range approx. 1 unit higher than the onset of the overall unfolding process, through changes in the circular dichroic spectra near 295 nm which correspond to the L/sub a/O-O band of the only two tryptophan residues in these proteins, residues 7 and 14. In each case protonation of certain sites in neighboring parts of the molecule can be identified as producing destabilizing interactions with components of the A helix, particularly with lysine 16.

  11. Near-real-time acoustic monitoring of beaked whales and other cetaceans using a Seaglider™.

    PubMed

    Klinck, Holger; Mellinger, David K; Klinck, Karolin; Bogue, Neil M; Luby, James C; Jump, William A; Shilling, Geoffrey B; Litchendorf, Trina; Wood, Angela S; Schorr, Gregory S; Baird, Robin W

    2012-01-01

    In most areas, estimating the presence and distribution of cryptic marine mammal species, such as beaked whales, is extremely difficult using traditional observational techniques such as ship-based visual line transect surveys. Because acoustic methods permit detection of animals underwater, at night, and in poor weather conditions, passive acoustic observation has been used increasingly often over the last decade to study marine mammal distribution, abundance, and movements, as well as for mitigation of potentially harmful anthropogenic effects. However, there is demand for new, cost-effective tools that allow scientists to monitor areas of interest autonomously with high temporal and spatial resolution in near-real time. Here we describe an autonomous underwater vehicle--a glider--equipped with an acoustic sensor and onboard data processing capabilities to passively scan an area for marine mammals in near-real time. The glider was tested extensively off the west coast of the Island of Hawai'i, USA. The instrument covered approximately 390 km during three weeks at sea and collected a total of 194 h of acoustic data. Detections of beaked whales were successfully reported to shore in near-real time. Manual analysis of the recorded data revealed a high number of vocalizations of delphinids and sperm whales. Furthermore, the glider collected vocalizations of unknown origin very similar to those made by known species of beaked whales. The instrument developed here can be used to cost-effectively screen areas of interest for marine mammals for several months at a time. The near-real-time detection and reporting capabilities of the glider can help to protect marine mammals during potentially harmful anthropogenic activities such as seismic exploration for sub-sea fossil fuels or naval sonar exercises. Furthermore, the glider is capable of under-ice operation, allowing investigation of otherwise inaccessible polar environments that are critical habitats for many

  12. Near-real-time acoustic monitoring of beaked whales and other cetaceans using a Seaglider™.

    PubMed

    Klinck, Holger; Mellinger, David K; Klinck, Karolin; Bogue, Neil M; Luby, James C; Jump, William A; Shilling, Geoffrey B; Litchendorf, Trina; Wood, Angela S; Schorr, Gregory S; Baird, Robin W

    2012-01-01

    In most areas, estimating the presence and distribution of cryptic marine mammal species, such as beaked whales, is extremely difficult using traditional observational techniques such as ship-based visual line transect surveys. Because acoustic methods permit detection of animals underwater, at night, and in poor weather conditions, passive acoustic observation has been used increasingly often over the last decade to study marine mammal distribution, abundance, and movements, as well as for mitigation of potentially harmful anthropogenic effects. However, there is demand for new, cost-effective tools that allow scientists to monitor areas of interest autonomously with high temporal and spatial resolution in near-real time. Here we describe an autonomous underwater vehicle--a glider--equipped with an acoustic sensor and onboard data processing capabilities to passively scan an area for marine mammals in near-real time. The glider was tested extensively off the west coast of the Island of Hawai'i, USA. The instrument covered approximately 390 km during three weeks at sea and collected a total of 194 h of acoustic data. Detections of beaked whales were successfully reported to shore in near-real time. Manual analysis of the recorded data revealed a high number of vocalizations of delphinids and sperm whales. Furthermore, the glider collected vocalizations of unknown origin very similar to those made by known species of beaked whales. The instrument developed here can be used to cost-effectively screen areas of interest for marine mammals for several months at a time. The near-real-time detection and reporting capabilities of the glider can help to protect marine mammals during potentially harmful anthropogenic activities such as seismic exploration for sub-sea fossil fuels or naval sonar exercises. Furthermore, the glider is capable of under-ice operation, allowing investigation of otherwise inaccessible polar environments that are critical habitats for many

  13. Near-Real-Time Acoustic Monitoring of Beaked Whales and Other Cetaceans Using a Seaglider™

    PubMed Central

    Klinck, Holger; Mellinger, David K.; Klinck, Karolin; Bogue, Neil M.; Luby, James C.; Jump, William A.; Shilling, Geoffrey B.; Litchendorf, Trina; Wood, Angela S.; Schorr, Gregory S.; Baird, Robin W.

    2012-01-01

    In most areas, estimating the presence and distribution of cryptic marine mammal species, such as beaked whales, is extremely difficult using traditional observational techniques such as ship-based visual line transect surveys. Because acoustic methods permit detection of animals underwater, at night, and in poor weather conditions, passive acoustic observation has been used increasingly often over the last decade to study marine mammal distribution, abundance, and movements, as well as for mitigation of potentially harmful anthropogenic effects. However, there is demand for new, cost-effective tools that allow scientists to monitor areas of interest autonomously with high temporal and spatial resolution in near-real time. Here we describe an autonomous underwater vehicle – a glider – equipped with an acoustic sensor and onboard data processing capabilities to passively scan an area for marine mammals in near-real time. The glider was tested extensively off the west coast of the Island of Hawai'i, USA. The instrument covered approximately 390 km during three weeks at sea and collected a total of 194 h of acoustic data. Detections of beaked whales were successfully reported to shore in near-real time. Manual analysis of the recorded data revealed a high number of vocalizations of delphinids and sperm whales. Furthermore, the glider collected vocalizations of unknown origin very similar to those made by known species of beaked whales. The instrument developed here can be used to cost-effectively screen areas of interest for marine mammals for several months at a time. The near-real-time detection and reporting capabilities of the glider can help to protect marine mammals during potentially harmful anthropogenic activities such as seismic exploration for sub-sea fossil fuels or naval sonar exercises. Furthermore, the glider is capable of under-ice operation, allowing investigation of otherwise inaccessible polar environments that are critical habitats for many

  14. Passive acoustic detection of deep-diving beaked whales.

    PubMed

    Zimmer, Walter M X; Harwood, John; Tyack, Peter L; Johnson, Mark P; Madsen, Peter T

    2008-11-01

    Beaked whales can remain submerged for an hour or more and are difficult to sight when they come to the surface to breathe. Passive acoustic detection (PAD) not only complements traditional visual-based methods for detecting these species but also can be more effective because beaked whales produce clicks regularly to echolocate on prey during deep foraging dives. The effectiveness of PAD for beaked whales depends not only on the acoustic behavior and output of the animals but also on environmental conditions and the quality of the passive sonar implemented. A primary constraint on the range at which beaked whale clicks can be detected involves their high frequencies, which attenuate rapidly, resulting in limited ranges of detection, especially in adverse environmental conditions. Given current knowledge of source parameters and in good conditions, for example, with a wind speed of 2 ms, a receiver close to the surface should be able to detect acoustically Cuvier's beaked whales with a high probability at distances up to 0.7 km, provided the listening duration exceeds the deep dive interval, about 2.5 h on average. Detection ranges beyond 4 km are unlikely and would require low ambient noise or special sound propagation conditions.

  15. Morphology of the Nasal Apparatus in Pygmy (Kogia Breviceps) and Dwarf (K. Sima) Sperm Whales.

    PubMed

    Thornton, Steven W; Mclellan, William A; Rommel, Sentiel A; Dillaman, Richard M; Nowacek, Douglas P; Koopman, Heather N; Pabst, D Ann

    2015-07-01

    Odontocete echolocation clicks are generated by pneumatically driven phonic lips within the nasal passage, and propagated through specialized structures within the forehead. This study investigated the highly derived echolocation structures of the pygmy (Kogia breviceps) and dwarf (K. sima) sperm whales through careful dissections (N = 18 K. breviceps, 6 K. sima) and histological examinations (N = 5 K. breviceps). This study is the first to show that the entire kogiid sound production and transmission pathway is acted upon by complex facial muscles (likely derivations of the m. maxillonasolabialis). Muscles appear capable of tensing and separating the solitary pair of phonic lips, which would control echolocation click frequencies. The phonic lips are enveloped by the "vocal cap," a morphologically complex, connective tissue structure unique to kogiids. Extensive facial muscles appear to control the position of this structure and its spatial relationship to the phonic lips. The vocal cap's numerous air crypts suggest that it may reflect sounds. Muscles encircling the connective tissue case that surrounds the spermaceti organ may change its shape and/or internal pressure. These actions may influence the acoustic energy transmitted from the phonic lips, through this lipid body, to the melon. Facial and rostral muscles act upon the length of the melon, suggesting that the sound "beam" can be focused as it travels through the melon and into the environment. This study suggests that the kogiid echolocation system is highly tunable. Future acoustic studies are required to test these hypotheses and gain further insight into the kogiid echolocation system.

  16. Endoparasite survey of free-swimming baleen whales (Balaenoptera musculus, B. physalus, B. borealis) and sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) using non/minimally invasive methods.

    PubMed

    Hermosilla, Carlos; Silva, Liliana M R; Kleinertz, Sonja; Prieto, Rui; Silva, Monica A; Taubert, Anja

    2016-02-01

    A number of parasitic diseases have gained importance as neozoan opportunistic infections in the marine environment. Here, we report on the gastrointestinal endoparasite fauna of three baleen whale species and one toothed whale: blue (Balaenoptera musculus), fin (Balaenoptera physalus), and sei whales (Balaenoptera borealis) and sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) from the Azores Islands, Portugal. In total, 17 individual whale fecal samples [n = 10 (B. physalus); n = 4 (P. macrocephalus); n = 2 (B. musculus); n = 1 (B. borealis)] were collected from free-swimming animals as part of ongoing studies on behavioral ecology. Furthermore, skin biopsies were collected from sperm whales (n = 5) using minimally invasive biopsy darting and tested for the presence of Toxoplasma gondii, Neospora caninum, and Besnoitia besnoiti DNA via PCR. Overall, more than ten taxa were detected in whale fecal samples. Within protozoan parasites, Entamoeba spp. occurred most frequently (64.7%), followed by Giardia spp. (17.6%) and Balantidium spp. (5.9%). The most prevalent metazoan parasites were Ascaridida indet. spp. (41.2%), followed by trematodes (17.7%), acanthocephalan spp., strongyles (11.8%), Diphyllobotrium spp. (5.9%), and spirurids (5.9%). Helminths were mainly found in sperm whales, while enteric protozoan parasites were exclusively detected in baleen whales, which might be related to dietary differences. No T. gondii, N. caninum, or B. besnoiti DNA was detected in any skin sample. This is the first record on Giardia and Balantidium infections in large baleen whales.

  17. Using at-sea experiments to study the effects of airguns on the foraging behavior of sperm whales in the Gulf of Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Miller, P. J. O.; Johnson, M. P.; Madsen, P. T.; Biassoni, N.; Quero, M.; Tyack, P. L.

    2009-07-01

    Acoustic exposure and behavior of 8 sperm whales were recorded with acoustic and movement-recording tags before, during and after 5 separate 1-2 h controlled sound exposures of industry-provided airgun arrays. None of the 8 whales changed behavioral state (7 foraging, 1 resting) following the start of ramp-up at distances of 7-13 km, or full array exposures at 1-13 km. The most closely approached whale rested throughout exposure but started a foraging dive shortly after the airguns ceased, possibly indicating a delay in foraging during exposure. Using visual tracking and dead-reckoning of tagged animals, we found that their direction-of-movement was random with respect to the airguns, but correlated with their direction-of-movement just prior to the start of exposure, indicating that the tested whales did not show horizontal avoidance of the airguns. Oscillations in pitch generated by swimming movements during foraging dives were on average 6% lower during exposure than during the immediately following post-exposure period, with all 7 foraging whales exhibiting less pitching ( p=0.014). Buzz rates, a proxy for attempts to capture prey, were 19% lower during exposure but given natural variation in buzz rates and the small numbers of whales, this effect was not statistically significant ( P=0.141). Though additional studies are strongly recommended, these initial results indicate that sperm whales in the highly exposed Gulf of Mexico habitat do not exhibit avoidance reactions to airguns, but suggest they are affected at ranges well beyond those currently regulated due to more subtle effects on their foraging behavior.

  18. Measuring body length of male sperm whales from their clicks: the relationship between inter-pulse intervals and photogrammetrically measured lengths.

    PubMed

    Growcott, Abraham; Miller, Brian; Sirguey, Pascal; Slooten, Elisabeth; Dawson, Stephen

    2011-07-01

    Sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) emit short, broadband clicks which often include multiple pulses. The time interval between these pulses [inter-pulse interval (IPI)] represents the two-way time for a pulse to travel between the air sacs located at either end of the sperm whale's head. The IPI therefore, is a proxy of head length which, using an allometric relationship, can be used to estimate total body length. Previous studies relating IPI to an independent measure of length have relied on very small sample sizes and manual techniques for measuring IPI. Sound recordings and digital stereo photogrammetric measurements of 21 individuals were made off Kaikoura, New Zealand, and, in addition, archived recordings of whales measured with a previous photogrammetric system were reanalyzed to obtain a total sample size of 33 individuals. IPIs were measured automatically via cepstral analysis implemented via a software plug-in for pamguard, an open-source software package for passive acoustic monitoring. IPI measurements were highly consistent within individuals (mean CV=0.63%). The new regression relationship relating IPI (I) and total length (T) was found to be T=1.258I+5.736 (r(2)=0.77, p<0.001). This new regression provides a better fit than previous studies of large (> 11 m) sperm whales.

  19. A global assessment of chromium pollution using sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) as an indicator species.

    PubMed

    Wise, John Pierce; Payne, Roger; Wise, Sandra S; LaCerte, Carolyne; Wise, James; Gianios, Christy; Thompson, W Douglas; Perkins, Christopher; Zheng, Tongzhang; Zhu, Cairong; Benedict, Lucille; Kerr, Iain

    2009-06-01

    Chromium (Cr) is a well-known human carcinogen and a potential reproductive toxicant, but its contribution to ocean pollution is poorly understood. The aim of this study was to provide a global baseline for Cr as a marine pollutant using the sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) as an indicator species. Biopsies were collected from free-ranging whales around the globe during the voyage of the research vessel The Odyssey. Total Cr levels were measured in 361 sperm whales collected from 16 regions around the globe detectable levels ranged from 0.9 to 122.6 microg Cr g tissue(-1) with a global mean of 8.8+/-0.9 microg g(-1). Two whales had undetectable levels. The highest levels were found in sperm whales sampled in the waters near the Islands of Kiribati in the Pacific (mean=44.3+/-14.4) and the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean (mean=19.5+/-5.4 microg g(-1)). The lowest mean levels were found in whales near the Canary Islands (mean=3.7+/-0.8 microg g(-1)) and off of the coast of Sri Lanka (mean=3.3+/-0.4 microg g(-1)). The global mean Cr level in whale skin was 28-times higher than mean Cr skin levels in humans without occupational exposure. The whale levels were more similar to levels only observed previously in human lung tissue from workers who died of Cr-induced lung cancer. We conclude that Cr pollution in the marine environment is significant and that further study is urgently needed.

  20. Seasonal occurrence of sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) around Kelvin Seamount in the Sargasso Sea in relation to oceanographic processes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wong, Sarah N. P.; Whitehead, Hal

    2014-09-01

    Sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) are widely distributed in all oceans, but they are clumped geographically, generally in areas associated with high primary and secondary productivity. The warm, clear waters of the Sargasso Sea are traditionally thought to be low in productivity, however recent surveys have found large numbers of sperm whales there. The New England Seamount Chain bisects the north-western portion of the Sargasso Sea, and might influence the mesoscale eddies associated with the Gulf Stream; creating areas of higher productivity within the Sargasso Sea. We investigated the seasonal occurrence of sperm whales over Kelvin Seamount (part of the New England Seamount Chain) and how it is influenced by oceanographic variables. An autonomous recording device was deployed over Kelvin Seamount from May to June 2006 and November 2006 to June 2007. A total of 6505 hourly two-minute recordings were examined for the presence of sperm whale echolocation clicks. Sperm whales were more prevalent around Kelvin in the spring (April to June: mean=51% of recordings contained clicks) compared to the winter (November to March: mean=16% of recordings contained clicks). Sperm whale prevalence at Kelvin was related to chlorophyll-a concentration four weeks previous, eddy kinetic energy and month. The mesoscale activity associated with the Gulf Stream and the Gulf Stream's interaction with the New England Seamount Chain likely play an important role in sperm whale occurrence in this area, by increasing productivity and perhaps concentration of cephalopod species.

  1. Acoustically invisible feeding blue whales in Northern Icelandic waters.

    PubMed

    Akamatsu, Tomonari; Rasmussen, Marianne Helene; Iversen, Maria

    2014-08-01

    Fixed passive acoustic monitoring can be used for long-term recording of vocalizing cetaceans. Both presence monitoring and animal density estimation requires the call rates and sound source levels of vocalizations produced by single animals. In this study, blue whale calls were recorded using acoustic bio-logging systems in Skjálfandi Bay off Húsavík, Northeast Iceland, in June 2012. An accelerometer was attached to individual whales to monitor diving behavior. During 21 h recording two individuals, 8 h 45 min and 13 h 2 min, respectively, 105 and 104 lunge feeding events and four calls were recorded. All recorded calls were down-sweep calls ranging from 105 to 48 Hz. The sound duration was 1-2 s. The source level was estimated to be between 158 and 169 dB re 1μPa rms, assuming spherical sound propagation from the possible sound source location to the tag. The observed sound production rates and source levels of individual blue whales during feeding were extremely small compared with those observed previously in breeding grounds. The feeding whales were nearly acoustically invisible. The function of calls during feeding remains unknown. PMID:25096128

  2. Acoustically invisible feeding blue whales in Northern Icelandic waters.

    PubMed

    Akamatsu, Tomonari; Rasmussen, Marianne Helene; Iversen, Maria

    2014-08-01

    Fixed passive acoustic monitoring can be used for long-term recording of vocalizing cetaceans. Both presence monitoring and animal density estimation requires the call rates and sound source levels of vocalizations produced by single animals. In this study, blue whale calls were recorded using acoustic bio-logging systems in Skjálfandi Bay off Húsavík, Northeast Iceland, in June 2012. An accelerometer was attached to individual whales to monitor diving behavior. During 21 h recording two individuals, 8 h 45 min and 13 h 2 min, respectively, 105 and 104 lunge feeding events and four calls were recorded. All recorded calls were down-sweep calls ranging from 105 to 48 Hz. The sound duration was 1-2 s. The source level was estimated to be between 158 and 169 dB re 1μPa rms, assuming spherical sound propagation from the possible sound source location to the tag. The observed sound production rates and source levels of individual blue whales during feeding were extremely small compared with those observed previously in breeding grounds. The feeding whales were nearly acoustically invisible. The function of calls during feeding remains unknown.

  3. Localization of sperm whales in a group using clicks received at two separated short baseline arrays.

    PubMed

    Hirotsu, Ryo; Yanagisawa, Masao; Ura, Tamaki; Sakata, Masao; Sugimatsu, Harumi; Kojima, Junichi; Bahl, Rajendar

    2010-01-01

    In this paper, a sperm whale click analysis scheme is proposed in order to calculate the position of individual sperm whales in a group using data received at two arrays deployed near the surface. The proposed method mainly consists of two parts: short baseline (SBL) with classification and long baseline (LBL) with class matching. In SBL with classification, a click is automatically detected, and its direction of arrival is calculated. The clicks are then classified based on their direction vectors. The class data are then sent together with direction data and matched to the other array's class data. LBL with class matching is used for localization. The classification algorithm can be used to estimate the number of whales clicking and to list potential candidates for LBL matching. As a result, the proposed method is able to localize the positions of the whales in a group. The performance of the proposed method is evaluated using data recorded off Ogasawara islands with two arrays near the surface. The three-dimensional underwater trajectories of six sperm whales are extracted to demonstrate the capability of the proposed method.

  4. Long-term and large-scale epidemiology of Brucella infection in baleen whales and sperm whales in the western North Pacific and Antarctic Oceans

    PubMed Central

    OHISHI, Kazue; BANDO, Takeharu; ABE, Erika; KAWAI, Yasushi; FUJISE, Yoshihiro; MARUYAMA, Tadashi

    2016-01-01

    In a long-term, large-scale serologic study in the western North Pacific Ocean, anti-Brucella antibodies were detected in common minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) in the 1994–2010 offshore surveys (21%, 285/1353) and in the 2006–2010 Japanese coastal surveys (20%, 86/436), in Bryde’s whales (B. edeni brydei) in the 2000–2010 offshore surveys (9%, 49/542), in sei whales (B. borealis) in the 2002–2010 offshore surveys (5%, 40/788) and in sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) in the 2000–2010 offshore surveys (8%, 4/50). Anti-Brucella antibodies were not detected in 739 Antarctic minke whales (B. bonaerensis) in the 2000–2010 Antarctic surveys. This suggests that Brucella was present in the four large whale populations inhabiting the western North Pacific, but not in the Antarctic minke whale population. By PCR targeting for genes of outer membrane protein 2, the Brucella infection was confirmed in tissue DNA samples from Bryde’s whales (14%, 2/14), sei whales (11%, 1/9) and sperm whales (50%, 2/4). A placental tissue and an apparently healthy fetus from a sperm whale were found to be PCR-positive, indicating that placental transmission might have occurred and the newborn could act as a bacterial reservoir. Marked granulomatous testes were observed only in mature animals of the three species of baleen whales in the western North Pacific offshore surveys, especially in common minke whales, and 29% (307/1064) of total mature males had abnormal testes. This study provides an insight into the status of marine Brucella infection at a global level. PMID:27320816

  5. The genotoxicity of particulate and soluble chromate in sperm whale (physeter macrocephalus) skin fibroblasts.

    PubMed

    Wise, John Pierce; Wise, Sandra S; LaCerte, Carolyne; Wise, John Pierce; Aboueissa, AbouEl-Makarim

    2011-01-01

    Hexavalent chromium is a marine pollutant of concern, both for the health of ocean ecosystems and for public health. Hexavalent chromium is known to induce genotoxicity in human and other terrestrial mammals. It is also known to be present in both water and air in the marine environment. However, currently there are limited data concerning both chromium levels and its toxicological effects in marine mammals. This study investigated the cytotoxic and genotoxic effects of soluble and particulate hexavalent chromium in sperm whale skin fibroblasts. Both forms of hexavalent chromium induced concentration-dependent increases in cytotoxicity and genotoxicity indicating that these compounds can be a health risk if the whales are exposed to them. These data support a hypothesis that chromium is a concern in the marine environment in general and for the health of sperm whales in particular.

  6. The Genotoxicity of Particulate and Soluble Chromate in Sperm Whale (Physeter macrocephalus) Skin Fibroblasts

    PubMed Central

    Wise, John Pierce; Wise, Sandra S.; LaCerte, Carolyne; Wise, John Pierce; Aboueissa, AbouEl-Makarim

    2016-01-01

    Hexavalent chromium is a marine pollutant of concern, both for the health of ocean ecosystems and for public health. Hexavalent chromium is known to induce genotoxicity in human and other terrestrial mammals. It is also known to be present in both water and air in the marine environment. However, currently there are limited data concerning both chromium levels and its toxicological effects in marine mammals. This study investigated the cytotoxic and genotoxic effects of soluble and particulate hexavalent chromium in sperm whale skin fibroblasts. Both forms of hexavalent chromium induced concentration-dependent increases in cytotoxicity and genotoxicity indicating that these compounds can be a health risk if the whales are exposed to them. These data support a hypothesis that chromium is a concern in the marine environment in general and for the health of sperm whales in particular. PMID:20839228

  7. The giant bite of a new raptorial sperm whale from the Miocene epoch of Peru.

    PubMed

    Lambert, Olivier; Bianucci, Giovanni; Post, Klaas; de Muizon, Christian; Salas-Gismondi, Rodolfo; Urbina, Mario; Reumer, Jelle

    2010-07-01

    The modern giant sperm whale Physeter macrocephalus, one of the largest known predators, preys upon cephalopods at great depths. Lacking a functional upper dentition, it relies on suction for catching its prey; in contrast, several smaller Miocene sperm whales (Physeteroidea) have been interpreted as raptorial (versus suction) feeders, analogous to the modern killer whale Orcinus orca. Whereas very large physeteroid teeth have been discovered in various Miocene localities, associated diagnostic cranial remains have not been found so far. Here we report the discovery of a new giant sperm whale from the Middle Miocene of Peru (approximately 12-13 million years ago), Leviathan melvillei, described on the basis of a skull with teeth and mandible. With a 3-m-long head, very large upper and lower teeth (maximum diameter and length of 12 cm and greater than 36 cm, respectively), robust jaws and a temporal fossa considerably larger than in Physeter, this stem physeteroid represents one of the largest raptorial predators and, to our knowledge, the biggest tetrapod bite ever found. The appearance of gigantic raptorial sperm whales in the fossil record coincides with a phase of diversification and size-range increase of the baleen-bearing mysticetes in the Miocene. We propose that Leviathan fed mostly on high-energy content medium-size baleen whales. As a top predator, together with the contemporaneous giant shark Carcharocles megalodon, it probably had a profound impact on the structuring of Miocene marine communities. The development of a vast supracranial basin in Leviathan, extending on the rostrum as in Physeter, might indicate the presence of an enlarged spermaceti organ in the former that is not associated with deep diving or obligatory suction feeding.

  8. The function of male sperm whale slow clicks in a high latitude habitat: communication, echolocation, or prey debilitation?

    PubMed

    Oliveira, Cláudia; Wahlberg, Magnus; Johnson, Mark; Miller, Patrick J O; Madsen, Peter T

    2013-05-01

    Sperm whales produce different click types for echolocation and communication. Usual clicks and buzzes appear to be used primarily in foraging while codas are thought to function in social communication. The function of slow clicks is less clear, but they appear to be produced by males at higher latitudes, where they primarily forage solitarily, and on the breeding grounds, where they roam between groups of females. Here the behavioral context in which these vocalizations are produced and the function they may serve was investigated. Ninety-nine hours of acoustic and diving data were analyzed from sound recording tags on six male sperm whales in Northern Norway. The 755 slow clicks detected were produced by tagged animals at the surface (52%), ascending from a dive (37%), and during the bottom phase (11%), but never during the descent. Slow clicks were not associated with the production of buzzes, other echolocation clicks, or fast maneuvering that would indicate foraging. Some slow clicks were emitted in seemingly repetitive temporal patterns supporting the hypothesis that the function for slow clicks on the feeding grounds is long range communication between males, possibly relaying information about individual identity or behavioral states.

  9. Evidence for acoustic communication among bottom foraging humpback whales.

    PubMed

    Parks, Susan E; Cusano, Dana A; Stimpert, Alison K; Weinrich, Mason T; Friedlaender, Ari S; Wiley, David N

    2014-12-16

    Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), a mysticete with a cosmopolitan distribution, demonstrate marked behavioural plasticity. Recent studies show evidence of social learning in the transmission of specific population level traits ranging from complex singing to stereotyped prey capturing behaviour. Humpback whales have been observed to employ group foraging techniques, however details on how individuals coordinate behaviour in these groups is challenging to obtain. This study investigates the role of a novel broadband patterned pulsed sound produced by humpback whales engaged in bottom-feeding behaviours, referred to here as a 'paired burst' sound. Data collected from 56 archival acoustic tag deployments were investigated to determine the functional significance of these signals. Paired burst sound production was associated exclusively with bottom feeding under low-light conditions, predominantly with evidence of associated conspecifics nearby suggesting that the sound likely serves either as a communicative signal to conspecifics, a signal to affect prey behaviour, or possibly both. This study provides additional evidence for individual variation and phenotypic plasticity of foraging behaviours in humpback whales and provides important evidence for the use of acoustic signals among foraging individuals in this species.

  10. Evidence for acoustic communication among bottom foraging humpback whales.

    PubMed

    Parks, Susan E; Cusano, Dana A; Stimpert, Alison K; Weinrich, Mason T; Friedlaender, Ari S; Wiley, David N

    2014-01-01

    Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), a mysticete with a cosmopolitan distribution, demonstrate marked behavioural plasticity. Recent studies show evidence of social learning in the transmission of specific population level traits ranging from complex singing to stereotyped prey capturing behaviour. Humpback whales have been observed to employ group foraging techniques, however details on how individuals coordinate behaviour in these groups is challenging to obtain. This study investigates the role of a novel broadband patterned pulsed sound produced by humpback whales engaged in bottom-feeding behaviours, referred to here as a 'paired burst' sound. Data collected from 56 archival acoustic tag deployments were investigated to determine the functional significance of these signals. Paired burst sound production was associated exclusively with bottom feeding under low-light conditions, predominantly with evidence of associated conspecifics nearby suggesting that the sound likely serves either as a communicative signal to conspecifics, a signal to affect prey behaviour, or possibly both. This study provides additional evidence for individual variation and phenotypic plasticity of foraging behaviours in humpback whales and provides important evidence for the use of acoustic signals among foraging individuals in this species. PMID:25512188

  11. Evidence for acoustic communication among bottom foraging humpback whales

    PubMed Central

    Parks, Susan E.; Cusano, Dana A.; Stimpert, Alison K.; Weinrich, Mason T.; Friedlaender, Ari S.; Wiley, David N.

    2014-01-01

    Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), a mysticete with a cosmopolitan distribution, demonstrate marked behavioural plasticity. Recent studies show evidence of social learning in the transmission of specific population level traits ranging from complex singing to stereotyped prey capturing behaviour. Humpback whales have been observed to employ group foraging techniques, however details on how individuals coordinate behaviour in these groups is challenging to obtain. This study investigates the role of a novel broadband patterned pulsed sound produced by humpback whales engaged in bottom-feeding behaviours, referred to here as a ‘paired burst' sound. Data collected from 56 archival acoustic tag deployments were investigated to determine the functional significance of these signals. Paired burst sound production was associated exclusively with bottom feeding under low-light conditions, predominantly with evidence of associated conspecifics nearby suggesting that the sound likely serves either as a communicative signal to conspecifics, a signal to affect prey behaviour, or possibly both. This study provides additional evidence for individual variation and phenotypic plasticity of foraging behaviours in humpback whales and provides important evidence for the use of acoustic signals among foraging individuals in this species. PMID:25512188

  12. Morphology of the Nasal Apparatus in Pygmy (Kogia Breviceps) and Dwarf (K. Sima) Sperm Whales.

    PubMed

    Thornton, Steven W; Mclellan, William A; Rommel, Sentiel A; Dillaman, Richard M; Nowacek, Douglas P; Koopman, Heather N; Pabst, D Ann

    2015-07-01

    Odontocete echolocation clicks are generated by pneumatically driven phonic lips within the nasal passage, and propagated through specialized structures within the forehead. This study investigated the highly derived echolocation structures of the pygmy (Kogia breviceps) and dwarf (K. sima) sperm whales through careful dissections (N = 18 K. breviceps, 6 K. sima) and histological examinations (N = 5 K. breviceps). This study is the first to show that the entire kogiid sound production and transmission pathway is acted upon by complex facial muscles (likely derivations of the m. maxillonasolabialis). Muscles appear capable of tensing and separating the solitary pair of phonic lips, which would control echolocation click frequencies. The phonic lips are enveloped by the "vocal cap," a morphologically complex, connective tissue structure unique to kogiids. Extensive facial muscles appear to control the position of this structure and its spatial relationship to the phonic lips. The vocal cap's numerous air crypts suggest that it may reflect sounds. Muscles encircling the connective tissue case that surrounds the spermaceti organ may change its shape and/or internal pressure. These actions may influence the acoustic energy transmitted from the phonic lips, through this lipid body, to the melon. Facial and rostral muscles act upon the length of the melon, suggesting that the sound "beam" can be focused as it travels through the melon and into the environment. This study suggests that the kogiid echolocation system is highly tunable. Future acoustic studies are required to test these hypotheses and gain further insight into the kogiid echolocation system. PMID:25931415

  13. Three-dimensional beam pattern of regular sperm whale clicks confirms bent-horn hypothesis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zimmer, Walter M. X.; Tyack, Peter L.; Johnson, Mark P.; Madsen, Peter T.

    2005-03-01

    The three-dimensional beam pattern of a sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) tagged in the Ligurian Sea was derived using data on regular clicks from the tag and from hydrophones towed behind a ship circling the tagged whale. The tag defined the orientation of the whale, while sightings and beamformer data were used to locate the whale with respect to the ship. The existence of a narrow, forward-directed P1 beam with source levels exceeding 210 dBpeak re: 1 μPa at 1 m is confirmed. A modeled forward-beam pattern, that matches clicks >20° off-axis, predicts a directivity index of 26.7 dB and source levels of up to 229 dBpeak re: 1 μPa at 1 m. A broader backward-directed beam is produced by the P0 pulse with source levels near 200 dBpeak re: 1 μPa at 1 m and a directivity index of 7.4 dB. A low-frequency component with source levels near 190 dBpeak re: 1 μPa at 1 m is generated at the onset of the P0 pulse by air resonance. The results support the bent-horn model of sound production in sperm whales. While the sperm whale nose appears primarily adapted to produce an intense forward-directed sonar signal, less-directional click components convey information to conspecifics, and give rise to echoes from the seafloor and the surface, which may be useful for orientation during dives..

  14. Three-dimensional beam pattern of regular sperm whale clicks confirms bent-horn hypothesis.

    PubMed

    Zimmer, Walter M X; Tyack, Peter L; Johnson, Mark P; Madsen, Peter T

    2005-03-01

    The three-dimensional beam pattern of a sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) tagged in the Ligurian Sea was derived using data on regular clicks from the tag and from hydrophones towed behind a ship circling the tagged whale. The tag defined the orientation of the whale, while sightings and beamformer data were used to locate the whale with respect to the ship. The existence of a narrow, forward-directed P1 beam with source levels exceeding 210 dBpeak re: 1 microPa at 1 m is confirmed. A modeled forward-beam pattern, that matches clicks >20 degrees off-axis, predicts a directivity index of 26.7 dB and source levels of up to 229 dBpeak re: 1 microPa at 1 m. A broader backward-directed beam is produced by the P0 pulse with source levels near 200 dBpeak re: 1 microPa at 1 m and a directivity index of 7.4 dB. A low-frequency component with source levels near 190 dBpeak re: 1 microPa at 1 m is generated at the onset of the P0 pulse by air resonance. The results support the bent-horn model of sound production in sperm whales. While the sperm whale nose appears primarily adapted to produce an intense forward-directed sonar signal, less-directional click components convey information to conspecifics, and give rise to echoes from the seafloor and the surface, which may be useful for orientation during dives.

  15. Passive acoustic monitoring of Cook Inlet beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas).

    PubMed

    Lammers, Marc O; Castellote, Manuel; Small, Robert J; Atkinson, Shannon; Jenniges, Justin; Rosinski, Anne; Oswald, Julie N; Garner, Chris

    2013-09-01

    The endangered beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas) population in Cook Inlet, AK faces threats from a variety of anthropogenic factors, including coastal development, oil and gas exploration, vessel traffic, and military activities. To address existing gaps in understanding about the occurrence of belugas in Cook Inlet, a project was developed to use passive acoustic monitoring to document the year-round distribution of belugas, as well as killer whales (Orcinus orca), which prey on belugas. Beginning in June 2009, ten moorings were deployed throughout the Inlet and refurbished every two to eight months. Despite challenging conditions consisting of strong tidal currents carrying debris and seasonal ice cover, 83% of mooring deployments were successfully recovered. Noise from water flow, vessel traffic, and/or industrial activities was present at several sites, potentially masking some signals. However, belugas were successfully detected at multiple locations. Detections were relatively common in the upper inlet and less common or absent at middle and lower inlet locations. Killer whale signals were also recorded. Some seasonal variability in the occurrence of both belugas and killer whales was evident.

  16. Passive acoustic monitoring of Cook Inlet beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas).

    PubMed

    Lammers, Marc O; Castellote, Manuel; Small, Robert J; Atkinson, Shannon; Jenniges, Justin; Rosinski, Anne; Oswald, Julie N; Garner, Chris

    2013-09-01

    The endangered beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas) population in Cook Inlet, AK faces threats from a variety of anthropogenic factors, including coastal development, oil and gas exploration, vessel traffic, and military activities. To address existing gaps in understanding about the occurrence of belugas in Cook Inlet, a project was developed to use passive acoustic monitoring to document the year-round distribution of belugas, as well as killer whales (Orcinus orca), which prey on belugas. Beginning in June 2009, ten moorings were deployed throughout the Inlet and refurbished every two to eight months. Despite challenging conditions consisting of strong tidal currents carrying debris and seasonal ice cover, 83% of mooring deployments were successfully recovered. Noise from water flow, vessel traffic, and/or industrial activities was present at several sites, potentially masking some signals. However, belugas were successfully detected at multiple locations. Detections were relatively common in the upper inlet and less common or absent at middle and lower inlet locations. Killer whale signals were also recorded. Some seasonal variability in the occurrence of both belugas and killer whales was evident. PMID:23968047

  17. In vitro sperm characterization and development of a sperm cryopreservation method using directional solidification in the killer whale (Orcinus orca).

    PubMed

    Robeck, T R; Gearhart, S A; Steinman, K J; Katsumata, E; Loureiro, J D; O'Brien, J K

    2011-07-15

    Research was conducted to characterize seminal traits and to develop a sperm cryopreservation method using directional freezing (DF) for the killer whale (Orcinus orca). Experiments evaluated effects of: (i) freezing rate (SLOW, MED, FAST) by diluent (BF5F, Biladyl®, EYC) in 0.5 mL straws; and (ii) freezing method (straw or DF) by glycerol (3, 6, or 9% final concentration, v:v) on in vitro sperm quality. Fresh ejaculates (n = 161) were (mean ± SD) 7.8 ± 7.4 mL at 740 × 10(6) sperm/mL with 92.2 ± 6.3% total motility (TM), 85.4 ± 6.9% progressive motility (PM), 89.6 ± 9.0% viability and 89.8 ± 9.2% acrosome integrity. Samples frozen using straws by the MED or SLOW method were improved (P < 0.05) over FAST across all diluents. At 3 h post thaw (PT), TM, PM, Rapid motility (RM), VAP, VCL, ALH and viability for 3% and 6% glycerol were improved (P < 0.05) over 9% glycerol. Directional freezing samples at 0 h and 3 h PT, at all glycerol concentrations, displayed higher (P < 0.001) TM, PM, RM, VAP, VSL, VCL and viability /intact acrosomes (PI/FITC-PNA) than straw. These data provided the first information on ejaculate characteristics and the development of a semen cryopreservation method using DF in the killer whale.

  18. Endoparasite survey of free-swimming baleen whales (Balaenoptera musculus, B. physalus, B. borealis) and sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) using non/minimally invasive methods.

    PubMed

    Hermosilla, Carlos; Silva, Liliana M R; Kleinertz, Sonja; Prieto, Rui; Silva, Monica A; Taubert, Anja

    2016-02-01

    A number of parasitic diseases have gained importance as neozoan opportunistic infections in the marine environment. Here, we report on the gastrointestinal endoparasite fauna of three baleen whale species and one toothed whale: blue (Balaenoptera musculus), fin (Balaenoptera physalus), and sei whales (Balaenoptera borealis) and sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) from the Azores Islands, Portugal. In total, 17 individual whale fecal samples [n = 10 (B. physalus); n = 4 (P. macrocephalus); n = 2 (B. musculus); n = 1 (B. borealis)] were collected from free-swimming animals as part of ongoing studies on behavioral ecology. Furthermore, skin biopsies were collected from sperm whales (n = 5) using minimally invasive biopsy darting and tested for the presence of Toxoplasma gondii, Neospora caninum, and Besnoitia besnoiti DNA via PCR. Overall, more than ten taxa were detected in whale fecal samples. Within protozoan parasites, Entamoeba spp. occurred most frequently (64.7%), followed by Giardia spp. (17.6%) and Balantidium spp. (5.9%). The most prevalent metazoan parasites were Ascaridida indet. spp. (41.2%), followed by trematodes (17.7%), acanthocephalan spp., strongyles (11.8%), Diphyllobotrium spp. (5.9%), and spirurids (5.9%). Helminths were mainly found in sperm whales, while enteric protozoan parasites were exclusively detected in baleen whales, which might be related to dietary differences. No T. gondii, N. caninum, or B. besnoiti DNA was detected in any skin sample. This is the first record on Giardia and Balantidium infections in large baleen whales. PMID:26593736

  19. What influences the worldwide genetic structure of sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus)?

    PubMed

    Alexander, Alana; Steel, Debbie; Hoekzema, Kendra; Mesnick, Sarah L; Engelhaupt, Daniel; Kerr, Iain; Payne, Roger; Baker, C Scott

    2016-06-01

    The interplay of natural selection and genetic drift, influenced by geographic isolation, mating systems and population size, determines patterns of genetic diversity within species. The sperm whale provides an interesting example of a long-lived species with few geographic barriers to dispersal. Worldwide mtDNA diversity is relatively low, but highly structured among geographic regions and social groups, attributed to female philopatry. However, it is unclear whether this female philopatry is due to geographic regions or social groups, or how this might vary on a worldwide scale. To answer these questions, we combined mtDNA information for 1091 previously published samples with 542 newly obtained DNA profiles (394-bp mtDNA, sex, 13 microsatellites) including the previously unsampled Indian Ocean, and social group information for 541 individuals. We found low mtDNA diversity (π = 0.430%) reflecting an expansion event <80 000 years bp, but strong differentiation by ocean, among regions within some oceans, and among social groups. In comparison, microsatellite differentiation was low at all levels, presumably due to male-mediated gene flow. A hierarchical amova showed that regions were important for explaining mtDNA variance in the Indian Ocean, but not Pacific, with social group sampling in the Atlantic too limited to include in analyses. Social groups were important in partitioning mtDNA and microsatellite variance within both oceans. Therefore, both geographic philopatry and social philopatry influence genetic structure in the sperm whale, but their relative importance differs by sex and ocean, reflecting breeding behaviour, geographic features and perhaps a more recent origin of sperm whales in the Pacific. By investigating the interplay of evolutionary forces operating at different temporal and geographic scales, we show that sperm whales are perhaps a unique example of a worldwide population expansion followed by rapid assortment due to female social

  20. Sarcoplasmic masses in the skeletal muscle of a stranded pigmy sperm whale (Kogia breviceps).

    PubMed

    Sierra, Eva; de los Monteros, Antonio Espinosa; Fernández, Antonio; Arbelo, Manuel; Caballero, María José; Rivero, Miguel; Herráez, Pedro

    2013-07-01

    We measured the abundance of sarcoplasmic masses within skeletal muscle myocytes of an adult female stranded pigmy sperm whale (Kogia breviceps). The presence of these masses in other species has been reported in association with myopathies, including myotonic dystrophy, the most frequently related pathology. Other histopathologic muscle changes included a high number of internal nuclei, variations in fiber size and shape, and the predominance of type I fibers.

  1. What influences the worldwide genetic structure of sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus)?

    PubMed

    Alexander, Alana; Steel, Debbie; Hoekzema, Kendra; Mesnick, Sarah L; Engelhaupt, Daniel; Kerr, Iain; Payne, Roger; Baker, C Scott

    2016-06-01

    The interplay of natural selection and genetic drift, influenced by geographic isolation, mating systems and population size, determines patterns of genetic diversity within species. The sperm whale provides an interesting example of a long-lived species with few geographic barriers to dispersal. Worldwide mtDNA diversity is relatively low, but highly structured among geographic regions and social groups, attributed to female philopatry. However, it is unclear whether this female philopatry is due to geographic regions or social groups, or how this might vary on a worldwide scale. To answer these questions, we combined mtDNA information for 1091 previously published samples with 542 newly obtained DNA profiles (394-bp mtDNA, sex, 13 microsatellites) including the previously unsampled Indian Ocean, and social group information for 541 individuals. We found low mtDNA diversity (π = 0.430%) reflecting an expansion event <80 000 years bp, but strong differentiation by ocean, among regions within some oceans, and among social groups. In comparison, microsatellite differentiation was low at all levels, presumably due to male-mediated gene flow. A hierarchical amova showed that regions were important for explaining mtDNA variance in the Indian Ocean, but not Pacific, with social group sampling in the Atlantic too limited to include in analyses. Social groups were important in partitioning mtDNA and microsatellite variance within both oceans. Therefore, both geographic philopatry and social philopatry influence genetic structure in the sperm whale, but their relative importance differs by sex and ocean, reflecting breeding behaviour, geographic features and perhaps a more recent origin of sperm whales in the Pacific. By investigating the interplay of evolutionary forces operating at different temporal and geographic scales, we show that sperm whales are perhaps a unique example of a worldwide population expansion followed by rapid assortment due to female social

  2. Operational Performance Analysis of Passive Acoustic Monitoring for Killer Whales

    SciTech Connect

    Matzner, Shari; Fu, Tao; Ren, Huiying; Deng, Zhiqun; Sun, Yannan; Carlson, Thomas J.

    2011-09-30

    For the planned tidal turbine site in Puget Sound, WA, the main concern is to protect Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW) due to their Endangered Species Act status. A passive acoustic monitoring system is proposed because the whales emit vocalizations that can be detected by a passive system. The algorithm for detection is implemented in two stages. The first stage is an energy detector designed to detect candidate signals. The second stage is a spectral classifier that is designed to reduce false alarms. The evaluation presented here of the detection algorithm incorporates behavioral models of the species of interest, environmental models of noise levels and potential false alarm sources to provide a realistic characterization of expected operational performance.

  3. Calves as social hubs: dynamics of the social network within sperm whale units.

    PubMed

    Gero, Shane; Gordon, Jonathan; Whitehead, Hal

    2013-07-22

    It is hypothesized that the primary function of permanent social relationships among female sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) is to provide allomothers for calves at the surface while mothers make foraging dives. In order to investigate how reciprocity of allocare within units of sperm whales facilitates group living, we constructed weighted social networks based on yearly matrices of associations (2005-2010) and correlated them across years, through changes in age and social role, to study changes in social relationships within seven sperm whale units. Pairs of association matrices from sequential years showed a greater positive correlation than expected by chance, but as the time lag increased, the correlation coefficients decreased. Over all units considered, calves had high values for all measured network statistics, while mothers had intermediate values for most of the measures, but high values for connectedness and affinity. Mothers showed sharp drops in strength and connectedness in the first year of their new calves' lives. These broad patterns appear to be consistent across units. Calves appeared to be significant nodes in the network of the social unit, and thus provide quantitative support for the theory in which communal care acts as the evolutionary force behind group formation in this species.

  4. Can genetic differences explain vocal dialect variation in sperm whales, Physeter macrocephalus?

    PubMed

    Rendell, Luke; Mesnick, Sarah L; Dalebout, Merel L; Burtenshaw, Jessica; Whitehead, Hal

    2012-03-01

    Sperm whale social groups can be assigned to vocal clans based on their production of codas, short stereotyped patterns of clicks. It is currently unclear whether genetic variation could account for these behavioural differences. We studied mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) variation among sympatric vocal clans in the Pacific Ocean, using sequences extracted from sloughed skin samples. We sampled 194 individuals from 30 social groups belonging to one of three vocal clans. As in previous studies of sperm whales, mtDNA control region diversity was low (π = 0.003), with just 14 haplotypes present in our sample. Both hierarchical AMOVAs and partial Mantel tests showed that vocal clan was a more important factor in matrilineal population genetic structure than geography, even though our sampling spanned thousands of kilometres. The variance component attributed to vocal dialects (7.7%) was an order of magnitude higher than those previously reported in birds, while the variance component attributed to geographic area was negligible. Despite this, the two most common haplotypes were present in significant quantities in each clan, meaning that variation in the control region cannot account for behavioural variation between clans, and instead parallels the situation in humans where parent-offspring transmission of language variation has resulted in correlations with neutral genes. Our results also raise questions for the management of sperm whale populations, which has traditionally been based on dividing populations into geographic 'stocks', suggesting that culturally-defined vocal clans may be more appropriate management units.

  5. Measuring sperm whales from their clicks: Stability of interpulse intervals and validation that they indicate whale length

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rhinelander, Marcus Q.; Dawson, Stephen M.

    2004-04-01

    Multiple pulses can often be distinguished in the clicks of sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus). Norris and Harvey [in Animal Orientation and Navigation, NASA SP-262 (1972), pp. 397-417] proposed that this results from reflections within the head, and thus that interpulse interval (IPI) is an indicator of head length, and by extrapolation, total length. For this idea to hold, IPIs must be stable within individuals, but differ systematically among individuals of different size. IPI stability was examined in photographically identified individuals recorded repeatedly over different dives, days, and years. IPI variation among dives in a single day and days in a single year was statistically significant, although small in magnitude (it would change total length estimates by <3%). As expected, IPIs varied significantly among individuals. Most individuals showed significant increases in IPIs over several years, suggesting growth. Mean total lengths calculated from published IPI regressions were 13.1 to 16.1 m, longer than photogrammetric estimates of the same whales (12.3 to 15.3 m). These discrepancies probably arise from the paucity of large (12-16 m) whales in data used in published regressions. A new regression is offered for this size range.

  6. Measuring sperm whales from their clicks: stability of interpulse intervals and validation that they indicate whale length.

    PubMed

    Rhinelander, Marcus Q; Dawson, Stephen M

    2004-04-01

    Multiple pulses can often be distinguished in the clicks of sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus). Norris and Harvey [in Animal Orientation and Navigation, NASA SP-262 (1972), pp. 397-417] proposed that this results from reflections within the head, and thus that interpulse interval (IPI) is an indicator of head length, and by extrapolation, total length. For this idea to hold, IPIs must be stable within individuals, but differ systematically among individuals of different size. IPI stability was examined in photographically identified individuals recorded repeatedly over different dives, days, and years. IPI variation among dives in a single day and days in a single year was statistically significant, although small in magnitude (it would change total length estimates by <3%). As expected, IPIs varied significantly among individuals. Most individuals showed significant increases in IPIs over several years, suggesting growth. Mean total lengths calculated from published IPI regressions were 13.1 to 16.1 m, longer than photogrammetric estimates of the same whales (12.3 to 15.3 m). These discrepancies probably arise from the paucity of large (12-16 m) whales in data used in published regressions. A new regression is offered for this size range.

  7. Mixed-methods analytic approach for determining potential impacts of vessel noise on sperm whale click behavior.

    PubMed

    Azzara, Alyson J; von Zharen, Wyndylyn M; Newcomb, Joal J

    2013-12-01

    The Gulf of Mexico is a center of marine activities from seismic exploration to shipping, drilling, platform installation, lightering, and construction, among others. This analysis explored whether sperm whales respond to the passage of vessels using changes in total number of clicks during vessel passages as a proxy for potential variation in behavior. The data for this analysis were collected in 2001 as part of a larger Littoral Acoustic Demonstration Center project using the Environmental Acoustics Recording System buoys. These buoys were bottom moored, autonomous, and self-recording systems consisting of an omni-directional hydrophone and instrument package. Data from 36 days of continuous acoustic monitoring were recorded at a sampling rate of 11.725 kHz, and produced reliable recordings from 5 Hz to ∼5.8 kHz. Multiple preparatory steps were executed including calibration of an automatic click detector. Results indicate a significant decrease (32%) in the number of clicks detected as a ship approached an area. There were also significantly fewer clicks detected after the vessel passed than before (23%).

  8. The mitochondrial genome of the sperm whale and a new molecular reference for estimating eutherian divergence dates.

    PubMed

    Arnason, U; Gullberg, A; Gretarsdottir, S; Ursing, B; Janke, A

    2000-06-01

    Extant cetaceans are systematically divided into two suborders: Mysticeti (baleen whales) and Odontoceti (toothed whales). In this study, we have sequenced the complete mitochondrial (mt) genome of an odontocete, the sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus), and included it in phylogenetic analyses together with the previously sequenced complete mtDNAs of two mysticetes (the fin and blue whales) and a number of other mammals, including five artiodactyls (the hippopotamus, cow, sheep, alpaca, and pig). The most strongly supported cetartiodactyl relationship was: outgroup,((pig, alpaca), ((cow, sheep),(hippopotamus,(sperm whale,(baleen whales))))). As in previous analyses of complete mtDNAs, the sister-group relationship between the hippopotamus and the whales received strong support, making both Artiodactyla and Suiformes (pigs, peccaries, and hippopotamuses) paraphyletic. In addition, the analyses identified a sister-group relationship between Suina (the pig) and Tylopoda (the alpaca), although this relationship was not strongly supported. The paleontological records of both mysticetes and odontocetes extend into the Oligocene, suggesting that the mysticete and odontocete lineages diverged 32-34 million years before present (MYBP). Use of this divergence date and the complete mtDNAs of the sperm whale and the two baleen whales allowed the establishment of a new molecular reference, O/M-33, for dating other eutherian divergences. There was a general consistency between O/M-33 and the two previously established eutherian references, A/C-60 and E/R-50. Cetacean (whale) origin, i.e., the divergence between the hippopotamus and the cetaceans, was dated to approximately 55 MYBP, while basal artiodactyl divergences were dated to >/=65 MYBP. Molecular estimates of Tertiary eutherian divergences were consistent with the fossil record.

  9. Stable isotopes provide insight into population structure and segregation in eastern North Atlantic sperm whales.

    PubMed

    Borrell, Asunción; Velásquez Vacca, Adriana; Pinela, Ana M; Kinze, Carl; Lockyer, Christina H; Vighi, Morgana; Aguilar, Alex

    2013-01-01

    In pelagic species inhabiting large oceans, genetic differentiation tends to be mild and populations devoid of structure. However, large cetaceans have provided many examples of structuring. Here we investigate whether the sperm whale, a pelagic species with large population sizes and reputedly highly mobile, shows indication of structuring in the eastern North Atlantic, an ocean basin in which a single population is believed to occur. To do so, we examined stable isotope values in sequential growth layer groups of teeth from individuals sampled in Denmark and NW Spain. In each layer we measured oxygen- isotope ratios (δ(18)O) in the inorganic component (hydroxyapatite), and nitrogen and carbon isotope ratios (δ(15)N: δ(13)C) in the organic component (primarily collagenous). We found significant differences between Denmark and NW Spain in δ(15)N and δ(18)O values in the layer deposited at age 3, considered to be the one best representing the baseline of the breeding ground, in δ(15)N, δ(13)C and δ(18)O values in the period up to age 20, and in the ontogenetic variation of δ(15)N and δ(18)O values. These differences evidence that diet composition, use of habitat and/or migratory destinations are dissimilar between whales from the two regions and suggest that the North Atlantic population of sperm whales is more structured than traditionally accepted.

  10. Stable Isotopes Provide Insight into Population Structure and Segregation in Eastern North Atlantic Sperm Whales

    PubMed Central

    Borrell, Asunción; Velásquez Vacca, Adriana; Pinela, Ana M.; Kinze, Carl; Lockyer, Christina H.; Vighi, Morgana; Aguilar, Alex

    2013-01-01

    In pelagic species inhabiting large oceans, genetic differentiation tends to be mild and populations devoid of structure. However, large cetaceans have provided many examples of structuring. Here we investigate whether the sperm whale, a pelagic species with large population sizes and reputedly highly mobile, shows indication of structuring in the eastern North Atlantic, an ocean basin in which a single population is believed to occur. To do so, we examined stable isotope values in sequential growth layer groups of teeth from individuals sampled in Denmark and NW Spain. In each layer we measured oxygen- isotope ratios (δ18O) in the inorganic component (hydroxyapatite), and nitrogen and carbon isotope ratios (δ15N: δ13C) in the organic component (primarily collagenous). We found significant differences between Denmark and NW Spain in δ15N and δ18O values in the layer deposited at age 3, considered to be the one best representing the baseline of the breeding ground, in δ15N, δ13C and δ18O values in the period up to age 20, and in the ontogenetic variation of δ15N and δ18O values. These differences evidence that diet composition, use of habitat and/or migratory destinations are dissimilar between whales from the two regions and suggest that the North Atlantic population of sperm whales is more structured than traditionally accepted. PMID:24324782

  11. The sperm whale sonar: Monitoring and use in mitigation of anthropogenic noise effects in the marine environment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    André, Michel

    2009-04-01

    Noise pollution in the marine environment is an emerging but serious concern. Its implications are less well understood than other global threats and largely undetectable to everyone but the specialist. In addition, the assessment of the acoustic impact of artificial sounds in the sea is not a trivial task, certainly because there is a lack of information on how the marine organisms process and analyse sounds and how relevant these sounds are for the balance and development of the populations. Further, this possible acoustic impact not only concerns the hearing systems but may also affect other sensory or systemic levels and result equally lethal for the animal concerned. If we add that the negative consequences of a short or long term exposure to artificial sounds may not be immediately observed one can understood how challenging it is to obtain objective data allowing an efficient control of the introduction of anthropogenic sound in the sea. To answer some of these questions, the choice to investigate cetaceans and their adaptation to an aquatic environment is not fortuitous. Cetaceans, because of their optimum use of sound as an ad-hoc source of energy and their almost exclusive dependence on acoustic information, represent not only the best bio-indicator of the effects of noise pollution in the marine environment, but also a source of data to improve and develop human underwater acoustic technology. Here, we present how the characteristics and performance of the sperm whale mid-range biosonar can be used to develop a mitigation solution based on passive acoustics and ambient noise imaging to prevent negative interactions with human activities by monitoring cetacean movements in areas of interest, e.g. deep-sea observatories.

  12. Swimming gaits, passive drag and buoyancy of diving sperm whales Physeter macrocephalus.

    PubMed

    Miller, Patrick J O; Johnson, Mark P; Tyack, Peter L; Terray, Eugene A

    2004-05-01

    Drag and buoyancy are two primary external forces acting on diving marine mammals. The strength of these forces modulates the energetic cost of movement and may influence swimming style (gait). Here we use a high-resolution digital tag to record depth, 3-D orientation, and sounds heard and produced by 23 deep-diving sperm whales in the Ligurian Sea and Gulf of Mexico. Periods of active thrusting versus gliding were identified through analysis of oscillations measured by a 3-axis accelerometer. Accelerations during 382 ascent glides of five whales (which made two or more steep ascents and for which we obtained a measurement of length) were strongly affected by depth and speed at Reynold's numbers of 1.4-2.8x10(7). The accelerations fit a model of drag, air buoyancy and tissue buoyancy forces with an r(2) of 99.1-99.8% for each whale. The model provided estimates (mean +/- S.D.) of the drag coefficient (0.00306+/-0.00015), air carried from the surface (26.4+/-3.9 l kg(-3) mass), and tissue density (1030+/-0.8 kg m(-3)) of these five animals. The model predicts strong positive buoyancy forces in the top 100 m of the water column, decreasing to near neutral buoyancy at 250-850 m. Mean descent speeds (1.45+/-0.19 m s(-1)) were slower than ascent speeds (1.63+/-0.22 m s(-1)), even though sperm whales stroked steadily (glides 5.3+/-6.3%) throughout descents and employed predominantly stroke-and-glide swimming (glides 37.7+/-16.4%) during ascents. Whales glided more during portions of dives when buoyancy aided their movement, and whales that glided more during ascent glided less during descent (and vice versa), supporting the hypothesis that buoyancy influences behavioural swimming decisions. One whale rested at approximately 10 m depth for more than 10 min without fluking, regulating its buoyancy by releasing air bubbles.

  13. Cytoplasmic and mitochondrial creatine kinases from the skeletal muscle of sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus). Molecular cloning and enzyme characterization.

    PubMed

    Iwanami, Kentaro; Uda, Kouji; Tada, Hiroshi; Suzuki, Tomohiko

    2008-01-01

    We have amplified two cDNAs, coding for creatine kinases (CKs), from the skeletal muscle of sperm whale Physeter macrocephalus by PCR, and cloned these cDNAs into pMAL plasmid. These are the first CK cDNA and deduced amino acid sequences from cetaceans to be reported. One of the two amino acid sequences is a cytoplasmic, muscle-type isoform (MCK), while the other was identified as a sarcomeric, mitochondrial isoform (sMiCK) that included a mitochondrial targeting peptide. The amino acid sequences of sperm whale MCK and sMiCK showed 94-96% sequence identity with corresponding isoforms of mammalian CKs, and all of the key residues necessary for CK function were conserved. The phylogenetic analyses of vertebrate CKs with three independent methods (neighbor-joining, maximum-likelihood and Bayes) supported the clustering of sperm whale MCK with Bos and Sus MCKs, in agreement with the contemporary view that these groups are closely related. Sperm whale MCK and sMiCK were expressed in Escherichia coli as a fusion protein with maltose-binding protein, and the kinetic constants (K (m), K (d) and k (cat)) were determined for the forward reaction. Comparison of kinetic constants with those of human and mouse CKs indicated that sperm whale MCK has a comparable affinity for creatine (K (m) (Cr) = 9.38 mM) to that of human MCK, and the sMiCK has two times higher affinity for creatine than the human enzyme. Both the MCK and sMiCK of sperm whale display a synergistic substrate binding (K (d) /K (m) = 3.1-7.8) like those of other mammalian CKs.

  14. Chemical dispersants used in the Gulf of Mexico oil crisis are cytotoxic and genotoxic to sperm whale skin cells.

    PubMed

    Wise, Catherine F; Wise, James T F; Wise, Sandra S; Thompson, W Douglas; Wise, John Pierce; Wise, John Pierce

    2014-07-01

    The 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico drew attention to the need for toxicological studies of chemical dispersants. We are still learning the effects these spills had on wildlife. Little is known about the toxicity of these substances in marine mammals. The objective of this study was to determine the toxicity of the two dispersants (Corexit 9500 and 9527). Corexit 9500 and 9527 were both cytotoxic to sperm whale skin fibroblasts. Corexit 9527 was less cytotoxic than 9500. S9 mediated metabolism did not alter cytotoxicity of either dispersant. Both dispersants were genotoxic to sperm whale skin fibroblasts; S9 mediated metabolism increased Corexit 9527 genotoxicity.

  15. Chemical dispersants used in the Gulf of Mexico oil crisis are cytotoxic and genotoxic to sperm whale skin cells.

    PubMed

    Wise, Catherine F; Wise, James T F; Wise, Sandra S; Thompson, W Douglas; Wise, John Pierce; Wise, John Pierce

    2014-07-01

    The 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico drew attention to the need for toxicological studies of chemical dispersants. We are still learning the effects these spills had on wildlife. Little is known about the toxicity of these substances in marine mammals. The objective of this study was to determine the toxicity of the two dispersants (Corexit 9500 and 9527). Corexit 9500 and 9527 were both cytotoxic to sperm whale skin fibroblasts. Corexit 9527 was less cytotoxic than 9500. S9 mediated metabolism did not alter cytotoxicity of either dispersant. Both dispersants were genotoxic to sperm whale skin fibroblasts; S9 mediated metabolism increased Corexit 9527 genotoxicity. PMID:24813266

  16. Acoustic and satellite remote sensing of blue whale seasonality and habitat in the Northeast Pacific

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Burtenshaw, Jessica C.; Oleson, Erin M.; Hildebrand, John A.; McDonald, Mark A.; Andrew, Rex K.; Howe, Bruce M.; Mercer, James A.

    2004-05-01

    Northeast Pacific blue whales seasonally migrate, ranging from the waters off Central America to the Gulf of Alaska. Using acoustic and satellite remote sensing, we have continuously monitored the acoustic activity and habitat of blue whales during 1994-2000. Calling blue whales primarily aggregate off the coast of southern and central California in the late summer, coinciding with the timing of the peak euphausiid biomass, their preferred prey. The northward bloom of primary production along the coast and subsequent northbound movements of the blue whales are apparent in the satellite and acoustic records, respectively, with the calling blue whales moving north along the Oregon and Washington coasts to a secondary foraging area with high primary productivity off Vancouver Island in the late fall. El Ni n˜o conditions, indicated by elevated sea-surface temperature and depressed regional chlorophyll- a concentrations, are apparent in the satellite records, particularly in the Southern California Bight during 1997/1998. These conditions disrupt biological production and alter the presence of calling blue whales in primary feeding locations. Remote sensing using acoustics is well suited to characterizing the seasonal movements and relative abundance of the northeast Pacific blue whales, and remote sensing using satellites allows for monitoring their habitat. These technologies are invaluable because of their ability to provide continuous large-scale spatial and temporal coverage of the blue whale migration.

  17. Eddy forced variations in on- and off-margin summertime circulation along the 1000-m isobath of the northern Gulf of Mexico, 2000-2003, and links with sperm whale distributions along the middle slope

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Biggs, Douglas C.; Jochens, Ann E.; Howard, Matthew K.; DiMarco, Steven F.; Mullin, Keith D.; Leben, Robert R.; Muller-Karger, Frank E.; Hu, Chuanmin

    In summers 2000-2003, NOAA Ship Gordon Gunter and TAMU R/V Gyre dropped XBTs and logged ADCP data while carrying out visual and passive-acoustic surveys for sperm whales along the 1000-m isobath of the northern Gulf of Mexico. The ships also made CTD casts, particularly when/where the XBT and ADCP data indicated the ships were passing into or out of anticyclonic and/or cyclonic slope eddies. The fine-scale resolution of the ship surveys, when combined with the meso-scale resolution of remote sensing surveys of sea surface height and ocean color, document the summer-to-summer variability in the intensity and geographic location of Loop Current eddies, warm slope eddies, and areas of cyclonic circulation over this middle slope region of the northern Gulf of Mexico. These variations forced striking year-to-year differences in the locations along the 1000-m isobath where there was on-margin and off-margin flow, and in locations where sperm whales were encountered along the 1000-m isobath. For example, when there was on-margin flow into the Mississippi Canyon region in early summer 2003, sperm whales were very rarely seen or heard there. In contrast, later that summer and during other summers when flow was along-margin or off-margin there, sperm whales were locally abundant. In this report we describe how eddy-forced variations in on-margin and off-margin flow changed the meso-scale circulation along the 1000-m isobath, and we show that most sperm whales were encountered in regions of negative SSH and/or higher-than-average surface chlorophyll.

  18. Testing the effectiveness of an acoustic deterrent for gray whales along the Oregon coast

    SciTech Connect

    Lagerquist, Barbara; Winsor, Martha; Mate, Bruce

    2012-12-31

    This study was conducted to determine whether a low-powered sound source could be effective at deterring gray whales from areas that may prove harmful to them. With increased interest in the development of marine renewal energy along the Oregon coast the concern that such development may pose a collision or entanglement risk for gray whales. A successful acoustic deterrent could act as a mitigation tool to prevent harm to whales from such risks. In this study, an acoustic device was moored on the seafloor in the pathway of migrating gray whales off Yaquina Head on the central Oregon coast. Shore-based observers tracked whales with a theodolite (surveyor’s tool) to accurately locate whales as they passed the headland. Individual locations of different whales/whale groups as well as tracklines of the same whale/whale groups were obtained and compared between times with the acoustic device was transmitting and when it was off. Observations were conducted on 51 d between January 1 and April 15, 2012. A total of 143 individual whale locations were collected for a total of 243 whales, as well as 57 tracklines for a total of 142 whales. Inclement weather and equipment problems resulted in very small sample sizes, especially during experimental periods, when the device was transmitting. Because of this, the results of this study were inconclusive. We feel that another season of field testing is warranted to successfully test the effectiveness of the deterrent, but recommend increasing the zone of influence to 3 km to ensure the collection of adequate sample sizes. Steps have been taken to acquire the necessary federal research permit modification to authorize the increased zone of influence and to modify the acoustic device for the increased power. With these changes we are confident we will be able to determine whether the deterrent is effective at deflecting gray whales. A successful deterrent device may serve as a valuable mitigation tool to protect gray whales, and

  19. A comparison of the intrinsic fluorescence of red kangaroo, horse and sperm whale metmyoglobins.

    PubMed

    Hirsch, R E; Peisach, J

    1986-07-25

    Several metmyoglobins (red kangaroo, horse and sperm whale), containing different numbers of tyrosines, but with invariant tryptophan residues (Trp-7, Trp-14), exhibit intrinsic fluorescence when studied by steady-state front-face fluorometry. The increasing tyrosine content of these myoglobins correlates with a shift in emission maximum to shorter wavelengths with excitation at 280 nm: red kangaroo (Tyr-146) emission maximum 335 nm; horse (Tyr-103, -146) emission maximum 333 nm; sperm whale (Tyr-103, -146, -151) emission maximum 331 nm. Since 280 nm excites both tyrosine and tryptophan, this strongly suggests that tyrosine emission is not completely quenched but also contributes to this fluorescence emission. Upon titration to pH 12.5, there is a reversible shift of the emission maximum to longer wavelengths with an increase greater than 2-fold in fluorescence intensity. With excitation at 305 nm, a tyrosinate-like emission is detected at a pH greater than 12. These studies show that: (1) metmyoglobins, Class B proteins containing both tyrosine and tryptophan residues, exhibit intrinsic fluorescence; (2) tyrosine residues also contribute to the observed steady-state fluorescence emission when excited by light at 280 nm; (3) the ionization of Tyr-146 is likely coupled to protein unfolding.

  20. Global assessment of oceanic lead pollution using sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) as an indicator species.

    PubMed

    Savery, Laura C; Wise, Sandra S; Falank, Carolyne; Wise, James; Gianios, Christy; Douglas Thompson, W; Perkins, Christopher; Zheng, Tongzhang; Zhu, Cairong; Wise, John Pierce

    2014-02-15

    Lead (Pb) is an oceanic pollutant of global concern. Anthropogenic activities are increasing oceanic levels, but to an unknown extent. The sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) has a global distribution and high trophic level. The aim of this study was to establish a global baseline of oceanic Pb concentrations using free-ranging sperm whales as an indicator species. Skin biopsies (n=337) were collected during the voyage of the Odyssey (2000-2005) from 17 regions considering gender and age. Pb was detectable in 315 samples with a global mean of 1.6 ug/gww ranging from 0.1 to 129.6 ug/gww. Papua New Guinea, Bahamas and Australia had the highest regional mean with 6.1, 3.4, and 3.1 ug/gww, respectively. Pb concentrations were not significantly different between sex and age in males. This is the first global toxicological dataset for Pb in a marine mammal and confirms Pb is widely distributed with hotspots in some regions.

  1. Kinship of long-term associates in the highly social sperm whale.

    PubMed

    Ortega-Ortiz, Joel G; Engelhaupt, Daniel; Winsor, Martha; Mate, Bruce R; Hoelzel, A Rus

    2012-02-01

    The evolution of stable social groups can be promoted by both indirect and direct fitness benefits. Sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) are highly social, with a hierarchical social structure based around core groups of adult females and subadults, a rare level of complexity among mammals. We combined long-term satellite tracking (ranging from 11 to 607 days) of 51 individual sperm whales with genetic kinship analysis to assess the pattern of kin associations within and among coherent social units. Unlike findings for other species with similar social structure, we find no consistent correlation between kinship and association apart from close associations between two pairs of first-order relatives. A third pair of first-order relatives did not associate, and overall, the mean relatedness was the same within as among social groups. However, social behaviour can also be promoted by ecological factors such as resource dispersion. We assessed putative foraging behaviour during travel from the satellite-tracking data, which suggested that prey resources were dispersed and unpredictable, a condition that could promote living in groups.

  2. Sex-biased dispersal in sperm whales: contrasting mitochondrial and nuclear genetic structure of global populations.

    PubMed

    Lyrholm, T; Leimar, O; Johanneson, B; Gyllensten, U

    1999-02-22

    The social organization of most mammals is characterized by female philopatry and male dispersal. Such sex-biased dispersal can cause the genetic structure of populations to differ between the maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and the bi-parental nuclear genome. Here we report on the global genetic structure of oceanic populations of the sperm whale, one of the most widely distributed mammalian species. Groups of females and juveniles are mainly found at low latitudes, while males reach polar waters, returning to tropical and subtropical waters to breed. In comparisons between oceans, we did not find significant heterogeneity in allele frequencies of microsatellite loci (exact test; p = 0.23). Estimates of GST = 0.001 and RST = 0.005 also indicated negligible if any nuclear DNA differentiation. We have previously reported significant differentiation between oceans in mtDNA sequences. These contrasting patterns suggest that interoceanic movements have been more prevalent among males than among females, consistent with observations of females being the philopatric sex and having a more limited latitudinal distribution than males. Consequently, the typical mammalian dispersal pattern may have operated on a global scale in sperm whales.

  3. Comparative cytotoxicity and genotoxicity of particulate and soluble hexavalent chromium in human and sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) skin cells.

    PubMed

    Li Chen, Tânia; LaCerte, Carolyne; Wise, Sandra S; Holmes, Amie; Martino, Julieta; Wise, John Pierce; Thompson, W Douglas; Wise, John Pierce

    2012-01-01

    Chromium (Cr) is a global marine pollutant, present in marine mammal tissues. Hexavalent chromium [Cr(VI)] is a known human carcinogen. In this study, we compare the cytotoxic and clastogenic effects of Cr(VI) in human (Homo sapiens) and sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) skin fibroblasts. Our data show that increasing concentrations of both particulate and soluble Cr(VI) induce increasing amounts of cytotoxicity and clastogenicity in human and sperm whale skin cells. Furthermore, the data show that sperm whale cells are resistant to these effects exhibiting less cytotoxicity and genotoxicity than the human cells. Differences in Cr uptake accounted for some but not all of the differences in particulate and soluble Cr(VI) genotoxicity, although it did explain the differences in particulate Cr(VI) cytotoxicity. Altogether, the data indicate that Cr(VI) is a genotoxic threat to whales, but also suggest that whales have evolved cellular mechanisms to protect them against the genotoxicity of environmental agents such as Cr(VI).

  4. Comparative Cytotoxicity and Genotoxicity of Particulate and Soluble Hexavalent Chromium in Human and Sperm Whale (Physeter macrocephalus) Skin Cells

    PubMed Central

    Li Chen, Tânia; LaCerte, Carolyne; Wise, Sandra S.; Holmes, Amie; Martino, Julieta; Wise, John Pierce; Thompson, W. Douglas; Wise, John Pierce

    2014-01-01

    Chromium (Cr) is a global marine pollutant, present in marine mammal tissues. Hexavalent chromium [Cr(VI)] is a known human carcinogen. In this study we compare the cytotoxic and clastogenic effects of Cr(VI) in human (Homo sapiens) and sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) skin fibroblasts. Our data show that increasing concentrations of both particulate and soluble Cr(VI) induce increasing amounts of cytotoxicity and clastogenicity in human and sperm whale skin cells. Furthermore, the data show that sperm whale cells are resistant to these effects exhibiting less cytotoxicity and genotoxicity than the human cells. Differences in Cr uptake accounted for some but not all of the differences in particulate and soluble Cr(VI) genotoxicity, although it did explain the differences in particulate Cr(VI) cytotoxicity. Altogether the data indicate that Cr(VI) is a genotoxic threat to whales, but also suggest that whales have evolved cellular mechanisms to protect them against the genotoxicity of environmental agents such as Cr(VI). PMID:21466859

  5. Global assessment of cadmium concentrations in the skin of free-ranging sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus).

    PubMed

    Savery, Laura C; Chen, Tânia Li; Wise, James T F; Wise, Sandra S; Gianios, Christy; Buonagurio, John; Perkins, Christopher; Falank, Carolyne; Zheng, Tongzhang; Zhu, Cairong; Wise, John Pierce

    2015-12-01

    Cadmium is a non-essential, toxic metal found accumulated in the organs of stranded cetaceans. Currently, there is no baseline cadmium concentration reported in a free-ranging, pelagic cetacean. The aim was to determine cadmium concentrations in the skin of free-ranging sperm whales (n=340) collected from 16 regions around the world during the voyage of the Odyssey (2000-2005) considering region, gender, and age in males. Cadmium was detected in 81% of skin biopsies with a mean of 0.3±0.04μg/g ww (0.02 to 12.4μg/g ww). These concentrations were higher than reported in literature in toothed whale skin (0.002-0.1μg/g ww). Concentrations by region were significantly different (p<0.0001) with the highest mean in Maldives and the Sea of Cortez (0.8 and 0.6μg/g ww, respectively). There was no significant difference in cadmium concentration by gender (p=0.42). Cadmium is known to have a long biological half-life, and cadmium concentrations in males were significantly higher in adults with a mean of 0.3μg/g ww compared to subadults with 0.2μg/g ww (p=0.03). Selenium, an element that binds to cadmium inhibiting its toxicity, had a moderately positive correlation with cadmium (r=0.41). Mercury, a toxic metal that positively correlates with cadmium in cetacean tissue, had a weakly positive relationship (r=0.20). The regional baselines reported in this study may be used to develop residue criteria for prediction of toxicological risk in sperm whale skin. Additionally, this study shows the extent of cadmium exposure in a pelagic cetacean that has global distribution.

  6. Global assessment of arsenic pollution using sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) as an emerging aquatic model organism.

    PubMed

    Savery, Laura C; Wise, James T F; Wise, Sandra S; Falank, Carolyne; Gianios, Christy; Thompson, W Douglas; Perkins, Christopher; Zheng, Tongzhang; Zhu, Cairong; Wise, John Pierce

    2014-06-01

    Arsenic is an oceanic pollutant of global concern due to its toxicity, ability to bioaccumulate and continued input into the environment by anthropogenic activities. The sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) is an emerging aquatic model for both human disease and ocean health having global distribution and high trophic level. The aim of this study was to establish global and regional baselines of total arsenic concentrations using free-ranging sperm whales. Skin biopsies (n=342) were collected during the voyage of the Odyssey (2000-2005) from 17 regions considering gender and age in males. Arsenic was detectable in 99% of samples with a global mean of 1.9μg/g ww ranging from 0.1 to 15.6μg/g ww. Previous work in toothed whale skin found mean concentrations 3 fold lower with 0.6μg/g ww. A significant gender-related effect was found with males having higher mean arsenic concentrations than females. There was no significant age-related effect between adult and subadult males. Arsenic concentrations in sloughed skin samples were similar to levels in skin biopsies indicating that arsenic excretion can occur by skin sloughing. Regional mean concentrations were highest in the Maldives, Seychelles and Sri Lanka with 3.5, 2.5, and 2.4μg/g ww, respectively, raising concern for arsenic pollution in the Indian Ocean. Literature suggests that arsenic exposure is emitted from natural sources and the heavy use of arsenic-containing pesticides and herbicides in this region. These data suggest that research is needed in determining the extent and source of arsenic pollution in the Indian Ocean.

  7. Evolutionary Patterns among Living and Fossil Kogiid Sperm Whales: Evidence from the Neogene of Central America.

    PubMed

    Velez-Juarbe, Jorge; Wood, Aaron R; De Gracia, Carlos; Hendy, Austin J W

    2015-01-01

    Kogiids are known by two living species, the pygmy and dwarf sperm whale (Kogia breviceps and K. sima). Both are relatively rare, and as their names suggest, they are closely related to the sperm whale, all being characterized by the presence of a spermaceti organ. However, this organ is much reduced in kogiids and may have become functionally different. Here we describe a fossil kogiid from the late Miocene of Panama and we explore the evolutionary history of the group with special attention to this evolutionary reduction. The fossil consists of cranial material from the late Tortonian (~7.5 Ma) Piña facies of the Chagres Formation in Panama. Detailed comparison with other fossil and extant kogiids and the results of a phylogenetic analysis place the Panamanian kogiid, herein named Nanokogia isthmia gen. et sp. nov., as a taxon most closely related to Praekogia cedrosensis from the Messinian (~6 Ma) of Baja California and to Kogia spp. Furthermore our results show that reduction of the spermaceti organ has occurred iteratively in kogiids, once in Thalassocetus antwerpiensis in the early-middle Miocene, and more recently in Kogia spp. Additionally, we estimate the divergence between extant species of Kogia at around the late Pliocene, later than previously predicted by molecular estimates. Finally, comparison of Nanokogia with the coeval Scaphokogia cochlearis from Peru shows that these two species display a greater morphological disparity between them than that observed between the extant members of the group. We hypothesize that this reflects differences in feeding ecologies of the two species, with Nanokogia being more similar to extant Kogia. Nanokogia shows that kogiids have been part of the Neotropical marine mammal communities at least since the late Miocene, and gives us insight into the evolutionary history and origins of one of the rarest groups of living whales.

  8. Global assessment of arsenic pollution using sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) as an emerging aquatic model organism.

    PubMed

    Savery, Laura C; Wise, James T F; Wise, Sandra S; Falank, Carolyne; Gianios, Christy; Thompson, W Douglas; Perkins, Christopher; Zheng, Tongzhang; Zhu, Cairong; Wise, John Pierce

    2014-06-01

    Arsenic is an oceanic pollutant of global concern due to its toxicity, ability to bioaccumulate and continued input into the environment by anthropogenic activities. The sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) is an emerging aquatic model for both human disease and ocean health having global distribution and high trophic level. The aim of this study was to establish global and regional baselines of total arsenic concentrations using free-ranging sperm whales. Skin biopsies (n=342) were collected during the voyage of the Odyssey (2000-2005) from 17 regions considering gender and age in males. Arsenic was detectable in 99% of samples with a global mean of 1.9μg/g ww ranging from 0.1 to 15.6μg/g ww. Previous work in toothed whale skin found mean concentrations 3 fold lower with 0.6μg/g ww. A significant gender-related effect was found with males having higher mean arsenic concentrations than females. There was no significant age-related effect between adult and subadult males. Arsenic concentrations in sloughed skin samples were similar to levels in skin biopsies indicating that arsenic excretion can occur by skin sloughing. Regional mean concentrations were highest in the Maldives, Seychelles and Sri Lanka with 3.5, 2.5, and 2.4μg/g ww, respectively, raising concern for arsenic pollution in the Indian Ocean. Literature suggests that arsenic exposure is emitted from natural sources and the heavy use of arsenic-containing pesticides and herbicides in this region. These data suggest that research is needed in determining the extent and source of arsenic pollution in the Indian Ocean. PMID:24473067

  9. Evolutionary Patterns among Living and Fossil Kogiid Sperm Whales: Evidence from the Neogene of Central America.

    PubMed

    Velez-Juarbe, Jorge; Wood, Aaron R; De Gracia, Carlos; Hendy, Austin J W

    2015-01-01

    Kogiids are known by two living species, the pygmy and dwarf sperm whale (Kogia breviceps and K. sima). Both are relatively rare, and as their names suggest, they are closely related to the sperm whale, all being characterized by the presence of a spermaceti organ. However, this organ is much reduced in kogiids and may have become functionally different. Here we describe a fossil kogiid from the late Miocene of Panama and we explore the evolutionary history of the group with special attention to this evolutionary reduction. The fossil consists of cranial material from the late Tortonian (~7.5 Ma) Piña facies of the Chagres Formation in Panama. Detailed comparison with other fossil and extant kogiids and the results of a phylogenetic analysis place the Panamanian kogiid, herein named Nanokogia isthmia gen. et sp. nov., as a taxon most closely related to Praekogia cedrosensis from the Messinian (~6 Ma) of Baja California and to Kogia spp. Furthermore our results show that reduction of the spermaceti organ has occurred iteratively in kogiids, once in Thalassocetus antwerpiensis in the early-middle Miocene, and more recently in Kogia spp. Additionally, we estimate the divergence between extant species of Kogia at around the late Pliocene, later than previously predicted by molecular estimates. Finally, comparison of Nanokogia with the coeval Scaphokogia cochlearis from Peru shows that these two species display a greater morphological disparity between them than that observed between the extant members of the group. We hypothesize that this reflects differences in feeding ecologies of the two species, with Nanokogia being more similar to extant Kogia. Nanokogia shows that kogiids have been part of the Neotropical marine mammal communities at least since the late Miocene, and gives us insight into the evolutionary history and origins of one of the rarest groups of living whales. PMID:25923213

  10. Global assessment of cadmium concentrations in the skin of free-ranging sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus).

    PubMed

    Savery, Laura C; Chen, Tânia Li; Wise, James T F; Wise, Sandra S; Gianios, Christy; Buonagurio, John; Perkins, Christopher; Falank, Carolyne; Zheng, Tongzhang; Zhu, Cairong; Wise, John Pierce

    2015-12-01

    Cadmium is a non-essential, toxic metal found accumulated in the organs of stranded cetaceans. Currently, there is no baseline cadmium concentration reported in a free-ranging, pelagic cetacean. The aim was to determine cadmium concentrations in the skin of free-ranging sperm whales (n=340) collected from 16 regions around the world during the voyage of the Odyssey (2000-2005) considering region, gender, and age in males. Cadmium was detected in 81% of skin biopsies with a mean of 0.3±0.04μg/g ww (0.02 to 12.4μg/g ww). These concentrations were higher than reported in literature in toothed whale skin (0.002-0.1μg/g ww). Concentrations by region were significantly different (p<0.0001) with the highest mean in Maldives and the Sea of Cortez (0.8 and 0.6μg/g ww, respectively). There was no significant difference in cadmium concentration by gender (p=0.42). Cadmium is known to have a long biological half-life, and cadmium concentrations in males were significantly higher in adults with a mean of 0.3μg/g ww compared to subadults with 0.2μg/g ww (p=0.03). Selenium, an element that binds to cadmium inhibiting its toxicity, had a moderately positive correlation with cadmium (r=0.41). Mercury, a toxic metal that positively correlates with cadmium in cetacean tissue, had a weakly positive relationship (r=0.20). The regional baselines reported in this study may be used to develop residue criteria for prediction of toxicological risk in sperm whale skin. Additionally, this study shows the extent of cadmium exposure in a pelagic cetacean that has global distribution. PMID:26456815

  11. Evolutionary Patterns among Living and Fossil Kogiid Sperm Whales: Evidence from the Neogene of Central America

    PubMed Central

    Velez-Juarbe, Jorge; Wood, Aaron R.; De Gracia, Carlos; Hendy, Austin J. W.

    2015-01-01

    Kogiids are known by two living species, the pygmy and dwarf sperm whale (Kogia breviceps and K. sima). Both are relatively rare, and as their names suggest, they are closely related to the sperm whale, all being characterized by the presence of a spermaceti organ. However, this organ is much reduced in kogiids and may have become functionally different. Here we describe a fossil kogiid from the late Miocene of Panama and we explore the evolutionary history of the group with special attention to this evolutionary reduction. The fossil consists of cranial material from the late Tortonian (~7.5 Ma) Piña facies of the Chagres Formation in Panama. Detailed comparison with other fossil and extant kogiids and the results of a phylogenetic analysis place the Panamanian kogiid, herein named Nanokogia isthmia gen. et sp. nov., as a taxon most closely related to Praekogia cedrosensis from the Messinian (~6 Ma) of Baja California and to Kogia spp. Furthermore our results show that reduction of the spermaceti organ has occurred iteratively in kogiids, once in Thalassocetus antwerpiensis in the early-middle Miocene, and more recently in Kogia spp. Additionally, we estimate the divergence between extant species of Kogia at around the late Pliocene, later than previously predicted by molecular estimates. Finally, comparison of Nanokogia with the coeval Scaphokogia cochlearis from Peru shows that these two species display a greater morphological disparity between them than that observed between the extant members of the group. We hypothesize that this reflects differences in feeding ecologies of the two species, with Nanokogia being more similar to extant Kogia. Nanokogia shows that kogiids have been part of the Neotropical marine mammal communities at least since the late Miocene, and gives us insight into the evolutionary history and origins of one of the rarest groups of living whales. PMID:25923213

  12. Classification of large acoustic datasets using machine learning and crowdsourcing: application to whale calls.

    PubMed

    Shamir, Lior; Yerby, Carol; Simpson, Robert; von Benda-Beckmann, Alexander M; Tyack, Peter; Samarra, Filipa; Miller, Patrick; Wallin, John

    2014-02-01

    Vocal communication is a primary communication method of killer and pilot whales, and is used for transmitting a broad range of messages and information for short and long distance. The large variation in call types of these species makes it challenging to categorize them. In this study, sounds recorded by audio sensors carried by ten killer whales and eight pilot whales close to the coasts of Norway, Iceland, and the Bahamas were analyzed using computer methods and citizen scientists as part of the Whale FM project. Results show that the computer analysis automatically separated the killer whales into Icelandic and Norwegian whales, and the pilot whales were separated into Norwegian long-finned and Bahamas short-finned pilot whales, showing that at least some whales from these two locations have different acoustic repertoires that can be sensed by the computer analysis. The citizen science analysis was also able to separate the whales to locations by their sounds, but the separation was somewhat less accurate compared to the computer method. PMID:25234903

  13. Classification of large acoustic datasets using machine learning and crowdsourcing: application to whale calls.

    PubMed

    Shamir, Lior; Yerby, Carol; Simpson, Robert; von Benda-Beckmann, Alexander M; Tyack, Peter; Samarra, Filipa; Miller, Patrick; Wallin, John

    2014-02-01

    Vocal communication is a primary communication method of killer and pilot whales, and is used for transmitting a broad range of messages and information for short and long distance. The large variation in call types of these species makes it challenging to categorize them. In this study, sounds recorded by audio sensors carried by ten killer whales and eight pilot whales close to the coasts of Norway, Iceland, and the Bahamas were analyzed using computer methods and citizen scientists as part of the Whale FM project. Results show that the computer analysis automatically separated the killer whales into Icelandic and Norwegian whales, and the pilot whales were separated into Norwegian long-finned and Bahamas short-finned pilot whales, showing that at least some whales from these two locations have different acoustic repertoires that can be sensed by the computer analysis. The citizen science analysis was also able to separate the whales to locations by their sounds, but the separation was somewhat less accurate compared to the computer method.

  14. The acoustic calls of blue whales off California with gender data.

    PubMed

    McDonald, M A; Calambokidis, J; Teranishi, A M; Hildebrand, J A

    2001-04-01

    The acoustic calls of blue whales off California are described with visual observations of behavior and with acoustic tracking. Acoustic call data with corresponding position tracks are analyzed for five calling blue whales during one 100-min time period. Three of the five animals produced type A-B calls while two produced another call type which we refer to as type D. One of the animals producing the A-B call type was identified as male. Pauses in call production corresponded to visually observed breathing intervals. There was no apparent coordination between the calling whales. The average call source level was calculated to be 186 dB re: 1 muPa at 1 m over the 10-110-Hz band for the type B calls. On two separate days, female blue whales were observed to be silent during respective monitoring periods of 20 min and 1 h.

  15. Acoustic telemetry reveals cryptic residency of whale sharks.

    PubMed

    Cagua, E Fernando; Cochran, Jesse E M; Rohner, Christoph A; Prebble, Clare E M; Sinclair-Taylor, Tane H; Pierce, Simon J; Berumen, Michael L

    2015-04-01

    Although whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) have been documented to move thousands of kilometres, they are most frequently observed at a few predictable seasonal aggregation sites. The absence of sharks at the surface during visual surveys has led to the assumption that sharks disperse to places unknown during the long 'off-seasons' at most of these locations. Here we compare 2 years of R. typus visual sighting records from Mafia Island in Tanzania to concurrent acoustic telemetry of tagged individuals. Sightings revealed a clear seasonal pattern with a peak between October and February and no sharks observed at other times. By contrast, acoustic telemetry demonstrated year-round residency of R. typus. The sharks use a different habitat in the off-season, swimming deeper and further away from shore, presumably in response to prey distributions. This behavioural change reduces the sharks' visibility, giving the false impression that they have left the area. We demonstrate, for the first time to our knowledge, year-round residency of unprovisioned, individual R. typus at an aggregation site, and highlight the importance of using multiple techniques to study the movement ecology of marine megafauna.

  16. Acoustic telemetry reveals cryptic residency of whale sharks

    PubMed Central

    Cagua, E. Fernando; Cochran, Jesse E. M.; Rohner, Christoph A.; Prebble, Clare E. M.; Sinclair-Taylor, Tane H.; Pierce, Simon J.; Berumen, Michael L.

    2015-01-01

    Although whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) have been documented to move thousands of kilometres, they are most frequently observed at a few predictable seasonal aggregation sites. The absence of sharks at the surface during visual surveys has led to the assumption that sharks disperse to places unknown during the long ‘off-seasons’ at most of these locations. Here we compare 2 years of R. typus visual sighting records from Mafia Island in Tanzania to concurrent acoustic telemetry of tagged individuals. Sightings revealed a clear seasonal pattern with a peak between October and February and no sharks observed at other times. By contrast, acoustic telemetry demonstrated year-round residency of R. typus. The sharks use a different habitat in the off-season, swimming deeper and further away from shore, presumably in response to prey distributions. This behavioural change reduces the sharks' visibility, giving the false impression that they have left the area. We demonstrate, for the first time to our knowledge, year-round residency of unprovisioned, individual R. typus at an aggregation site, and highlight the importance of using multiple techniques to study the movement ecology of marine megafauna. PMID:25832816

  17. An algorithm for the localization of multiple interfering sperm whales using multi-sensor time difference of arrival.

    PubMed

    Baggenstoss, Paul M

    2011-07-01

    In this paper an algorithm is described for the localization of individual sperm whales in situations where several near-by animals are simultaneously vocalizing. The algorithm operates on time-difference of arrival (TDOA) measurements observed at sensor pairs and assumes no prior knowledge of the TDOA-whale associations. In other words, it solves the problem of associating TDOAs to whales. The algorithm is able to resolve association disputes where a given TDOA measurement may fit to more than one position estimate and can handle spurious TDOAs. The algorithm also provides estimates of Cramer-Rao lower bound for the position estimates. The algorithm was tested with real data using TDOA estimates obtained by cross-correlating click-trains. The click-trains were generated by a separate algorithm that operated independently on each sensor to produce click-trains corresponding to a given whale and to reject click-trains from reflected propagation paths.

  18. Differences in acoustic features of vocalizations produced by killer whales cross-socialized with bottlenose dolphins.

    PubMed

    Musser, Whitney B; Bowles, Ann E; Grebner, Dawn M; Crance, Jessica L

    2014-10-01

    Limited previous evidence suggests that killer whales (Orcinus orca) are capable of vocal production learning. However, vocal contextual learning has not been studied, nor the factors promoting learning. Vocalizations were collected from three killer whales with a history of exposure to bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) and compared with data from seven killer whales held with conspecifics and nine bottlenose dolphins. The three whales' repertoires were distinguishable by a higher proportion of click trains and whistles. Time-domain features of click trains were intermediate between those of whales held with conspecifics and dolphins. These differences provided evidence for contextual learning. One killer whale spontaneously learned to produce artificial chirps taught to dolphins; acoustic features fell within the range of inter-individual differences among the dolphins. This whale also produced whistles similar to a stereotyped whistle produced by one dolphin. Thus, results provide further support for vocal production learning and show that killer whales are capable of contextual learning. That killer whales produce similar repertoires when associated with another species suggests substantial vocal plasticity and motivation for vocal conformity with social associates. PMID:25324098

  19. Using passive acoustics to model blue whale habitat off the Western Antarctic Peninsula

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Širović, Ana; Hildebrand, John A.

    2011-07-01

    Habitat preferences of calling blue whales were investigated using data from two multidisciplinary oceanographic cruises conducted off the Western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) during the austral falls of 2001 and 2002. Data were collected on depth, temperature, salinity, chlorophyll a (Chl- a) concentration, krill biomass, zooplankton abundance, and blue whale call presence. In 2001, the study area was sea ice free, high Chl- a concentrations occurred over a small area, krill biomass and zooplankton abundance were high, and few blue whale calls were detected. In 2002 the sea ice covered the southern part of the survey area, Chl- a was high over a large area, krill and zooplankton were low, and there were more blue whale calls. Logistic regression analysis revealed blue whale calls were positively correlated with depth and SST, and negatively correlated with the mean zooplankton abundance from 101 to 300 m and the mean krill biomass in the top 100 m. The negative correlation between blue whale calls and zooplankton could occur if feeding animals do not produce calls. Our survey area did not cover the full range of blue whale habitat off the WAP, as blue whales probably follow the melting and freezing ice edge through this region. Passive acoustics can provide insight to mesoscale habitat use by blue whales in the Southern Ocean where visual sightings are rare, but the ability to localize on the calling animals would greatly improve the ability to model at a finer scale.

  20. Differences in acoustic features of vocalizations produced by killer whales cross-socialized with bottlenose dolphins.

    PubMed

    Musser, Whitney B; Bowles, Ann E; Grebner, Dawn M; Crance, Jessica L

    2014-10-01

    Limited previous evidence suggests that killer whales (Orcinus orca) are capable of vocal production learning. However, vocal contextual learning has not been studied, nor the factors promoting learning. Vocalizations were collected from three killer whales with a history of exposure to bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) and compared with data from seven killer whales held with conspecifics and nine bottlenose dolphins. The three whales' repertoires were distinguishable by a higher proportion of click trains and whistles. Time-domain features of click trains were intermediate between those of whales held with conspecifics and dolphins. These differences provided evidence for contextual learning. One killer whale spontaneously learned to produce artificial chirps taught to dolphins; acoustic features fell within the range of inter-individual differences among the dolphins. This whale also produced whistles similar to a stereotyped whistle produced by one dolphin. Thus, results provide further support for vocal production learning and show that killer whales are capable of contextual learning. That killer whales produce similar repertoires when associated with another species suggests substantial vocal plasticity and motivation for vocal conformity with social associates.

  1. Bony outgrowths on the jaws of an extinct sperm whale support macroraptorial feeding in several stem physeteroids.

    PubMed

    Lambert, Olivier; Bianucci, Giovanni; Beatty, Brian L

    2014-06-01

    Several extinct sperm whales (stem Physeteroidea) were recently proposed to differ markedly in their feeding ecology from the suction-feeding modern sperm whales Kogia and Physeter. Based on cranial, mandibular, and dental morphology, these Miocene forms were tentatively identified as macroraptorial feeders, able to consume proportionally large prey using their massive teeth and robust jaws. However, until now, no corroborating evidence for the use of teeth during predation was available. We report on a new specimen of the stem physeteroid Acrophyseter, from the late middle to early late Miocene of Peru, displaying unusual bony outgrowths along some of the upper alveoli. Considering their position and outer shape, these are identified as buccal maxillary exostoses. More developed along posterior teeth and in tight contact with the high portion of the dental root outside the bony alveoli, the exostoses are hypothesized to have developed during powerful bites; they may have worked as buttresses, strengthening the teeth when facing intense occlusal forces. These buccal exostoses further support a raptorial feeding technique for Acrophyseter and, indirectly, for other extinct sperm whales with a similar oral apparatus (Brygmophyseter, Livyatan, Zygophyseter). With a wide size range, these Miocene stem physeteroids were major marine macropredators, occupying ecological niches nowadays mostly taken by killer whales.

  2. Bony outgrowths on the jaws of an extinct sperm whale support macroraptorial feeding in several stem physeteroids.

    PubMed

    Lambert, Olivier; Bianucci, Giovanni; Beatty, Brian L

    2014-06-01

    Several extinct sperm whales (stem Physeteroidea) were recently proposed to differ markedly in their feeding ecology from the suction-feeding modern sperm whales Kogia and Physeter. Based on cranial, mandibular, and dental morphology, these Miocene forms were tentatively identified as macroraptorial feeders, able to consume proportionally large prey using their massive teeth and robust jaws. However, until now, no corroborating evidence for the use of teeth during predation was available. We report on a new specimen of the stem physeteroid Acrophyseter, from the late middle to early late Miocene of Peru, displaying unusual bony outgrowths along some of the upper alveoli. Considering their position and outer shape, these are identified as buccal maxillary exostoses. More developed along posterior teeth and in tight contact with the high portion of the dental root outside the bony alveoli, the exostoses are hypothesized to have developed during powerful bites; they may have worked as buttresses, strengthening the teeth when facing intense occlusal forces. These buccal exostoses further support a raptorial feeding technique for Acrophyseter and, indirectly, for other extinct sperm whales with a similar oral apparatus (Brygmophyseter, Livyatan, Zygophyseter). With a wide size range, these Miocene stem physeteroids were major marine macropredators, occupying ecological niches nowadays mostly taken by killer whales. PMID:24821119

  3. Bony outgrowths on the jaws of an extinct sperm whale support macroraptorial feeding in several stem physeteroids

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lambert, Olivier; Bianucci, Giovanni; Beatty, Brian L.

    2014-06-01

    Several extinct sperm whales (stem Physeteroidea) were recently proposed to differ markedly in their feeding ecology from the suction-feeding modern sperm whales Kogia and Physeter. Based on cranial, mandibular, and dental morphology, these Miocene forms were tentatively identified as macroraptorial feeders, able to consume proportionally large prey using their massive teeth and robust jaws. However, until now, no corroborating evidence for the use of teeth during predation was available. We report on a new specimen of the stem physeteroid Acrophyseter, from the late middle to early late Miocene of Peru, displaying unusual bony outgrowths along some of the upper alveoli. Considering their position and outer shape, these are identified as buccal maxillary exostoses. More developed along posterior teeth and in tight contact with the high portion of the dental root outside the bony alveoli, the exostoses are hypothesized to have developed during powerful bites; they may have worked as buttresses, strengthening the teeth when facing intense occlusal forces. These buccal exostoses further support a raptorial feeding technique for Acrophyseter and, indirectly, for other extinct sperm whales with a similar oral apparatus ( Brygmophyseter, Livyatan, Zygophyseter). With a wide size range, these Miocene stem physeteroids were major marine macropredators, occupying ecological niches nowadays mostly taken by killer whales.

  4. Long-range acoustic detection and localization of blue whale calls in the northeast Pacific Ocean.

    PubMed

    Stafford, K M; Fox, C G; Clark, D S

    1998-12-01

    Analysis of acoustic signals recorded from the U.S. Navy's SOund SUrveillance System (SOSUS) was used to detect and locate blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) calls offshore in the northeast Pacific. The long, low-frequency components of these calls are characteristic of calls recorded in the presence of blue whales elsewhere in the world. Mean values for frequency and time characteristics from field-recorded blue whale calls were used to develop a simple matched filter for detecting such calls in noisy time series. The matched filter was applied to signals from three different SOSUS arrays off the coast of the Pacific Northwest to detect and associate individual calls from the same animal on the different arrays. A U.S. Navy maritime patrol aircraft was directed to an area where blue whale calls had been detected on SOSUS using these methods, and the presence of vocalizing blue whale was confirmed at the site with field recordings from sonobuoys.

  5. Stretching the truth: length data highlight falsification of Japanese sperm whale catch statistics in the Southern Hemisphere

    PubMed Central

    Ivashchenko, Yulia V.

    2016-01-01

    Falsification of reports on Japanese catches of sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) is known to have occurred at both land whaling stations and in North Pacific factory fleets. Here, we conduct an analysis of pelagic sperm whale catches in the Southern Hemisphere: we compare true Soviet length data from the Yuri Dolgorukiy factory fleet during 1960–1975 to data for the same period reported to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) by Japan. Prior to implementation of the International Observer Scheme (IOS) in 1972, the Soviet fleet killed 5536 females, of which only 153 (2.8%) were at or above the minimum legal length of 11.6 m. During the same period, Japan killed 5799 females and reported that 5686 (98.5%) were of legal size, with 88.5% of the entire length distribution reported as being between 11.6 and 12.0 m. This unrealistic distribution, together with the fact that Japanese fleets were supposedly able to catch 37 times the number of legal-sized females as the Soviet fleet, indicates extensive falsification of catch data by Japan. Further evidence of misreporting is that females >11.5 m dropped to 9.1% of the Japanese catch after 1971, when the IOS made cheating much more difficult. That 99.6% of 10 433 males in the pre-IOS catch were also reported to be of legal size, indicates that illegal catches were not confined to females. We caution that the Japanese sperm whale data in the IWC Catch Database are unreliable and should not be used in population assessments. The ease with which illegal catches were apparently made underscores the past failures of the IWC to effectively regulate whaling. PMID:27703712

  6. Intrinsic Compressibility of Sperm Whale Myoglobin Determined from High-Pressure Crystallographic Structures

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Clark, Jeremy

    2005-04-01

    Myoglobin, considered a paradigm for biocomplexity, may serve as a model system for studying the role of cavities and volume fluctuations in proteins. Volume fluctuations are directly probed by pressure via the compressibility. While the physico-chemical basis for pressure effects is well established, effects in structurally complex systems have yet to be fully explored. Biocomplexity can lead to significant effects at moderate, kilo-atmosphere pressures, and is the reason detailed structural information under pressure is needed to understand pressure effects in proteins and other biological systems. Structural determination of proteins at kilo-atmosphere pressures using x-ray crystallography is a powerful method for investigating the effects of pressure on structure. Here we present results quantifying the spatial distribution of intrinsic compressibility in sperm whale myoglobin calculated from crystallographic structures solved at ambient and at 1500 atm pressures.

  7. Potential enhanced ability of giant squid to detect sperm whales is an exaptation tied to their large body size.

    PubMed

    Schmitz, Lars; Motani, Ryosuke; Oufiero, Christopher E; Martin, Christopher H; McGee, Matthew D; Wainwright, Peter C

    2013-10-15

    It has been hypothesized that sperm whale predation is the driver of eye size evolution in giant squid. Given that the eyes of giant squid have the size expected for a squid this big, it is likely that any enhanced ability of giant squid to detect whales is an exaptation tied to their body size. Future studies should target the mechanism behind the evolution of large body size, not eye size. Reconstructions of the evolutionary history of selective regime, eye size, optical performance, and body size will improve the understanding of the evolution of large eyes in large ocean animals.

  8. Potential enhanced ability of giant squid to detect sperm whales is an exaptation tied to their large body size

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    It has been hypothesized that sperm whale predation is the driver of eye size evolution in giant squid. Given that the eyes of giant squid have the size expected for a squid this big, it is likely that any enhanced ability of giant squid to detect whales is an exaptation tied to their body size. Future studies should target the mechanism behind the evolution of large body size, not eye size. Reconstructions of the evolutionary history of selective regime, eye size, optical performance, and body size will improve the understanding of the evolution of large eyes in large ocean animals. PMID:24127991

  9. Acoustic and visual surveys for bowhead whales in the western Beaufort and far northeastern Chukchi seas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moore, Sue E.; Stafford, Kathleen M.; Munger, Lisa M.

    2010-01-01

    Two types of passive-acoustic survey were conducted to investigate the seasonal occurrence of bowhead whales ( Balaena mysticetus) in the western Beaufort and far northeastern Chukchi seas: (1) an over-winter (2003-04) survey using autonomous recorders deployed northeast of Barrow, Alaska, and (2) a summertime dipping-hydrophone survey along the 2005 NOAA Ocean Exploration (OE) cruise track northwest of Barrow. The longest continuous sampling period from the over-winter survey was 3 October 2003 to 12 May 2004. During that period, bowhead whale calls were recorded from 3 to 23 October, intermittently on 6-7 and 22-23 November, then not again until 25 March 2004. Bowhead calls were recorded almost every hour from 19 April to 12 May 2004, with a call rate peak on 30 April ( ca. 9400 calls) and a few instances of patterned calling (or, "song") detected in early May. Bowhead whale calls were never detected during the NOAA OE cruise, but calls of beluga whales ( Delphinapterus leucas) were recorded at 3 of 16 acoustic stations. Opportunistic visual surveys for marine mammals were also conducted during the NOAA OE cruise from the ship (65 h) and helicopter (7.8 h), resulting in single sightings of bowhead whales (3-5 whales), beluga (16-20 whales), walrus (1), polar bear (2=sow/cub), and 17 sightings of 87 ringed seals from the ship and 15 sightings of 67 ringed seals from the helicopter.

  10. Trackline and point detection probabilities for acoustic surveys of Cuvier's and Blainville's beaked whales.

    PubMed

    Barlow, Jay; Tyack, Peter L; Johnson, Mark P; Baird, Robin W; Schorr, Gregory S; Andrews, Russel D; Aguilar de Soto, Natacha

    2013-09-01

    Acoustic survey methods can be used to estimate density and abundance using sounds produced by cetaceans and detected using hydrophones if the probability of detection can be estimated. For passive acoustic surveys, probability of detection at zero horizontal distance from a sensor, commonly called g(0), depends on the temporal patterns of vocalizations. Methods to estimate g(0) are developed based on the assumption that a beaked whale will be detected if it is producing regular echolocation clicks directly under or above a hydrophone. Data from acoustic recording tags placed on two species of beaked whales (Cuvier's beaked whale-Ziphius cavirostris and Blainville's beaked whale-Mesoplodon densirostris) are used to directly estimate the percentage of time they produce echolocation clicks. A model of vocal behavior for these species as a function of their diving behavior is applied to other types of dive data (from time-depth recorders and time-depth-transmitting satellite tags) to indirectly determine g(0) in other locations for low ambient noise conditions. Estimates of g(0) for a single instant in time are 0.28 [standard deviation (s.d.) = 0.05] for Cuvier's beaked whale and 0.19 (s.d. = 0.01) for Blainville's beaked whale.

  11. Small-scale spatial variability of sperm and sei whales in relation to oceanographic and topographic features along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Skov, H.; Gunnlaugsson, T.; Budgell, W. P.; Horne, J.; Nøttestad, L.; Olsen, E.; Søiland, H.; Víkingsson, G.; Waring, G.

    2008-01-01

    The 2004 Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR)-ECO expedition on the R.V. G.O. Sars provided the first opportunity to correlate oceanic distributions of cetaceans with synoptic acoustic (ADCP to 700 m depth, multi-beam echosounders) measurements of high-resolution, three-dimensional (3D) potential habitat (spatial scale<100 km). The identified habitat features were tested with independent observations from the Icelandic combined cetacean and redfish cruises in 2001 and 2003 using data from a 3D ocean general circulation model of the MAR region (Regional Oceans Modelling System (ROMS) model 5 km resolution). The spatial autocorrelation of sampled encounter rates of sperm Physeter macrocephalus and sei whales Balaenoptera borealis indicated scale-dependent variability in the distribution of both species. Despite the large area surveyed, the observations of both species exhibited a strong small-scale structure (range parameter 20-50 km), indicating affinities to cross-seamount or cross-frontal structures. Potential cross-seamount and cross-frontal habitat structures were derived from the acoustic transect data by analysing fine-scale gradients in the 3D flow patterns and bathymetry, including interactions between frontal and topographic parameters. PLS regression was used to determine the potential habitat drivers of sperm and sei whales, both during the G.O. Sars cruise and during the Icelandic cruises in 2001 and 2003. The selected parameters, which reflected flow gradients interacting with the steep topography, were finally applied for modelling the habitat suitability of both target species along the northern MAR using Ecological Niche Factor Analysis. The results suggest aggregations of sperm and sei whales along the MAR are primarily associated with fine-scale frontal processes interacting with the topography in the upper 100 m of the water column just north of the Sub-Polar Front (SPF) and the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone (CGFZ). As moderate and high habitat suitabilities

  12. Acoustically detected year-round presence of right whales in an urbanized migration corridor.

    PubMed

    Morano, Janelle L; Rice, Aaron N; Tielens, Jamey T; Estabrook, Bobbi J; Murray, Anita; Roberts, Bethany L; Clark, Christopher W

    2012-08-01

    Species' conservation relies on understanding their seasonal habitats and migration routes. North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis), listed as endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, migrate from the southeastern U.S. coast to Cape Cod Bay, Massachusetts, a federally designated critical habitat, from February through May to feed. The whales then continue north across the Gulf of Maine to northern waters (e.g., Bay of Fundy). To enter Cape Cod Bay, right whales must traverse an area of dense shipping and fishing activity in Massachusetts Bay, where there are no mandatory regulations for the protection of right whales or management of their habitat. We used passive acoustic recordings of right whales collected in Massachusetts Bay from May 2007 through October 2010 to determine the annual spatial and temporal distribution of the whales and their calling activity. We detected right whales in the bay throughout the year, in contrast to results from visual surveys. Right whales were detected on at least 24% of days in each month, with the exception of June 2007, in which there were no detections. Averaged over all years, right whale calls were most abundant from February through May. During this period, calls were most frequent between 17:00 and 20:00 local time; no diel pattern was apparent in other months. The spatial distribution of the approximate locations of calling whales suggests they may use Massachusetts Bay as a conduit to Cape Cod Bay in the spring and as they move between the Gulf of Maine and waters to the south in September through December. Although it is unclear how dependent right whales are on the bay, the discovery of their widespread presence in Massachusetts Bay throughout the year suggests this region may need to be managed to reduce the probability of collisions with ships and entanglement in fishing gear.

  13. Passive acoustic monitoring of beaked whale densities in the Gulf of Mexico.

    PubMed

    Hildebrand, John A; Baumann-Pickering, Simone; Frasier, Kaitlin E; Trickey, Jennifer S; Merkens, Karlina P; Wiggins, Sean M; McDonald, Mark A; Garrison, Lance P; Harris, Danielle; Marques, Tiago A; Thomas, Len

    2015-11-12

    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.

  14. Passive acoustic monitoring of beaked whale densities in the Gulf of Mexico

    PubMed Central

    Hildebrand, John A.; Baumann-Pickering, Simone; Frasier, Kaitlin E.; Trickey, Jennifer S.; Merkens, Karlina P.; Wiggins, Sean M.; McDonald, Mark A.; Garrison, Lance P.; Harris, Danielle; Marques, Tiago A.; Thomas, Len

    2015-01-01

    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. PMID:26559743

  15. Global mercury and selenium concentrations in skin from free-ranging sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus).

    PubMed

    Savery, Laura C; Evers, David C; Wise, Sandra S; Falank, Carolyne; Wise, James; Gianios, Christy; Kerr, Iain; Payne, Roger; Thompson, W Douglas; Perkins, Christopher; Zheng, Tongzhang; Zhu, Cairong; Benedict, Lucille; Wise, John Pierce

    2013-04-15

    Pollution of the ocean by mercury (Hg) is a global concern. Hg persists, bioaccumulates and is toxic putting high trophic consumers at risk. The sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus), is a sentinel of ocean health due to its wide distribution, longevity and high trophic level. Our aim was to survey Hg concentrations worldwide in the skin of free-ranging sperm whales considering region, gender and age. Samples were collected from 343 whales in 17 regions during the voyage of the research vessel, Odyssey, between 1999 and 2005. Skin was analyzed for total Hg and detected in all but three samples with a global mean of 2.5±0.1 μg g(-1) ranging from 0.1 to 16.0 μg g(-1). The Mediterranean Sea had the highest regional mean with 6.1 μg g(-1) followed by Australia with 3.5 μg g(-1). Considering gender, females and males did not have significantly different global Hg concentrations. The variation among regions for females was significantly different with highest levels in the Mediterranean and lowest in Sri Lanka; however, males were not significantly different among regions. Considering age in males, adults and subadults did not have significantly different Hg concentrations, and were not significantly different among regions. The toxic effects of these Hg concentrations are uncertain. Selenium (Se), an essential element, antagonizes Hg at equimolar amounts. We measured total Se concentrations and found detectable levels in all samples with a global mean of 33.1±1.1 μg g(-1) ranging from 2.5 to 179 μg g(-1). Se concentrations were found to be several fold higher than Hg concentrations with the average Se:Hg molar ratio being 59:1 and no correlation between the two elements. It is possible Hg is being detoxified in the skin by another mechanism. These data provide the first global analysis of Hg and Se concentrations in a free-ranging cetacean.

  16. Remote acoustic monitoring of North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis) reveals seasonal and diel variations in acoustic behavior.

    PubMed

    Matthews, Leanna P; McCordic, Jessica A; Parks, Susan E

    2014-01-01

    Remote acoustic monitoring is a non-invasive tool that can be used to study the distribution, behavior, and habitat use of sound-producing species. The North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) is an endangered baleen whale species that produces a variety of stereotyped acoustic signals. One of these signals, the "gunshot" sound, has only been recorded from adult male North Atlantic right whales and is thought to function for reproduction, either as reproductive advertisement for females or as an agonistic signal toward other males. This study uses remote acoustic monitoring to analyze the presence of gunshots over a two-year period at two sites on the Scotian Shelf to determine if there is evidence that North Atlantic right whales may use these locations for breeding activities. Seasonal analyses at both locations indicate that gunshot sound production is highly seasonal, with an increase in the autumn. One site, Roseway West, had significantly more gunshot sounds overall and exhibited a clear diel trend in production of these signals at night. The other site, Emerald South, also showed a seasonal increase in gunshot production during the autumn, but did not show any significant diel trend. This difference in gunshot signal production at the two sites indicates variation either in the number or the behavior of whales at each location. The timing of the observed seasonal increase in gunshot sound production is consistent with the current understanding of the right whale breeding season, and our results demonstrate that detection of gunshots with remote acoustic monitoring can be a reliable way to track shifts in distribution and changes in acoustic behavior including possible mating activities. PMID:24646524

  17. Remote acoustic monitoring of North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis) reveals seasonal and diel variations in acoustic behavior.

    PubMed

    Matthews, Leanna P; McCordic, Jessica A; Parks, Susan E

    2014-01-01

    Remote acoustic monitoring is a non-invasive tool that can be used to study the distribution, behavior, and habitat use of sound-producing species. The North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) is an endangered baleen whale species that produces a variety of stereotyped acoustic signals. One of these signals, the "gunshot" sound, has only been recorded from adult male North Atlantic right whales and is thought to function for reproduction, either as reproductive advertisement for females or as an agonistic signal toward other males. This study uses remote acoustic monitoring to analyze the presence of gunshots over a two-year period at two sites on the Scotian Shelf to determine if there is evidence that North Atlantic right whales may use these locations for breeding activities. Seasonal analyses at both locations indicate that gunshot sound production is highly seasonal, with an increase in the autumn. One site, Roseway West, had significantly more gunshot sounds overall and exhibited a clear diel trend in production of these signals at night. The other site, Emerald South, also showed a seasonal increase in gunshot production during the autumn, but did not show any significant diel trend. This difference in gunshot signal production at the two sites indicates variation either in the number or the behavior of whales at each location. The timing of the observed seasonal increase in gunshot sound production is consistent with the current understanding of the right whale breeding season, and our results demonstrate that detection of gunshots with remote acoustic monitoring can be a reliable way to track shifts in distribution and changes in acoustic behavior including possible mating activities.

  18. Echolocation in wild toothed whales

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tyack, Peter L.; Johnson, Mark; Madsen, Peter Teglberg; Zimmer, Walter M. X.

    2001-05-01

    Don Griffin showed more than 50 years ago that bats echolocate for orientation and to capture prey. Experiments also demonstrated that captive dolphins can echolocate; more recent work parallels Griffin's work with bats in the wild. Digital acoustic recording tags were attached to sperm and beaked whales, Ziphius cavirostris and Mesoplodon densirostris, to record outgoing clicks and incoming echoes. The sperm whale data show echoes from the sea surface and seafloor, which are probably used for orientation and obstacle avoidance. When diving, sperm whales adjust their interclick interval as they change their pitch angle, consistent with the hypothesis that they are echolocating on a horizontal layer at the depth at which they will feed. This suggests that they may be listening for volume reverberation to select a prey patch. The beam pattern of sperm whales includes a narrow, forward-directed high-frequency beam probably used for prey detection, and a broader, backward-directed lower-frequency beam probably used for orientation. Beaked whales produce directional clicks with peak frequencies in the 25-40-kHz region. Echoes from individual prey items have been detected from clicks of beaked whales. This opens a new window into the study of how animals use echolocation to forage in the wild.

  19. Annual Acoustic Presence of Fin Whale (Balaenoptera physalus) Offshore Eastern Sicily, Central Mediterranean Sea.

    PubMed

    Sciacca, Virginia; Caruso, Francesco; Beranzoli, Laura; Chierici, Francesco; De Domenico, Emilio; Embriaco, Davide; Favali, Paolo; Giovanetti, Gabriele; Larosa, Giuseppina; Marinaro, Giuditta; Papale, Elena; Pavan, Gianni; Pellegrino, Carmelo; Pulvirenti, Sara; Simeone, Francesco; Viola, Salvatore; Riccobene, Giorgio

    2015-01-01

    In recent years, an increasing number of surveys have definitively confirmed the seasonal presence of fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) in highly productive regions of the Mediterranean Sea. Despite this, very little is yet known about the routes that the species seasonally follows within the Mediterranean basin and, particularly, in the Ionian area. The present study assesses for the first time fin whale acoustic presence offshore Eastern Sicily (Ionian Sea), throughout the processing of about 10 months of continuous acoustic monitoring. The recording of fin whale vocalizations was made possible by the cabled deep-sea multidisciplinary observatory, "NEMO-SN1", deployed 25 km off the Catania harbor at a depth of about 2,100 meters. NEMO-SN1 is an operational node of the European Multidisciplinary Seafloor and water-column Observatory (EMSO) Research Infrastructure. The observatory was equipped with a low-frequency hydrophone (bandwidth: 0.05 Hz-1 kHz, sampling rate: 2 kHz) which continuously acquired data from July 2012 to May 2013. About 7,200 hours of acoustic data were analyzed by means of spectrogram display. Calls with the typical structure and patterns associated to the Mediterranean fin whale population were identified and monitored in the area for the first time. Furthermore, a background noise analysis within the fin whale communication frequency band (17.9-22.5 Hz) was conducted to investigate possible detection-masking effects. The study confirms the hypothesis that fin whales are present in the Ionian Sea throughout all seasons, with peaks in call detection rate during spring and summer months. The analysis also demonstrates that calls were more frequently detected in low background noise conditions. Further analysis will be performed to understand whether observed levels of noise limit the acoustic detection of the fin whales vocalizations, or whether the animals vocalize less in the presence of high background noise.

  20. Annual Acoustic Presence of Fin Whale (Balaenoptera physalus) Offshore Eastern Sicily, Central Mediterranean Sea

    PubMed Central

    Sciacca, Virginia; Caruso, Francesco; Beranzoli, Laura; Chierici, Francesco; De Domenico, Emilio; Embriaco, Davide; Favali, Paolo; Giovanetti, Gabriele; Larosa, Giuseppina; Marinaro, Giuditta; Papale, Elena; Pavan, Gianni; Pellegrino, Carmelo; Pulvirenti, Sara; Simeone, Francesco; Viola, Salvatore; Riccobene, Giorgio

    2015-01-01

    In recent years, an increasing number of surveys have definitively confirmed the seasonal presence of fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) in highly productive regions of the Mediterranean Sea. Despite this, very little is yet known about the routes that the species seasonally follows within the Mediterranean basin and, particularly, in the Ionian area. The present study assesses for the first time fin whale acoustic presence offshore Eastern Sicily (Ionian Sea), throughout the processing of about 10 months of continuous acoustic monitoring. The recording of fin whale vocalizations was made possible by the cabled deep-sea multidisciplinary observatory, “NEMO-SN1”, deployed 25 km off the Catania harbor at a depth of about 2,100 meters. NEMO-SN1 is an operational node of the European Multidisciplinary Seafloor and water-column Observatory (EMSO) Research Infrastructure. The observatory was equipped with a low-frequency hydrophone (bandwidth: 0.05 Hz–1 kHz, sampling rate: 2 kHz) which continuously acquired data from July 2012 to May 2013. About 7,200 hours of acoustic data were analyzed by means of spectrogram display. Calls with the typical structure and patterns associated to the Mediterranean fin whale population were identified and monitored in the area for the first time. Furthermore, a background noise analysis within the fin whale communication frequency band (17.9–22.5 Hz) was conducted to investigate possible detection-masking effects. The study confirms the hypothesis that fin whales are present in the Ionian Sea throughout all seasons, with peaks in call detection rate during spring and summer months. The analysis also demonstrates that calls were more frequently detected in low background noise conditions. Further analysis will be performed to understand whether observed levels of noise limit the acoustic detection of the fin whales vocalizations, or whether the animals vocalize less in the presence of high background noise. PMID:26581104

  1. A real-time method for autonomous passive acoustic detection-classification of humpback whales.

    PubMed

    Abbot, Ted A; Premus, Vincent E; Abbot, Philip A

    2010-05-01

    This paper describes a method for real-time, autonomous, joint detection-classification of humpback whale vocalizations. The approach adapts the spectrogram correlation method used by Mellinger and Clark [J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 107, 3518-3529 (2000)] for bowhead whale endnote detection to the humpback whale problem. The objective is the implementation of a system to determine the presence or absence of humpback whales with passive acoustic methods and to perform this classification with low false alarm rate in real time. Multiple correlation kernels are used due to the diversity of humpback song. The approach also takes advantage of the fact that humpbacks tend to vocalize repeatedly for extended periods of time, and identification is declared only when multiple song units are detected within a fixed time interval. Humpback whale vocalizations from Alaska, Hawaii, and Stellwagen Bank were used to train the algorithm. It was then tested on independent data obtained off Kaena Point, Hawaii in February and March of 2009. Results show that the algorithm successfully classified humpback whales autonomously in real time, with a measured probability of correct classification in excess of 74% and a measured probability of false alarm below 1%.

  2. Effects of duty-cycled passive acoustic recordings on detecting the presence of beaked whales in the northwest Atlantic.

    PubMed

    Stanistreet, Joy E; Nowacek, Douglas P; Read, Andrew J; Baumann-Pickering, Simone; Moors-Murphy, Hilary B; Van Parijs, Sofie M

    2016-07-01

    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. PMID:27475208

  3. An investigation of the roles of geomagnetic and acoustic cues in whale navigation and orientation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Allen, Ann Nichole

    Many species of whales migrate annually between high-latitude feeding grounds and low-latitude breeding grounds. Yet, very little is known about how these animals navigate during these migrations. This thesis takes a first look at the roles of geomagnetic and acoustic cues in humpback whale navigation and orientation, in addition to documenting some effects of human-produced sound on beaked whales. The tracks of satellite-tagged humpback whales migrating from Hawaii to Alaska were found to have systematic deviations from the most direct route to their destination. For each whale, a migration track was modeled using only geomagnetic inclination and intensity as navigation cues. The directions in which the observed and modeled tracks deviated from the direct route were compared and found to match for 7 out of 9 tracks, which suggests that migrating humpback whales may use geomagnetic cues for navigation. Additionally, in all cases the observed tracks followed a more direct route to the destination than the modeled tracks, indicating that the whales are likely using additional navigational cues to improve their routes. There is a significant amount of sound available in the ocean to aid in navigation and orientation of a migrating whale. This research investigates the possibility that humpback whales migrating near-shore listen to sounds of snapping shrimp to detect the presence of obstacles, such as rocky islands. A visual tracking study was used, together with hydrophone recordings near a rocky island, to determine whether the whales initiated an avoidance reaction at distances that varied with the acoustic detection range of the island. No avoidance reaction was found. Propagation modeling of the snapping shrimp sounds suggested that the detection range of the island was beyond the visual limit of the survey, indicating that snapping shrimp sounds may be suited as a long-range indicator of a rocky island. Lastly, this thesis identifies a prolonged avoidance

  4. Pilot Whales Attracted to Killer Whale Sounds: Acoustically-Mediated Interspecific Interactions in Cetaceans

    PubMed Central

    Curé, Charlotte; Antunes, Ricardo; Samarra, Filipa; Alves, Ana Catarina; Visser, Fleur; Kvadsheim, Petter H.; Miller, Patrick J. O.

    2012-01-01

    In cetaceans’ communities, interactions between individuals of different species are often observed in the wild. Yet, due to methodological and technical challenges very little is known about the mediation of these interactions and their effect on cetaceans’ behavior. Killer whales (Orcinus orca) are a highly vocal species and can be both food competitors and potential predators of many other cetaceans. Thus, the interception of their vocalizations by unintended cetacean receivers may be particularly important in mediating interspecific interactions. To address this hypothesis, we conducted playbacks of killer whale vocalizations recorded during herring-feeding activity to free-ranging long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala melas). Using a multi-sensor tag, we were able to track the whales and to monitor changes of their movements and social behavior in response to the playbacks. We demonstrated that the playback of killer whale sounds to pilot whales induced a clear increase in group size and a strong attraction of the animals towards the sound source. These findings provide the first experimental evidence that the interception of heterospecific vocalizations can mediate interactions between different cetacean species in previously unrecognized ways. PMID:23300613

  5. Pilot whales attracted to killer whale sounds: acoustically-mediated interspecific interactions in cetaceans.

    PubMed

    Curé, Charlotte; Antunes, Ricardo; Samarra, Filipa; Alves, Ana Catarina; Visser, Fleur; Kvadsheim, Petter H; Miller, Patrick J O

    2012-01-01

    In cetaceans' communities, interactions between individuals of different species are often observed in the wild. Yet, due to methodological and technical challenges very little is known about the mediation of these interactions and their effect on cetaceans' behavior. Killer whales (Orcinus orca) are a highly vocal species and can be both food competitors and potential predators of many other cetaceans. Thus, the interception of their vocalizations by unintended cetacean receivers may be particularly important in mediating interspecific interactions. To address this hypothesis, we conducted playbacks of killer whale vocalizations recorded during herring-feeding activity to free-ranging long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala melas). Using a multi-sensor tag, we were able to track the whales and to monitor changes of their movements and social behavior in response to the playbacks. We demonstrated that the playback of killer whale sounds to pilot whales induced a clear increase in group size and a strong attraction of the animals towards the sound source. These findings provide the first experimental evidence that the interception of heterospecific vocalizations can mediate interactions between different cetacean species in previously unrecognized ways.

  6. Effects of different analysis techniques and recording duty cycles on passive acoustic monitoring of killer whales.

    PubMed

    Riera, Amalis; Ford, John K; Ross Chapman, N

    2013-09-01

    Killer whales in British Columbia are at risk, and little is known about their winter distribution. Passive acoustic monitoring of their year-round habitat is a valuable supplemental method to traditional visual and photographic surveys. However, long-term acoustic studies of odontocetes have some limitations, including the generation of large amounts of data that require highly time-consuming processing. There is a need to develop tools and protocols to maximize the efficiency of such studies. Here, two types of analysis, real-time and long term spectral averages, were compared to assess their performance at detecting killer whale calls in long-term acoustic recordings. In addition, two different duty cycles, 1/3 and 2/3, were tested. Both the use of long term spectral averages and a lower duty cycle resulted in a decrease in call detection and positive pod identification, leading to underestimations of the amount of time the whales were present. The impact of these limitations should be considered in future killer whale acoustic surveys. A compromise between a lower resolution data processing method and a higher duty cycle is suggested for maximum methodological efficiency.

  7. Effects of different analysis techniques and recording duty cycles on passive acoustic monitoring of killer whales.

    PubMed

    Riera, Amalis; Ford, John K; Ross Chapman, N

    2013-09-01

    Killer whales in British Columbia are at risk, and little is known about their winter distribution. Passive acoustic monitoring of their year-round habitat is a valuable supplemental method to traditional visual and photographic surveys. However, long-term acoustic studies of odontocetes have some limitations, including the generation of large amounts of data that require highly time-consuming processing. There is a need to develop tools and protocols to maximize the efficiency of such studies. Here, two types of analysis, real-time and long term spectral averages, were compared to assess their performance at detecting killer whale calls in long-term acoustic recordings. In addition, two different duty cycles, 1/3 and 2/3, were tested. Both the use of long term spectral averages and a lower duty cycle resulted in a decrease in call detection and positive pod identification, leading to underestimations of the amount of time the whales were present. The impact of these limitations should be considered in future killer whale acoustic surveys. A compromise between a lower resolution data processing method and a higher duty cycle is suggested for maximum methodological efficiency. PMID:23968036

  8. Common humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) sound types for passive acoustic monitoring.

    PubMed

    Stimpert, Alison K; Au, Whitlow W L; Parks, Susan E; Hurst, Thomas; Wiley, David N

    2011-01-01

    Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) are one of several baleen whale species in the Northwest Atlantic that coexist with vessel traffic and anthropogenic noise. Passive acoustic monitoring strategies can be used in conservation management, but the first step toward understanding the acoustic behavior of a species is a good description of its acoustic repertoire. Digital acoustic tags (DTAGs) were placed on humpback whales in the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary to record and describe the non-song sounds being produced in conjunction with foraging activities. Peak frequencies of sounds were generally less than 1 kHz, but ranged as high as 6 kHz, and sounds were generally less than 1 s in duration. Cluster analysis distilled the dataset into eight groups of sounds with similar acoustic properties. The two most stereotyped and distinctive types ("wops" and "grunts") were also identified aurally as candidates for use in passive acoustic monitoring. This identification of two of the most common sound types will be useful for moving forward conservation efforts on this Northwest Atlantic feeding ground.

  9. Toward the social and acoustic ecology of social foraging humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in southeast Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hanser, Sean Frederick Thurman

    The humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) is an endangered species of baleen whale found throughout the world. A subset of the Polynesian population of humpbacks that migrates to Southeast Alaska participates in the group foraging activity known as "bubble-net feeding." We applied social network analysis to eight years of observations of co-occurrence to understand the social organization of bubble-net feeding whales. Results indicate that there are two large communities in Southeast Alaska that inhabit geographically distinct areas. Among social foraging humpbacks, there is a high degree of preference for affiliating with individuals from the same community. There are three types of whales in the communities: (1) "core" members who eat herring consistently, (2) intermittent members that were observed participating irregularly, and (3) one-season participators. One of the specialized roles that some whales assume during bubble-net feeding is that of the whale who vocalizes to manipulate prey. We focused on the vocalizations produced by there task-specialists to see if we could classify distinct types of feeding calls. Classification and regression trees confirmed that most feeding calls were classifiable based on stable acoustic differences among the calls. The acoustic features that played the largest role in classifying calls were the mean and standard deviation of call formants, also known as harmonies. Formants are acoustic features that are stable within individual vocalizers. This indicates that the classification technique may provide a reliable method for identifying individual whales acoustically. Humpback vocal behavior is integral to bubble-net feeding and could be affected by vessel noise during social foraging. We subjected feeding humpbacks to moderate levels of vessel noise from small boats. The humpbacks increased the length of spaces between individual vocalizations but did rot increase the overall length of vocal bouts. Contrary to expectations

  10. Structure, material characteristics and function of the upper respiratory tract of the pygmy sperm whale.

    PubMed

    Davenport, John; Cotter, Liz; Rogan, Emer; Kelliher, Denis; Murphy, Colm

    2013-12-15

    Cetaceans are neckless, so the trachea is very short. The upper respiratory tract is separate from the mouth and pharynx, and the dorsal blowhole connects, via the vestibular and nasopalatine cavities, directly to the larynx. Toothed cetaceans (Odontoceti) are capable of producing sounds at depth, either for locating prey or for communication. It has been suggested that during dives, air from the lungs and upper respiratory tract can be moved to the vestibular and nasal cavities to permit sound generation to continue when air volume within these cavities decreases as ambient pressure rises. The pygmy sperm whale, Kogia breviceps, is a deep diver (500-1000 m) that is known to produce hunting clicks. Our study of an immature female shows that the upper respiratory tract is highly asymmetrical: the trachea and bronchi are extremely compressible, whereas the larynx is much more rigid. Laryngeal and tracheal volumes were established. Calculations based on Boyle's Law imply that all air from the lungs and bronchi would be transferred to the larynx and trachea by a depth of 270 m and that the larynx itself could not accommodate all respiratory air mass at a depth of 1000 m. This suggests that no respiratory air would be available for vocalisation. However, the bronchi, trachea and part of the larynx have a thick vascular lining featuring large, thin-walled vessels. We propose that these vessels may become dilated during dives to reduce the volume of the upper respiratory tract, permitting forward transfer of air through the larynx. PMID:24072789

  11. Structure, material characteristics and function of the upper respiratory tract of the pygmy sperm whale.

    PubMed

    Davenport, John; Cotter, Liz; Rogan, Emer; Kelliher, Denis; Murphy, Colm

    2013-12-15

    Cetaceans are neckless, so the trachea is very short. The upper respiratory tract is separate from the mouth and pharynx, and the dorsal blowhole connects, via the vestibular and nasopalatine cavities, directly to the larynx. Toothed cetaceans (Odontoceti) are capable of producing sounds at depth, either for locating prey or for communication. It has been suggested that during dives, air from the lungs and upper respiratory tract can be moved to the vestibular and nasal cavities to permit sound generation to continue when air volume within these cavities decreases as ambient pressure rises. The pygmy sperm whale, Kogia breviceps, is a deep diver (500-1000 m) that is known to produce hunting clicks. Our study of an immature female shows that the upper respiratory tract is highly asymmetrical: the trachea and bronchi are extremely compressible, whereas the larynx is much more rigid. Laryngeal and tracheal volumes were established. Calculations based on Boyle's Law imply that all air from the lungs and bronchi would be transferred to the larynx and trachea by a depth of 270 m and that the larynx itself could not accommodate all respiratory air mass at a depth of 1000 m. This suggests that no respiratory air would be available for vocalisation. However, the bronchi, trachea and part of the larynx have a thick vascular lining featuring large, thin-walled vessels. We propose that these vessels may become dilated during dives to reduce the volume of the upper respiratory tract, permitting forward transfer of air through the larynx.

  12. The giant eyes of giant squid are indeed unexpectedly large, but not if used for spotting sperm whales

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background We recently reported (Curr Biol 22:683–688, 2012) that the eyes of giant and colossal squid can grow to three times the diameter of the eyes of any other animal, including large fishes and whales. As an explanation to this extreme absolute eye size, we developed a theory for visual performance in aquatic habitats, leading to the conclusion that the huge eyes of giant and colossal squid are uniquely suited for detection of sperm whales, which are important squid-predators in the depths where these squid live. A paper in this journal by Schmitz et al. (BMC Evol Biol 13:45, 2013) refutes our conclusions on the basis of two claims: (1) using allometric data they argue that the eyes of giant and colossal squid are not unexpectedly large for the size of the squid, and (2) a revision of the values used for modelling indicates that large eyes are not better for detection of approaching sperm whales than they are for any other task. Results and conclusions We agree with Schmitz et al. that their revised values for intensity and abundance of planktonic bioluminescence may be more realistic, or at least more appropriately conservative, but argue that their conclusions are incorrect because they have not considered some of the main arguments put forward in our paper. We also present new modelling to demonstrate that our conclusions remain robust, even with the revised input values suggested by Schmitz et al. PMID:24010674

  13. Temporal patterns in the acoustic signals of beaked whales at Cross Seamount.

    PubMed

    Johnston, D W; McDonald, M; Polovina, J; Domokos, R; Wiggins, S; Hildebrand, J

    2008-04-23

    Seamounts may influence the distribution of marine mammals through a combination of increased ocean mixing, enhanced local productivity and greater prey availability. To study the effects of seamounts on the presence and acoustic behaviour of cetaceans, we deployed a high-frequency acoustic recording package on the summit of Cross Seamount during April through October 2005. The most frequently detected cetacean vocalizations were echolocation sounds similar to those produced by ziphiid and mesoplodont beaked whales together with buzz-type signals consistent with prey-capture attempts. Beaked whale signals occurred almost entirely at night throughout the six-month deployment. Measurements of prey presence with a Simrad EK-60 fisheries acoustics echo sounder indicate that Cross Seamount may enhance local productivity in near-surface waters. Concentrations of micronekton were aggregated over the seamount in near-surface waters at night, and dense concentrations of nekton were detected across the surface of the summit. Our results suggest that seamounts may provide enhanced foraging opportunities for beaked whales during the night through a combination of increased productivity, vertical migrations by micronekton and local retention of prey. Furthermore, the summit of the seamount may act as a barrier against which whales concentrate prey. PMID:18252660

  14. Temporal patterns in the acoustic signals of beaked whales at Cross Seamount.

    PubMed

    Johnston, D W; McDonald, M; Polovina, J; Domokos, R; Wiggins, S; Hildebrand, J

    2008-04-23

    Seamounts may influence the distribution of marine mammals through a combination of increased ocean mixing, enhanced local productivity and greater prey availability. To study the effects of seamounts on the presence and acoustic behaviour of cetaceans, we deployed a high-frequency acoustic recording package on the summit of Cross Seamount during April through October 2005. The most frequently detected cetacean vocalizations were echolocation sounds similar to those produced by ziphiid and mesoplodont beaked whales together with buzz-type signals consistent with prey-capture attempts. Beaked whale signals occurred almost entirely at night throughout the six-month deployment. Measurements of prey presence with a Simrad EK-60 fisheries acoustics echo sounder indicate that Cross Seamount may enhance local productivity in near-surface waters. Concentrations of micronekton were aggregated over the seamount in near-surface waters at night, and dense concentrations of nekton were detected across the surface of the summit. Our results suggest that seamounts may provide enhanced foraging opportunities for beaked whales during the night through a combination of increased productivity, vertical migrations by micronekton and local retention of prey. Furthermore, the summit of the seamount may act as a barrier against which whales concentrate prey.

  15. Minke whale song, spacing, and acoustic communication on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gedamke, Jason

    An inquisitive population of minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata ) that concentrates on the Great Barrier Reef during its suspected breeding season offered a unique opportunity to conduct a multi-faceted study of a little-known Balaenopteran species' acoustic behavior. Chapter one investigates whether the minke whale is the source of an unusual, complex, and stereotyped sound recorded, the "star-wars" vocalization. A hydrophone array was towed from a vessel to record sounds from circling whales for subsequent localization of sound sources. These acoustic locations were matched with shipboard and in-water observations of the minke whale, demonstrating the minke whale was the source of this unusual sound. Spectral and temporal features of this sound and the source levels at which it is produced are described. The repetitive "star-wars" vocalization appears similar to the songs of other whale species and has characteristics consistent with reproductive advertisement displays. Chapter two investigates whether song (i.e. the "star-wars" vocalization) has a spacing function through passive monitoring of singer spatial patterns with a moored five-sonobuoy array. Active song playback experiments to singers were also conducted to further test song function. This study demonstrated that singers naturally maintain spatial separations between them through a nearest-neighbor analysis and animated tracks of singer movements. In response to active song playbacks, singers generally moved away and repeated song more quickly suggesting that song repetition interval may help regulate spatial interaction and singer separation. These results further indicate the Great Barrier Reef may be an important reproductive habitat for this species. Chapter three investigates whether song is part of a potentially graded repertoire of acoustic signals. Utilizing both vessel-based recordings and remote recordings from the sonobuoy array, temporal and spectral features, source levels, and

  16. Calling in the Cold: Pervasive Acoustic Presence of Humpback Whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in Antarctic Coastal Waters

    PubMed Central

    Van Opzeeland, Ilse; Van Parijs, Sofie; Kindermann, Lars; Burkhardt, Elke; Boebel, Olaf

    2013-01-01

    Humpback whales migrate between relatively unproductive tropical or temperate breeding grounds and productive high latitude feeding areas. However, not all individuals of a population undertake the annual migration to the breeding grounds; instead some are thought to remain on the feeding grounds year-round, presumably to avoid the energetic demands of migration. In the Southern Hemisphere, ice and inclement weather conditions restrict investigations of humpback whale presence on feeding grounds as well as the extent of their southern range. Two years of near-continuous recordings from the PerenniAL Acoustic Observatory in the Antarctic Ocean (PALAOA, Ekström Iceshelf, 70°31’S, 8°13’W) are used to explore the acoustic presence of humpback whales in an Antarctic coastal area. Humpback whale calls were present during nine and eleven months of 2008 and 2009, respectively. In 2008, calls were present in January through April, June through August, November and December, whereas in 2009, calls were present throughout the year, except in September. Calls occurred in un-patterned sequences, representing non-song sound production. Typically, calls occurred in bouts, ranging from 2 to 42 consecutive days with February, March and April having the highest daily occurrence of calls in 2008. In 2009, February, March, April and May had the highest daily occurrence of calls. Whales were estimated to be within a 100 km radius off PALAOA. Calls were also present during austral winter when ice cover within this radius was >90%. These results demonstrate that coastal areas near the Antarctic continent are likely of greater importance to humpback whales than previously assumed, presumably providing food resources year-round and open water in winter where animals can breathe. PMID:24039844

  17. Calling in the cold: pervasive acoustic presence of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in Antarctic coastal waters.

    PubMed

    Van Opzeeland, Ilse; Van Parijs, Sofie; Kindermann, Lars; Burkhardt, Elke; Boebel, Olaf

    2013-01-01

    Humpback whales migrate between relatively unproductive tropical or temperate breeding grounds and productive high latitude feeding areas. However, not all individuals of a population undertake the annual migration to the breeding grounds; instead some are thought to remain on the feeding grounds year-round, presumably to avoid the energetic demands of migration. In the Southern Hemisphere, ice and inclement weather conditions restrict investigations of humpback whale presence on feeding grounds as well as the extent of their southern range. Two years of near-continuous recordings from the PerenniAL Acoustic Observatory in the Antarctic Ocean (PALAOA, Ekström Iceshelf, 70°31'S, 8°13'W) are used to explore the acoustic presence of humpback whales in an Antarctic coastal area. Humpback whale calls were present during nine and eleven months of 2008 and 2009, respectively. In 2008, calls were present in January through April, June through August, November and December, whereas in 2009, calls were present throughout the year, except in September. Calls occurred in un-patterned sequences, representing non-song sound production. Typically, calls occurred in bouts, ranging from 2 to 42 consecutive days with February, March and April having the highest daily occurrence of calls in 2008. In 2009, February, March, April and May had the highest daily occurrence of calls. Whales were estimated to be within a 100 km radius off PALAOA. Calls were also present during austral winter when ice cover within this radius was >90%. These results demonstrate that coastal areas near the Antarctic continent are likely of greater importance to humpback whales than previously assumed, presumably providing food resources year-round and open water in winter where animals can breathe. PMID:24039844

  18. pH-dependent stability of sperm whale myoglobin in water-guanidine hydrochloride solutions.

    PubMed

    Shosheva, A; Miteva, M; Christova, P; Atanasov, B

    2003-02-01

    An experimental-theoretical approach for the elucidation of protein stability is proposed. The theoretical prediction of pH-dependent protein stability is based on the macroscopic electrostatic model for calculation of the pH-dependent electrostatic free energy of proteins. As a test of the method we have considered the pH-dependent stability of sperm whale metmyoglobin. Two theoretical methods for evaluation of the electrostatic free energy and p K values are applied: the finite-difference Poisson-Boltzmann method and the semiempirical approach based on the modified Tanford-Kirkwood theory. The theoretical results for electrostatic free energy of unfolding are compared with the experimental data for guanidine hydrochloride unfolding under equilibrium conditions over a wide pH range. Using the optical parameters of the Soret absorbance to monitor conformational equilibrium and Tanford's method to estimate the resulting data, it was found that the conformational free energy of unfolding of metmyoglobin is 16.3 kcal mol(-1) at neutral pH values. The total unfolding free energies were calculated on the basis of the theoretically predicted electrostatic unfolding free energies and the experimentally measured midpoints (pH(1/2)) of acidic and alkaline denaturation transitions. Experimental data for alkaline denaturation were used for the first time in theoretical analysis of the pH-dependent unfolding of myoglobin. The present results demonstrate that the simultaneous application of appropriate theoretical and experimental methods permits a more complete analysis of the pH-dependent and pH-independent properties and stability of globular proteins. PMID:12582821

  19. Acoustic and foraging behavior of a Baird's beaked whale, Berardius bairdii, exposed to simulated sonar.

    PubMed

    Stimpert, A K; DeRuiter, S L; Southall, B L; Moretti, D J; Falcone, E A; Goldbogen, J A; Friedlaender, A; Schorr, G S; Calambokidis, J

    2014-11-13

    Beaked whales are hypothesized to be particularly sensitive to anthropogenic noise, based on previous strandings and limited experimental and observational data. However, few species have been studied in detail. We describe the underwater behavior of a Baird's beaked whale (Berardius bairdii) from the first deployment of a multi-sensor acoustic tag on this species. The animal exhibited shallow (23 ± 15 m max depth), intermediate (324 ± 49 m), and deep (1138 ± 243 m) dives. Echolocation clicks were produced with a mean inter-click interval of approximately 300 ms and peak frequency of 25 kHz. Two deep dives included presumed foraging behavior, with echolocation pulsed sounds (presumed prey capture attempts) associated with increased maneuvering, and sustained inverted swimming during the bottom phase of the dive. A controlled exposure to simulated mid-frequency active sonar (3.5-4 kHz) was conducted 4 hours after tag deployment, and within 3 minutes of exposure onset, the tagged whale increased swim speed and body movement, and continued to show unusual dive behavior for each of its next three dives, one of each type. These are the first data on the acoustic foraging behavior in this largest beaked whale species, and the first experimental demonstration of a response to simulated sonar.

  20. The acoustic field of singing humpback whales in the vertical plane

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Au, Whitlow W. L.; Pack, Adam A.; Lammers, Marc O.; Herman, Louis; Andrews, Kimberly; Deakos, Mark

    2003-04-01

    A vertical array of five hydrophones was used to measure the acoustic field of singing humpback whales. Once a singer was located, two swimmers with snorkel gear were deployed to determine the orientation of the whale and to position the boat so that the array could be deployed in front of the whale at a minimum standoff distance of 10 m. The spacing of the hydrophones was 7 m with the deepest hydrophone deployed at depth of 35 m. An 8-channel TASCAM recorder having a bandwidth of 24 kHz was used to record the hydrophone signals. The location of the singer was determined by computing the time of arrival differences between the hydrophone signals. The maximum source level varied between individual units in a song, with values between 180 and 190 dB. The acoustic field determined by considering the relative intensity of higher frequency harmonics in the signals indicate that the sounds are projected in the horizontal direction with the singer's head canted downward 45 to 60°. High-frequency harmonics extended beyond 24 kHz, suggesting that humpback whales may have an upper frequency limit of hearing as high as 24 kHz.

  1. Acoustic and foraging behavior of a Baird's beaked whale, Berardius bairdii, exposed to simulated sonar.

    PubMed

    Stimpert, A K; DeRuiter, S L; Southall, B L; Moretti, D J; Falcone, E A; Goldbogen, J A; Friedlaender, A; Schorr, G S; Calambokidis, J

    2014-01-01

    Beaked whales are hypothesized to be particularly sensitive to anthropogenic noise, based on previous strandings and limited experimental and observational data. However, few species have been studied in detail. We describe the underwater behavior of a Baird's beaked whale (Berardius bairdii) from the first deployment of a multi-sensor acoustic tag on this species. The animal exhibited shallow (23 ± 15 m max depth), intermediate (324 ± 49 m), and deep (1138 ± 243 m) dives. Echolocation clicks were produced with a mean inter-click interval of approximately 300 ms and peak frequency of 25 kHz. Two deep dives included presumed foraging behavior, with echolocation pulsed sounds (presumed prey capture attempts) associated with increased maneuvering, and sustained inverted swimming during the bottom phase of the dive. A controlled exposure to simulated mid-frequency active sonar (3.5-4 kHz) was conducted 4 hours after tag deployment, and within 3 minutes of exposure onset, the tagged whale increased swim speed and body movement, and continued to show unusual dive behavior for each of its next three dives, one of each type. These are the first data on the acoustic foraging behavior in this largest beaked whale species, and the first experimental demonstration of a response to simulated sonar. PMID:25391309

  2. Acoustic and foraging behavior of a Baird's beaked whale, Berardius bairdii, exposed to simulated sonar

    PubMed Central

    Stimpert, A. K.; DeRuiter, S. L.; Southall, B. L.; Moretti, D. J.; Falcone, E. A.; Goldbogen, J. A.; Friedlaender, A.; Schorr, G. S.; Calambokidis, J.

    2014-01-01

    Beaked whales are hypothesized to be particularly sensitive to anthropogenic noise, based on previous strandings and limited experimental and observational data. However, few species have been studied in detail. We describe the underwater behavior of a Baird's beaked whale (Berardius bairdii) from the first deployment of a multi-sensor acoustic tag on this species. The animal exhibited shallow (23 ± 15 m max depth), intermediate (324 ± 49 m), and deep (1138 ± 243 m) dives. Echolocation clicks were produced with a mean inter-click interval of approximately 300 ms and peak frequency of 25 kHz. Two deep dives included presumed foraging behavior, with echolocation pulsed sounds (presumed prey capture attempts) associated with increased maneuvering, and sustained inverted swimming during the bottom phase of the dive. A controlled exposure to simulated mid-frequency active sonar (3.5–4 kHz) was conducted 4 hours after tag deployment, and within 3 minutes of exposure onset, the tagged whale increased swim speed and body movement, and continued to show unusual dive behavior for each of its next three dives, one of each type. These are the first data on the acoustic foraging behavior in this largest beaked whale species, and the first experimental demonstration of a response to simulated sonar. PMID:25391309

  3. Sometimes Sperm Whales (Physeter macrocephalus) Cannot Find Their Way Back to the High Seas: A Multidisciplinary Study on a Mass Stranding

    PubMed Central

    Mazzariol, Sandro; Di Guardo, Giovanni; Petrella, Antonio; Marsili, Letizia; Fossi, Cristina M.; Leonzio, Claudio; Zizzo, Nicola; Vizzini, Salvatrice; Gaspari, Stefania; Pavan, Gianni; Podestà, Michela; Garibaldi, Fulvio; Ferrante, Margherita; Copat, Chiara; Traversa, Donato; Marcer, Federica; Airoldi, Sabina; Frantzis, Alexandros; De Bernaldo Quirós, Yara; Cozzi, Bruno; Fernández, Antonio

    2011-01-01

    Background Mass strandings of sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) remain peculiar and rather unexplained events, which rarely occur in the Mediterranean Sea. Solar cycles and related changes in the geomagnetic field, variations in water temperature and weather conditions, coast geographical features and human activities have been proposed as possible causes. In December 2009, a pod of seven male sperm whales stranded along the Adriatic coast of Southern Italy. This is the sixth instance from 1555 in this basin. Methodology/Principal Findings Complete necropsies were performed on three whales whose bodies were in good condition, carrying out on sampled tissues histopathology, virology, bacteriology, parasitology, and screening of veins looking for gas emboli. Furthermore, samples for age determination, genetic studies, gastric content evaluation, stable isotopes and toxicology were taken from all the seven specimens. The animals were part of the same group and determined by genetic and photo-identification to be part of the Mediterranean population. Causes of death did not include biological agents, or the “gas and fat embolic syndrome”, associated with direct sonar exposure. Environmental pollutant tissue concentrations were relatively high, in particular organochlorinated xenobiotics. Gastric content and morphologic tissue examinations showed a prolonged starvation, which likely caused, at its turn, the mobilization of lipophilic contaminants from the adipose tissue. Chemical compounds subsequently entered the blood circulation and may have impaired immune and nervous functions. Conclusions/Significance A multi-factorial cause underlying this sperm whales' mass stranding is proposed herein based upon the results of postmortem investigations as well as of the detailed analyses of the geographical and historical background. The seven sperm whales took the same “wrong way” into the Adriatic Sea, a potentially dangerous trap for Mediterranean sperm whales

  4. Assessing the coastal occurrence of endangered killer whales using autonomous passive acoustic recorders.

    PubMed

    Hanson, M Bradley; Emmons, Candice K; Ward, Eric J; Nystuen, Jeffrey A; Lammers, Marc O

    2013-11-01

    Using moored autonomous acoustic recorders to detect and record the vocalizations of social odonotocetes to determine their occurrence patterns is a non-invasive tool in the study of these species in remote locations. Acoustic recorders were deployed in seven locations on the continental shelf of the U.S. west coast from Cape Flattery, WA to Pt. Reyes, CA to detect and record endangered southern resident killer whales between January and June of 2006-2011. Detection rates of these whales were greater in 2009 and 2011 than in 2006-2008, were most common in the month of March, and occurred with the greatest frequency off the Columbia River and Westport, which was likely related to the presence of their most commonly consumed prey, Chinook salmon. The observed patterns of annual and monthly killer whale occurrence may be related to run strength and run timing, respectively, for spring Chinook returning to the Columbia River, the largest run in this region at this time of year. Acoustic recorders provided a unique, long-term, dataset that will be important to inform future consideration of Critical Habitat designation for this U.S. Endangered Species Act listed species.

  5. Assessing the coastal occurrence of endangered killer whales using autonomous passive acoustic recorders.

    PubMed

    Hanson, M Bradley; Emmons, Candice K; Ward, Eric J; Nystuen, Jeffrey A; Lammers, Marc O

    2013-11-01

    Using moored autonomous acoustic recorders to detect and record the vocalizations of social odonotocetes to determine their occurrence patterns is a non-invasive tool in the study of these species in remote locations. Acoustic recorders were deployed in seven locations on the continental shelf of the U.S. west coast from Cape Flattery, WA to Pt. Reyes, CA to detect and record endangered southern resident killer whales between January and June of 2006-2011. Detection rates of these whales were greater in 2009 and 2011 than in 2006-2008, were most common in the month of March, and occurred with the greatest frequency off the Columbia River and Westport, which was likely related to the presence of their most commonly consumed prey, Chinook salmon. The observed patterns of annual and monthly killer whale occurrence may be related to run strength and run timing, respectively, for spring Chinook returning to the Columbia River, the largest run in this region at this time of year. Acoustic recorders provided a unique, long-term, dataset that will be important to inform future consideration of Critical Habitat designation for this U.S. Endangered Species Act listed species. PMID:24180759

  6. Changes in Humpback Whale Song Occurrence in Response to an Acoustic Source 200 km Away

    PubMed Central

    Risch, Denise; Corkeron, Peter J.; Ellison, William T.; Van Parijs, Sofie M.

    2012-01-01

    The effect of underwater anthropogenic sound on marine mammals is of increasing concern. Here we show that humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) song in the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary (SBNMS) was reduced, concurrent with transmissions of an Ocean Acoustic Waveguide Remote Sensing (OAWRS) experiment approximately 200 km away. We detected the OAWRS experiment in SBNMS during an 11 day period in autumn 2006. We compared the occurrence of song for 11 days before, during and after the experiment with song over the same 33 calendar days in two later years. Using a quasi-Poisson generalized linear model (GLM), we demonstrate a significant difference in the number of minutes with detected song between periods and years. The lack of humpback whale song during the OAWRS experiment was the most substantial signal in the data. Our findings demonstrate the greatest published distance over which anthropogenic sound has been shown to affect vocalizing baleen whales, and the first time that active acoustic fisheries technology has been shown to have this effect. The suitability of Ocean Acoustic Waveguide Remote Sensing technology for in-situ, long term monitoring of marine ecosystems should be considered, bearing in mind its possible effects on non-target species, in particular protected species. PMID:22253769

  7. Influence of mercury and selenium chemistries on the progression of cardiomyopathy in pygmy sperm whales, Kogia breviceps.

    PubMed

    Bryan, Colleen E; Davis, W Clay; McFee, Wayne E; Neumann, Carola A; Schulte, Jennifer; Bossart, Gregory D; Christopher, Steven J

    2012-10-01

    More than half of pygmy sperm whales (Kogia breviceps) that strand exhibit signs of cardiomyopathy (CMP). Many factors may contribute to the development of idiopathic CMP in K. breviceps, including genetics, infectious agents, contaminants, biotoxins, and dietary intake (e.g. selenium, mercury, and pro-oxidants). This study assessed trace elements in K. breviceps at various stages of CMP progression using fresh frozen liver and heart samples collected from individuals that stranded along US Atlantic and Gulf coasts between 1993 and 2007. Standard addition calibration and collision cell inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) were employed for total Se analysis and pyrolysis atomic absorption (AA) was utilized for total Hg analysis to examine if the Se/Hg detoxification pathway inhibits the bioavailability of Se. Double spike speciated isotope dilution gas chromatography ICP-MS was utilized to measure methyl Hg and inorganic Hg. Immunoblot detection and colorimetric assays were used to assess protein oxidation status. Data collected on trace elements, selenoproteins, and oxidative status were evaluated in the context of animal life history and other complementary histological information to gain insight into the biochemical pathways contributing to the development of CMP in K. breviceps. Cardiomyopathy was only observed in adult pygmy sperm whales, predominantly in male animals. Both Hg:Se molar ratios and overall protein oxidation were greater in males than females and increased with progression of CMP.

  8. Coinfection and vertical transmission of Brucella and Morbillivirus in a neonatal sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) in Hawaii, USA.

    PubMed

    West, Kristi L; Levine, Gregg; Jacob, Jessica; Jensen, Brenda; Sanchez, Susan; Colegrove, Kathleen; Rotstein, David

    2015-01-01

    The viral genus Morbillivirus and the bacterial genus Brucella have emerged as important groups of pathogens that are known to affect cetacean health on a global scale, but neither pathogen has previously been reported from endangered sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus). A female neonate sperm whale stranded alive and died near Laie on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, US, in May of 2011. Congestion of the cerebrum and enlarged lymph nodes were noted on the gross necropsy. Microscopic findings included lymphoid depletion, chronic meningitis, and pneumonia, suggesting an in utero infection. Cerebrum, lung, umbilicus, and select lymph nodes (tracheobronchial and mediastinal) were positive for Brucella by PCR. Brucella sp. was also cultured from the cerebrum and from mediastinal and tracheobronchial lymph nodes. Twelve different tissues were screened for Morbillivirus by reverse-transcriptase (RT)-PCR and select tissues by immunohistochemistry, but only the tracheobronchial lymph node and spleen were positive by RT-PCR. Pathologic findings observed were likely a result of Brucella, but Morbillivirus may have played a key role in immune suppression of the mother and calf. The in utero infection in this individual strongly supports vertical transmission of both pathogens.

  9. Heme Distortions in Sperm-Whale Carbonmonoxy Myoglobin: Correlations between Rotational Strengths and Heme Distortions in MD-Generated Structures

    SciTech Connect

    KIEFL,CHRISTOPH; SCREERAMA,NARASIMHA; LU,YI; QIU,YAN; SHELNUTT,JOHN A.; WOODY,ROBERT W.

    2000-07-13

    The authors have investigated the effects of heme rotational isomerism in sperm-whale carbonmonoxy myoglobin using computational techniques. Several molecular dynamics simulations have been performed for the two rotational isomers A and B, which are related by a 180{degree} rotation around the {alpha}-{gamma} axis of the heme, of sperm-whale carbonmonoxy myoglobin in water. Both neutron diffraction and NMR structures were used as starting structures. In the absence of an experimental structure, the structure of isomer B was generated by rotating the heme in the structure of isomer A. Distortions of the heme from planarity were characterized by normal coordinate structural decomposition and by the angle of twist of the pyrrole rings from the heme plane. The heme distortions of the neutron diffraction structure were conserved in the MD trajectories, but in the NMR-based trajectories, where the heme distortions are less well defined, they differ from the original heme deformations. The protein matrix induced similar distortions on the heroes in orientations A and B. The results suggest that the binding site prefers a particular macrocycle conformation, and a 180{degree} rotation of the heme does not significantly alter the protein's preference for this conformation. The intrinsic rotational strengths of the two Soret transitions, separated according to their polarization in the heme plane, show strong correlations with the ruf-deformation and the average twist angle of the pyrrole rings. The total rotational strength, which includes contributions from the chromophores in the protein, shows a weaker correlation with heme distortions.

  10. Coinfection and vertical transmission of Brucella and Morbillivirus in a neonatal sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) in Hawaii, USA.

    PubMed

    West, Kristi L; Levine, Gregg; Jacob, Jessica; Jensen, Brenda; Sanchez, Susan; Colegrove, Kathleen; Rotstein, David

    2015-01-01

    The viral genus Morbillivirus and the bacterial genus Brucella have emerged as important groups of pathogens that are known to affect cetacean health on a global scale, but neither pathogen has previously been reported from endangered sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus). A female neonate sperm whale stranded alive and died near Laie on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, US, in May of 2011. Congestion of the cerebrum and enlarged lymph nodes were noted on the gross necropsy. Microscopic findings included lymphoid depletion, chronic meningitis, and pneumonia, suggesting an in utero infection. Cerebrum, lung, umbilicus, and select lymph nodes (tracheobronchial and mediastinal) were positive for Brucella by PCR. Brucella sp. was also cultured from the cerebrum and from mediastinal and tracheobronchial lymph nodes. Twelve different tissues were screened for Morbillivirus by reverse-transcriptase (RT)-PCR and select tissues by immunohistochemistry, but only the tracheobronchial lymph node and spleen were positive by RT-PCR. Pathologic findings observed were likely a result of Brucella, but Morbillivirus may have played a key role in immune suppression of the mother and calf. The in utero infection in this individual strongly supports vertical transmission of both pathogens. PMID:25390763

  11. Passive acoustic monitoring using a towed hydrophone array results in identification of a previously unknown beaked whale habitat.

    PubMed

    Yack, Tina M; Barlow, Jay; Calambokidis, John; Southall, Brandon; Coates, Shannon

    2013-09-01

    Beaked whales are diverse and species rich taxa. They spend the vast majority of their time submerged, regularly diving to depths of hundreds to thousands of meters, typically occur in small groups, and behave inconspicuously at the surface. These factors make them extremely difficult to detect using standard visual survey methods. However, recent advancements in acoustic detection capabilities have made passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) a viable alternative. Beaked whales can be discriminated from other odontocetes by the unique characteristics of their echolocation clicks. In 2009 and 2010, PAM methods using towed hydrophone arrays were tested. These methods proved highly effective for real-time detection of beaked whales in the Southern California Bight (SCB) and were subsequently implemented in 2011 to successfully detect and track beaked whales during the ongoing Southern California Behavioral Response Study. The three year field effort has resulted in (1) the successful classification and tracking of Cuvier's (Ziphius cavirostris), Baird's (Berardius bairdii), and unidentified Mesoplodon beaked whale species and (2) the identification of areas of previously unknown beaked whale habitat use. Identification of habitat use areas will contribute to a better understanding of the complex relationship between beaked whale distribution, occurrence, and preferred habitat characteristics on a relatively small spatial scale. These findings will also provide information that can be used to promote more effective management and conservation of beaked whales in the SCB, a heavily used Naval operation and training region.

  12. Beaked whale (Mesoplodon densirostris) passive acoustic detection in increasing ambient noise.

    PubMed

    Ward, Jessica; Jarvis, Susan; Moretti, David; Morrissey, Ronald; Dimarzio, Nancy; Johnson, Mark; Tyack, Peter; Thomas, Len; Marques, Tiago

    2011-02-01

    Passive acoustic detection is being increasingly used to monitor visually cryptic cetaceans such as Blainville's beaked whales (Mesoplodon densirostris) that may be especially sensitive to underwater sound. The efficacy of passive acoustic detection is traditionally characterized by the probability of detecting the animal's sound emissions as a function of signal-to-noise ratio. The probability of detection can be predicted using accepted, but not necessarily accurate, models of the underwater acoustic environment. Recent field studies combining far-field hydrophone arrays with on-animal acoustic recording tags have yielded the location and time of each sound emission from tagged animals, enabling in-situ measurements of the probability of detection. However, tagging studies can only take place in calm seas and so do not reflect the full range of ambient noise conditions under which passive acoustic detection may be used. Increased surface-generated noise from wind and wave interaction degrades the signal-to-noise ratio of animal sound receptions at a given distance leading to a reduction in probability of detection. This paper presents a case study simulating the effect of increasing ambient noise on detection of M. densirostris foraging clicks recorded from a tagged whale swimming in the vicinity of a deep-water, bottom-mounted hydrophone array.

  13. Vessel noise affects beaked whale behavior: results of a dedicated acoustic response study.

    PubMed

    Pirotta, Enrico; Milor, Rachael; Quick, Nicola; Moretti, David; Di Marzio, Nancy; Tyack, Peter; Boyd, Ian; Hastie, Gordon

    2012-01-01

    Some beaked whale species are susceptible to the detrimental effects of anthropogenic noise. Most studies have concentrated on the effects of military sonar, but other forms of acoustic disturbance (e.g. shipping noise) may disrupt behavior. An experiment involving the exposure of target whale groups to intense vessel-generated noise tested how these exposures influenced the foraging behavior of Blainville's beaked whales (Mesoplodon densirostris) in the Tongue of the Ocean (Bahamas). A military array of bottom-mounted hydrophones was used to measure the response based upon changes in the spatial and temporal pattern of vocalizations. The archived acoustic data were used to compute metrics of the echolocation-based foraging behavior for 16 targeted groups, 10 groups further away on the range, and 26 non-exposed groups. The duration of foraging bouts was not significantly affected by the exposure. Changes in the hydrophone over which the group was most frequently detected occurred as the animals moved around within a foraging bout, and their number was significantly less the closer the whales were to the sound source. Non-exposed groups also had significantly more changes in the primary hydrophone than exposed groups irrespective of distance. Our results suggested that broadband ship noise caused a significant change in beaked whale behavior up to at least 5.2 kilometers away from the vessel. The observed change could potentially correspond to a restriction in the movement of groups, a period of more directional travel, a reduction in the number of individuals clicking within the group, or a response to changes in prey movement.

  14. Vessel Noise Affects Beaked Whale Behavior: Results of a Dedicated Acoustic Response Study

    PubMed Central

    Pirotta, Enrico; Milor, Rachael; Quick, Nicola; Moretti, David; Di Marzio, Nancy; Tyack, Peter; Boyd, Ian; Hastie, Gordon

    2012-01-01

    Some beaked whale species are susceptible to the detrimental effects of anthropogenic noise. Most studies have concentrated on the effects of military sonar, but other forms of acoustic disturbance (e.g. shipping noise) may disrupt behavior. An experiment involving the exposure of target whale groups to intense vessel-generated noise tested how these exposures influenced the foraging behavior of Blainville’s beaked whales (Mesoplodon densirostris) in the Tongue of the Ocean (Bahamas). A military array of bottom-mounted hydrophones was used to measure the response based upon changes in the spatial and temporal pattern of vocalizations. The archived acoustic data were used to compute metrics of the echolocation-based foraging behavior for 16 targeted groups, 10 groups further away on the range, and 26 non-exposed groups. The duration of foraging bouts was not significantly affected by the exposure. Changes in the hydrophone over which the group was most frequently detected occurred as the animals moved around within a foraging bout, and their number was significantly less the closer the whales were to the sound source. Non-exposed groups also had significantly more changes in the primary hydrophone than exposed groups irrespective of distance. Our results suggested that broadband ship noise caused a significant change in beaked whale behavior up to at least 5.2 kilometers away from the vessel. The observed change could potentially correspond to a restriction in the movement of groups, a period of more directional travel, a reduction in the number of individuals clicking within the group, or a response to changes in prey movement. PMID:22880022

  15. 21 CFR 173.275 - Hydrogenated sperm oil.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-04-01

    ... conditions: (a) The sperm oil is derived from rendering the fatty tissue of the sperm whale or is prepared by synthesis of fatty acids and fatty alcohols derived from the sperm whale. The sperm oil obtained...

  16. 21 CFR 173.275 - Hydrogenated sperm oil.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-04-01

    ... conditions: (a) The sperm oil is derived from rendering the fatty tissue of the sperm whale or is prepared by synthesis of fatty acids and fatty alcohols derived from the sperm whale. The sperm oil obtained...

  17. 21 CFR 173.275 - Hydrogenated sperm oil.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-04-01

    ... conditions: (a) The sperm oil is derived from rendering the fatty tissue of the sperm whale or is prepared by synthesis of fatty acids and fatty alcohols derived from the sperm whale. The sperm oil obtained...

  18. 1H-NMR comparative study of the active site in shark (Galeorhinus japonicus), horse, and sperm whale deoxy myoglobins.

    PubMed

    Yamamoto, Y; Iwafune, K; Chûjô, R; Inoue, Y; Imai, K; Suzuki, T

    1992-09-01

    1H-NMR spectra of deoxy myoglobins (Mbs) from shark (Galeorhinus japonicus), horse, and sperm whale have been studied to gain insights into their active site structure. It has been demonstrated for the first time that nuclear Overhauser effect (NOE) can be observed between heme peripheral side-chain proton resonances of these paramagnetic complexes. Val-E11 methyl and His-F8 C delta H proton resonances of these Mbs were also assigned from the characteristic shift and line width. The hyperfine shift of the former resonance was used to calculate the magnetic anisotropy of the protein. The shift analysis of the latter resonance, together with the previously assigned His-F8 N delta H proton resonance, revealed that the strain on the Fe-N epsilon bond is in the order horse Mb approximately whale Mb < shark Mb and that the hydrogen bond strength of the His-F8 N delta H proton to the main-chain carbonyl oxygen in the preceding turn of the F helix is in the order shark Mb < horse Mb < whale Mb. Weaker Feporphyrin interaction in shark Mb was manifested in a smaller shift of the heme methyl proton resonance and appears to result from distortion of the coordination geometry in this Mb. Larger strain on the Fe-N epsilon bond in shark Mb should be to some extent attributed to its lowered O2 affinity (P50 = 1.1 mmHg at 20 degrees C), compared to whale and horse Mbs.

  19. Estimating cetacean population density using fixed passive acoustic sensors: an example with Blainville's beaked whales.

    PubMed

    Marques, Tiago A; Thomas, Len; Ward, Jessica; DiMarzio, Nancy; Tyack, Peter L

    2009-04-01

    Methods are developed for estimating the size/density of cetacean populations using data from a set of fixed passive acoustic sensors. The methods convert the number of detected acoustic cues into animal density by accounting for (i) the probability of detecting cues, (ii) the rate at which animals produce cues, and (iii) the proportion of false positive detections. Additional information is often required for estimation of these quantities, for example, from an acoustic tag applied to a sample of animals. Methods are illustrated with a case study: estimation of Blainville's beaked whale density over a 6 day period in spring 2005, using an 82 hydrophone wide-baseline array located in the Tongue of the Ocean, Bahamas. To estimate the required quantities, additional data are used from digital acoustic tags, attached to five whales over 21 deep dives, where cues recorded on some of the dives are associated with those received on the fixed hydrophones. Estimated density was 25.3 or 22.5 animals/1000 km(2), depending on assumptions about false positive detections, with 95% confidence intervals 17.3-36.9 and 15.4-32.9. These methods are potentially applicable to a wide variety of marine and terrestrial species that are hard to survey using conventional visual methods.

  20. Acoustic effects of the ATOC signal (75 Hz, 195 dB) on dolphins and whales.

    PubMed

    Au, W W; Nachtigall, P E; Pawloski, J L

    1997-05-01

    The Acoustic Thermometry of Ocean Climate (ATOC) program of Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington, will broadcast a low-frequency 75-Hz phase modulated acoustic signal over ocean basins in order to study ocean temperatures on a global scale and examine the effects of global warming. One of the major concerns is the possible effect of the ATOC signal on marine life, especially on dolphins and whales. In order to address this issue, the hearing sensitivity of a false killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens) and a Risso's dolphin (Grampus griseus) to the ATOC sound was measured behaviorally. A staircase procedure with the signal levels being changed in 1-dB steps was used to measure the animals' threshold to the actual ATOC coded signal. The results indicate that small odontocetes such as the Pseudorca and Grampus swimming directly above the ATOC source will not hear the signal unless they dive to a depth of approximately 400 m. A sound propagation analysis suggests that the sound-pressure level at ranges greater than 0.5 km will be less than 130 dB for depths down to about 500 m. Several species of baleen whales produce sounds much greater than 170-180 dB. With the ATOC source on the axis of the deep sound channel (greater than 800 m), the ATOC signal will probably have minimal physical and physiological effects on cetaceans.

  1. Validation of the sperm quality analyzer and the hypo-osmotic swelling test for frozen-thawed ram and minke whale (Balaenoptera bonarensis) spermatozoa.

    PubMed

    Fukui, Yutaka; Togawa, Morihiko; Abe, Norihito; Takano, Yuuki; Asada, Masatsugu; Okada, Aki; Iida, Kenji; Ishikawa, Hajime; Ohsumi, Seiji

    2004-02-01

    The object of the present study was to investigate the validation of the sperm quality analyzer (SQA) and the hypo-osmotic swelling (HOS) test with standard sperm analysis methods in frozen-thawed ram and minke whale spermatozoa. In rams, highly significant correlations were observed in the percentage of motile spermatozoa (P<0.01) and sperm concentration (P<0.01) between the standard and SQA methods. But, the percentage of morphologically normal spermatozoa did not significantly correlate between the standard and SQA methods. The percentages of swollen spermatozoa at 15 minutes by the HOS test were significantly correlated with the motility by the standard (P<0.05) and by the SQA (P<0.05) methods. For minke whale spermatozoa, the SVI (sperm viability index) values by the standard method were significantly (P<0.001) correlated with the sperm motility index (SMI) values by SQA. The percentage of motile spermatozoa was also significantly correlated (P<0.01) with the motility measured by SQA. Using different hypo-osmotic solutions and incubation times, the HOS test with 25, 100 and 150 mOsM did not show significant variations. Motility observed by the standard method and the percentage of swollen spermatozoa were significantly correlated (P<0.05). These results indicate that the SQA and HOS test can be utilized to assess the post-thawing motility of ram and minke whale spermatozoa, and that the SQA and HOS test values are significantly correlated in ram spermatozoa. However, sperm concentration and morphologically normal spermatozoa are not assessed accurately by SQA in minke whales.

  2. Lipid class and depth-specific thermal properties in the blubber of the short-finned pilot whale and the pygmy sperm whale.

    PubMed

    Bagge, Laura E; Koopman, Heather N; Rommel, Sentiel A; McLellan, William A; Pabst, D A

    2012-12-15

    Blubber, the specialized hypodermis of cetaceans, provides thermal insulation through the quantity and quality of lipids it contains. Quality refers to percent lipid content; however, not all lipids are the same. Certain deep-diving cetacean groups possess blubber with lipids - wax esters (WE) - that are not typically found in mammals, and the insulative quality of 'waxy' blubber is unknown. Our study explored the influence of lipid storage class - specifically WE in pygmy sperm whales (Kogia breviceps; N=7) and typical mammalian triacylglycerols in short-finned pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus; N=7) - on blubber's thermal properties. Although the blubber of both species had similar total lipid contents, the thermal conductivity of G. macrorhynchus blubber (0.20±0.01 W m(-1) °C(-1)) was significantly higher than that of K. breviceps (0.15±0.01 W m(-1) °C(-1); P=0.0006). These results suggest that lipid class significantly influences the ability of blubber to resist heat flow. In addition, because the lipid content of blubber is known to be stratified, we measured its depth-specific thermal conductivities. In K. breviceps blubber, the depth-specific conductivity values tended to vary inversely with lipid content. In contrast, G. macrorhynchus blubber displayed unexpected depth-specific relationships between lipid content and conductivity, which suggests that temperature-dependent effects, such as melting, may be occurring. Differences in heat flux measurements across the depth of the blubber samples provide evidence that both species are capable of storing heat in their blubber. The function of blubber as an insulator is complex and may rely upon its lipid class, stratified composition and dynamic heat storage capabilities.

  3. Acoustic effects of the ATOC signal (75 Hz, 195 dB) on dolphins and whales

    SciTech Connect

    Au, W.W.; Nachtigall, P.E.; Pawloski, J.L.

    1997-05-01

    The Acoustic Thermometry of Ocean Climate (ATOC) program of Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington, will broadcast a low-frequency 75-Hz phase modulated acoustic signal over ocean basins in order to study ocean temperatures on a global scale and examine the effects of global warming. One of the major concerns is the possible effect of the ATOC signal on marine life, especially on dolphins and whales. In order to address this issue, the hearing sensitivity of a false killer whale ({ital Pseudorca crassidens}) and a Risso{close_quote}s dolphin ({ital Grampus griseus}) to the ATOC sound was measured behaviorally. A staircase procedure with the signal levels being changed in 1-dB steps was used to measure the animals{close_quote} threshold to the actual ATOC coded signal. The results indicate that small odontocetes such as the {ital Pseudorca} and {ital Grampus} swimming directly above the ATOC source will not hear the signal unless they dive to a depth of approximately 400 m. A sound propagation analysis suggests that the sound-pressure level at ranges greater than 0.5 km will be less than 130 dB for depths down to about 500 m. Several species of baleen whales produce sounds much greater than 170{endash}180 dB. With the ATOC source on the axis of the deep sound channel (greater than 800 m), the ATOC signal will probably have minimal physical and physiological effects on cetaceans. {copyright} {ital 1997 Acoustical Society of America.}

  4. Site specific probability of passive acoustic detection of humpback whale calls from single fixed hydrophones.

    PubMed

    Helble, Tyler A; D'Spain, Gerald L; Hildebrand, John A; Campbell, Gregory S; Campbell, Richard L; Heaney, Kevin D

    2013-09-01

    Passive acoustic monitoring of marine mammal calls is an increasingly important method for assessing population numbers, distribution, and behavior. A common mistake in the analysis of marine mammal acoustic data is formulating conclusions about these animals without first understanding how environmental properties such as bathymetry, sediment properties, water column sound speed, and ocean acoustic noise influence the detection and character of vocalizations in the acoustic data. The approach in this paper is to use Monte Carlo simulations with a full wave field acoustic propagation model to characterize the site specific probability of detection of six types of humpback whale calls at three passive acoustic monitoring locations off the California coast. Results show that the probability of detection can vary by factors greater than ten when comparing detections across locations, or comparing detections at the same location over time, due to environmental effects. Effects of uncertainties in the inputs to the propagation model are also quantified, and the model accuracy is assessed by comparing calling statistics amassed from 24,690 humpback units recorded in the month of October 2008. Under certain conditions, the probability of detection can be estimated with uncertainties sufficiently small to allow for accurate density estimates.

  5. Acoustical dead zones and the spatial aggregation of whale strandings.

    PubMed

    Sundaram, Bala; Poje, Andrew C; Veit, Richard R; Nganguia, Herve

    2006-02-21

    Cetacean strandings display a marked geographical clustering. We propose a simple, two-dimensional ray-dynamics model of cetacean echolocation to examine the role played by coastline topography in influencing the location and clustering of stranding sites. We find that a number of coastlines known to attract cetacean strandings produce acoustical "Dead Zones" where echolocation signals are severely distorted by purely geometric effects. Using available cetacean stranding data bases from four disparate areas, we show that the geographical clusters in the observations correlate strongly with the regions of distorted echolocation signals as predicted by the model.

  6. A study of vocal nonlinearities in humpback whale songs: from production mechanisms to acoustic analysis

    PubMed Central

    Cazau, Dorian; Adam, Olivier; Aubin, Thierry; Laitman, Jeffrey T.; Reidenberg, Joy S.

    2016-01-01

    Although mammalian vocalizations are predominantly harmonically structured, they can exhibit an acoustic complexity with nonlinear vocal sounds, including deterministic chaos and frequency jumps. Such sounds are normative events in mammalian vocalizations, and can be directly traceable to the nonlinear nature of vocal-fold dynamics underlying typical mammalian sound production. In this study, we give qualitative descriptions and quantitative analyses of nonlinearities in the song repertoire of humpback whales from the Ste Marie channel (Madagascar) to provide more insight into the potential communication functions and underlying production mechanisms of these features. A low-dimensional biomechanical modeling of the whale’s U-fold (vocal folds homolog) is used to relate specific vocal mechanisms to nonlinear vocal features. Recordings of living humpback whales were searched for occurrences of vocal nonlinearities (instabilities). Temporal distributions of nonlinearities were assessed within sound units, and between different songs. The anatomical production sources of vocal nonlinearities and the communication context of their occurrences in recordings are discussed. Our results show that vocal nonlinearities may be a communication strategy that conveys information about the whale’s body size and physical fitness, and thus may be an important component of humpback whale songs. PMID:27721476

  7. A study of vocal nonlinearities in humpback whale songs: from production mechanisms to acoustic analysis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cazau, Dorian; Adam, Olivier; Aubin, Thierry; Laitman, Jeffrey T.; Reidenberg, Joy S.

    2016-10-01

    Although mammalian vocalizations are predominantly harmonically structured, they can exhibit an acoustic complexity with nonlinear vocal sounds, including deterministic chaos and frequency jumps. Such sounds are normative events in mammalian vocalizations, and can be directly traceable to the nonlinear nature of vocal-fold dynamics underlying typical mammalian sound production. In this study, we give qualitative descriptions and quantitative analyses of nonlinearities in the song repertoire of humpback whales from the Ste Marie channel (Madagascar) to provide more insight into the potential communication functions and underlying production mechanisms of these features. A low-dimensional biomechanical modeling of the whale’s U-fold (vocal folds homolog) is used to relate specific vocal mechanisms to nonlinear vocal features. Recordings of living humpback whales were searched for occurrences of vocal nonlinearities (instabilities). Temporal distributions of nonlinearities were assessed within sound units, and between different songs. The anatomical production sources of vocal nonlinearities and the communication context of their occurrences in recordings are discussed. Our results show that vocal nonlinearities may be a communication strategy that conveys information about the whale’s body size and physical fitness, and thus may be an important component of humpback whale songs.

  8. Developing an acoustic method for reducing North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) ship strike mortality along the United States eastern seaboard

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mullen, Kaitlyn Allen

    North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis ) are among the world's most endangered cetaceans. Although protected from commercial whaling since 1949, North Atlantic right whales exhibit little to no population growth. Ship strike mortality is the leading known cause of North Atlantic right whale mortality. North Atlantic right whales exhibit developed auditory systems, and vocalize in the frequency range that dominates ship acoustic signatures. With no behavioral audiogram published, current literature assumes these whales should be able to acoustically detect signals in the same frequencies they vocalize. Recorded ship acoustic signatures occur at intensities that are similar or higher to those recorded by vocalizing North Atlantic right whales. If North Atlantic right whales are capable of acoustically detecting oncoming ship, why are they susceptible to ship strike mortality? This thesis models potential acoustic impediments to North Atlantic right whale detection of oncoming ships, and concludes the presence of modeled and observed bow null effect acoustic shadow zones, located directly ahead of oncoming ships, are likely to impair the ability of North Atlantic right whales to detect and/or localize oncoming shipping traffic. This lack of detection and/or localization likely leads to a lack of ship strike avoidance, and thus contributes to the observed high rates of North Atlantic right whale ship strike mortality. I propose that North Atlantic right whale ship strike mortality reduction is possible via reducing and/or eliminating the presence of bow null effect acoustic shadow zones. This thesis develops and tests one method for bow null effect acoustic shadow zone reduction on five ships. Finally, I review current United States policy towards North Atlantic right whale ship strike mortality in an effort to determine if the bow null effect acoustic shadow zone reduction method developed is a viable method for reducing North Atlantic right whale ship

  9. Quantitative analysis of the acoustic repertoire of southern right whales in New Zealand.

    PubMed

    Webster, Trudi A; Dawson, Stephen M; Rayment, William J; Parks, Susan E; Van Parijs, Sofie M

    2016-07-01

    Quantitatively describing the acoustic repertoire of a species is important for establishing effective passive acoustic monitoring programs and developing automated call detectors. This process is particularly important when the study site is remote and visual surveys are not cost effective. Little is known about the vocal behavior of southern right whales (Eubalaena australis) in New Zealand. The aim of this study was to describe and quantify their entire vocal repertoire on calving grounds in the sub-Antarctic Auckland Islands. Over three austral winters (2010-2012), 4349 calls were recorded, measured, and classified into 10 call types. The most frequently observed types were pulsive, upcall, and tonal low vocalizations. A long tonal low call (≤15.5 s duration) and a very high call (peak frequency ∼750 Hz) were described for the first time. Random Forest multivariate analysis of 28 measured variables was used to classify calls with a high degree of accuracy (82%). The most important variables for classification were maximum ceiling frequency, number of inflection points, duration, and the difference between the start and end frequency. This classification system proved to be a repeatable, fast, and objective method for categorising right whale calls and shows promise for other vocal taxa.

  10. Quantitative analysis of the acoustic repertoire of southern right whales in New Zealand.

    PubMed

    Webster, Trudi A; Dawson, Stephen M; Rayment, William J; Parks, Susan E; Van Parijs, Sofie M

    2016-07-01

    Quantitatively describing the acoustic repertoire of a species is important for establishing effective passive acoustic monitoring programs and developing automated call detectors. This process is particularly important when the study site is remote and visual surveys are not cost effective. Little is known about the vocal behavior of southern right whales (Eubalaena australis) in New Zealand. The aim of this study was to describe and quantify their entire vocal repertoire on calving grounds in the sub-Antarctic Auckland Islands. Over three austral winters (2010-2012), 4349 calls were recorded, measured, and classified into 10 call types. The most frequently observed types were pulsive, upcall, and tonal low vocalizations. A long tonal low call (≤15.5 s duration) and a very high call (peak frequency ∼750 Hz) were described for the first time. Random Forest multivariate analysis of 28 measured variables was used to classify calls with a high degree of accuracy (82%). The most important variables for classification were maximum ceiling frequency, number of inflection points, duration, and the difference between the start and end frequency. This classification system proved to be a repeatable, fast, and objective method for categorising right whale calls and shows promise for other vocal taxa. PMID:27475156

  11. Acoustic pathways revealed: simulated sound transmission and reception in Cuvier's beaked whale (Ziphius cavirostris).

    PubMed

    Cranford, Ted W; Krysl, Petr; Hildebrand, John A

    2008-03-01

    The finite element modeling (FEM) space reported here contains the head of a simulated whale based on CT data sets as well as physical measurements of sound-propagation characteristics of actual tissue samples. Simulated sound sources placed inside and outside of an adult male Cuvier's beaked whale (Ziphius cavirostris) reveal likely sound propagation pathways into and out of the head. Two separate virtual sound sources that were located at the left and right phonic lips produced beams that converged just outside the head. This result supports the notion that dual sound sources can interfere constructively to form a biologically useful and, in fact, excellent sonar beam in front of the animal. The most intriguing FEM results concern pathways by which sounds reach the ears. The simulations reveal a previously undescribed 'gular pathway' for sound reception in Ziphius. Propagated sound pressure waves enter the head from below and between the lower jaws, pass through an opening created by the absence of the medial bony wall of the posterior mandibles, and continue toward the bony ear complexes through the internal mandibular fat bodies. This new pathway has implications for understanding the evolution of underwater hearing in odontocetes. Our model also provides evidence for receive beam directionality, off-axis acoustic shadowing and a plausible mechanism for the long-standing orthodox sound reception pathway in odontocetes. The techniques developed for this study can be used to study acoustic perturbation in a wide variety of marine organisms.

  12. Attempt at intracytoplasmic sperm injection of in vitro matured oocytes in common minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) captured during the Kushiro Coast Survey.

    PubMed

    Fukui, Yutaka; Iwayama, Hiroshi; Matsuoka, Taiki; Nagai, Hiroki; Koma, Noriko; Mogoe, Toshihiro; Ishikawa, Hajime; Fujise, Yoshihiro; Hirabayashi, Masumi; Hochi, Shinichi; Kato, Hidehiro; Ohsumi, Seiji

    2007-08-01

    The present study was conducted during the Kushiro Coast Survey in an attempt to produce common minke whale embryos. In Experiment 1, we attempted to determine the appropriate culture duration (30 or 40 h) for in vitro maturation (IVM) of immature oocytes using the Well of the Well method. In Experiment 2, and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) was applied to matured oocytes from prepubertal and adult common minke whales after IVM culture (40 or 48 h), and then their embryonic development was assessed. In Experiment 1, the maturation rate of oocytes cultured for 40 h (30.4%) was significantly higher than that of oocytes cultured for 30 h (6.8%; P<0.01). In Experiment 2, a total of 35 and 46 immature oocytes derived from adult (n=2) and prepubertal (n=6) minke whales, respectively, were cultured for 40 or 48 h. The maturation rate in the oocytes from the adult whales (34.2%) tended to be higher than that of the oocytes from the prepubertal whales (19.6%), but there was no significant difference. Following ICSI, 3 out of the 10 inseminated and cultured oocytes from the adult whales cleaved (2-, 8-, and 16-cell stages); all of these oocytes had been matured for 40 in culture. However, these oocytes did not develop to further stages. Only one of the 6 oocytes derived from the prepubertal whales, IVM cultured for 40 h and inseminated, developed to the 4-cell stage. The present results indicate that a 40 h IVM culture produces significantly higher rates of in vitro maturation than a 30 h IVM culture for common minke whale oocytes. Following ICSI, some oocytes cleaved to the 16-cell stage, but no further development was observed.

  13. Acoustic Monitoring of Beluga Whale Interactions with Cook Inlet Tidal Energy Project

    SciTech Connect

    Worthington, Monty

    2014-02-05

    Cook Inlet, Alaska is home to some of the greatest tidal energy resources in the U.S., as well as an endangered population of beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas). Successfully permitting and operating a tidal power project in Cook Inlet requires a biological assessment of the potential and realized effects of the physical presence and sound footprint of tidal turbines on the distribution, relative abundance, and behavior of Cook Inlet beluga whales. ORPC Alaska, working with the Project Team—LGL Alaska Research Associates, University of Alaska Anchorage, TerraSond, and Greeneridge Science—undertook the following U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) study to characterize beluga whales in Cook Inlet – Acoustic Monitoring of Beluga Whale Interactions with the Cook Inlet Tidal Energy Project (Project). ORPC Alaska, LLC, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ocean Renewable Power Company, LLC, (collectively, ORPC). ORPC is a global leader in the development of hydrokinetic power systems and eco-conscious projects that harness the power of ocean and river currents to create clean, predictable renewable energy. ORPC is developing a tidal energy demonstration project in Cook Inlet at East Foreland where ORPC has a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) preliminary permit (P-13821). The Project collected baseline data to characterize pre-deployment patterns of marine mammal distribution, relative abundance, and behavior in ORPC’s proposed deployment area at East Foreland. ORPC also completed work near Fire Island where ORPC held a FERC preliminary permit (P-12679) until March 6, 2013. Passive hydroacoustic devices (previously utilized with bowhead whales in the Beaufort Sea) were adapted for study of beluga whales to determine the relative abundance of beluga whale vocalizations within the proposed deployment areas. Hydroacoustic data collected during the Project were used to characterize the ambient acoustic environment of the project site pre-deployment to inform the

  14. Using models of social transmission to examine the spread of longline depredation behavior among sperm whales in the Gulf of Alaska.

    PubMed

    Schakner, Zachary A; Lunsford, Chris; Straley, Janice; Eguchi, Tomoharu; Mesnick, Sarah L

    2014-01-01

    Fishing, farming and ranching provide opportunities for predators to prey on resources concentrated by humans, a behavior termed depredation. In the Gulf of Alaska, observations of sperm whales depredating on fish caught on demersal longline gear dates back to the 1970s, with reported incidents increasing in the mid-1990s. Sperm whale depredation provides an opportunity to study the spread of a novel foraging behavior within a population. Data were collected during National Marine Fisheries Service longline surveys using demersal longline gear in waters off Alaska from 1998 to 2010. We evaluated whether observations of depredation fit predictions of social transmission by fitting the temporal and spatial spread of new observations of depredation to the Wave of Advance model. We found a significant, positive relationship between time and the distance of new observations from the diffusion center (r(2) = 0.55, p-value  = 0.003). The data provide circumstantial evidence for social transmission of depredation. We discuss how changes in human activities in the region (fishing methods and regulations) have created a situation in which there is spatial-temporal overlap with foraging sperm whales, likely influencing when and how the behavior spread among the population.

  15. Using models of social transmission to examine the spread of longline depredation behavior among sperm whales in the Gulf of Alaska.

    PubMed

    Schakner, Zachary A; Lunsford, Chris; Straley, Janice; Eguchi, Tomoharu; Mesnick, Sarah L

    2014-01-01

    Fishing, farming and ranching provide opportunities for predators to prey on resources concentrated by humans, a behavior termed depredation. In the Gulf of Alaska, observations of sperm whales depredating on fish caught on demersal longline gear dates back to the 1970s, with reported incidents increasing in the mid-1990s. Sperm whale depredation provides an opportunity to study the spread of a novel foraging behavior within a population. Data were collected during National Marine Fisheries Service longline surveys using demersal longline gear in waters off Alaska from 1998 to 2010. We evaluated whether observations of depredation fit predictions of social transmission by fitting the temporal and spatial spread of new observations of depredation to the Wave of Advance model. We found a significant, positive relationship between time and the distance of new observations from the diffusion center (r(2) = 0.55, p-value  = 0.003). The data provide circumstantial evidence for social transmission of depredation. We discuss how changes in human activities in the region (fishing methods and regulations) have created a situation in which there is spatial-temporal overlap with foraging sperm whales, likely influencing when and how the behavior spread among the population. PMID:25272019

  16. Killer whales and whaling: the scavenging hypothesis.

    PubMed

    Whitehead, Hal; Reeves, Randall

    2005-12-22

    Killer whales (Orcinus orca) frequently scavenged from the carcasses produced by whalers. This practice became especially prominent with large-scale mechanical whaling in the twentieth century, which provided temporally and spatially clustered floating carcasses associated with loud acoustic signals. The carcasses were often of species of large whale preferred by killer whales but that normally sink beyond their diving range. In the middle years of the twentieth century floating whaled carcasses were much more abundant than those resulting from natural mortality of whales, and we propose that scavenging killer whales multiplied through diet shifts and reproduction. During the 1970s the numbers of available carcasses fell dramatically with the cessation of most whaling (in contrast to a reasonably stable abundance of living whales), and the scavenging killer whales needed an alternative source of nutrition. Diet shifts may have triggered declines in other prey species, potentially affecting ecosystems, as well as increasing direct predation on living whales.

  17. Acoustic detection and long-term monitoring of pygmy blue whales over the continental slope in southwest Australia.

    PubMed

    Gavrilova, Alexander N; McCauley, Robert D

    2013-09-01

    A 9-yr dataset of continuous sea noise recording made at the Cape Leeuwin station of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty hydroacoustic network in 2002-2010 was processed to detect calls from pygmy blue whales and to analyze diurnal, seasonal, and interannual variations in their vocal activity. Because the conventional spectrogram correlation method for recognizing whale calls in sea noise resulted in a too high false detection rate, alternative algorithms were tested and the most robust one applied to the multi-year dataset. The detection method was based on multivariate classification using two spectrogram features of transients in sea noise and Fisher's linear discriminant, which provided a misclassification rate of approximately 1% for missed and false detections at moderate sensitivity settings. An analysis of the detection results revealed a consistent seasonal pattern in the whale presence and considerable interannual changes with a steady increase in the number of calls detected in 2002-2006. An apparent diurnal pattern of whales' vocal activity was also observed. The acoustic detection range for pygmy blue whales was estimated to vary from about 50 km to nearly 200 km from the Cape Leeuwin station, depending on the ambient noise level, source level, and azimuth to a vocalizing whale. PMID:23968048

  18. Acoustic detection and long-term monitoring of pygmy blue whales over the continental slope in southwest Australia.

    PubMed

    Gavrilova, Alexander N; McCauley, Robert D

    2013-09-01

    A 9-yr dataset of continuous sea noise recording made at the Cape Leeuwin station of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty hydroacoustic network in 2002-2010 was processed to detect calls from pygmy blue whales and to analyze diurnal, seasonal, and interannual variations in their vocal activity. Because the conventional spectrogram correlation method for recognizing whale calls in sea noise resulted in a too high false detection rate, alternative algorithms were tested and the most robust one applied to the multi-year dataset. The detection method was based on multivariate classification using two spectrogram features of transients in sea noise and Fisher's linear discriminant, which provided a misclassification rate of approximately 1% for missed and false detections at moderate sensitivity settings. An analysis of the detection results revealed a consistent seasonal pattern in the whale presence and considerable interannual changes with a steady increase in the number of calls detected in 2002-2006. An apparent diurnal pattern of whales' vocal activity was also observed. The acoustic detection range for pygmy blue whales was estimated to vary from about 50 km to nearly 200 km from the Cape Leeuwin station, depending on the ambient noise level, source level, and azimuth to a vocalizing whale.

  19. 21 CFR 173.275 - Hydrogenated sperm oil.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-04-01

    ... from rendering the fatty tissue of the sperm whale or is prepared by synthesis of fatty acids and fatty alcohols derived from the sperm whale. The sperm oil obtained by rendering is refined. The oil...

  20. Acoustic characteristics of underwater tail slaps used by Norwegian and Icelandic killer whales (Orcinus orca) to debilitate herring (Clupea harengus).

    PubMed

    Simon, Malene; Wahlberg, Magnus; Ugarte, Fernando; Miller, Lee A

    2005-06-01

    Norwegian killer whales debilitate prey by slapping their tails into herring schools. These underwater tail slaps produce a thud-like sound. It is unclear whether this sound is caused by cavitation and/or physical contact between herring and whale tail. Also the forces causing debilitation of the fish are not understood. Here we present an acoustic analysis of underwater tail slaps using a multi-channel wide (150 kHz) band recording system. Underwater tail slaps produced by Norwegian killer whales generated sounds consisting of multiple pulses with source levels of 186+/-5.4 dB (pp) re.1 microPa at 1 m (+/-1 s.d., N = 4). The -3 dB and 97% energy bandwidths were 36.8+/-22.5 kHz and 130.5+/-17.5 kHz (+/-1 s.d., N = 13), respectively, with a centre frequency of 46.1+/-22.3 kHz. The similarities between the acoustic properties of underwater tail slaps recorded from killer whales in Norway, and thud-like sounds recorded from killer whales in Iceland suggest that Norwegian and Icelandic killer whales use similar hunting techniques. The acoustic characteristics of sounds produced by underwater tail slaps were similar to the ones from other cavitation sound sources described in the literature, both in term of temporal and frequency features as well as in source level. We suggest that multiple factors generated by the tail slaps like particle fluctuations, turbulence, pressure changes and physical impact cause debilitation of herring. PMID:15939784

  1. Quadratic Time-Frequency Analysis of Hydroacoustic Signals as Applied to Acoustic Emissions of Large Whales

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Le Bras, Ronan; Victor, Sucic; Damir, Malnar; Götz, Bokelmann

    2014-05-01

    In order to enrich the set of attributes in setting up a large database of whale signals, as envisioned in the Baleakanta project, we investigate methods of time-frequency analysis. The purpose of establishing the database is to increase and refine knowledge of the emitted signal and of its propagation characteristics, leading to a better understanding of the animal migrations in a non-invasive manner and to characterize acoustic propagation in oceanic media. The higher resolution for signal extraction and a better separation from other signals and noise will be used for various purposes, including improved signal detection and individual animal identification. The quadratic class of time-frequency distributions (TFDs) is the most popular set of time-frequency tools for analysis and processing of non-stationary signals. Two best known and most studied members of this class are the spectrogram and the Wigner-Ville distribution. However, to be used efficiently, i.e. to have highly concentrated signal components while significantly suppressing interference and noise simultaneously, TFDs need to be optimized first. The optimization method used in this paper is based on the Cross-Wigner-Ville distribution, and unlike similar approaches it does not require prior information on the analysed signal. The method is applied to whale signals, which, just like the majority of other real-life signals, can generally be classified as multicomponent non-stationary signals, and hence time-frequency techniques are a natural choice for their representation, analysis, and processing. We present processed data from a set containing hundreds of individual calls. The TFD optimization method results into a high resolution time-frequency representation of the signals. It allows for a simple extraction of signal components from the TFD's dominant ridges. The local peaks of those ridges can then be used for the signal components instantaneous frequency estimation, which in turn can be used as

  2. A year in the acoustic world of bowhead whales in the Bering, Chukchi and Beaufort seas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Clark, Christopher W.; Berchok, Catherine L.; Blackwell, Susanna B.; Hannay, David E.; Jones, Josh; Ponirakis, Dimitri; Stafford, Kathleen M.

    2015-08-01

    Bowhead whales, Balaena mysticetus, in the Bering-Chukchi-Beaufort (BCB) population, experience a variable acoustic environment among the regions they inhabit throughout the year. A total of 41,698 h of acoustic data were recorded from 1 August 2009 through 4 October 2010 at 20 sites spread along a 2300 km transect from the Bering Sea to the southeast Beaufort Sea. These data represent the combined output from six research teams using four recorder types. Recorders sampled areas in which bowheads occur and in which there are natural and anthropogenic sources producing varying amounts of underwater noise. We describe and quantify the occurrence of bowheads throughout their range in the Bering, Chukchi, and Beaufort seas over a 14-month period by aggregating our acoustic detections of bowhead whale sounds. We also describe the spatial-temporal variability in the bowhead acoustic environment using sound level measurements within a frequency band in which their sounds occur, by dividing a year into three, 4-month seasons (Summer-Fall 2009, August-November 2009: Winter 2009-2010, December 2009-March 2010: and Spring-Summer 2010, April-July 2010) and their home range into five zones. Statistical analyses revealed no significant relationship between acoustic occurrence, distance offshore, and water depth during Summer-Fall 2009, but there was a significant relationship during Spring-Summer 2010. A continuous period with elevated broadband sound levels lasting ca. 38 days occurred in the Bering Sea during the Winter 2009-2010 season as a result of singing bowheads, while a second period of elevated levels lasting at least 30 days occurred during the early spring-summer season as a result of singing bearded seals. The lowest noise levels occurred in the Chukchi Sea from the latter part of November into May. In late summer 2009 very faint sounds from a seismic airgun survey approximately 700 km away in the eastern Beaufort Sea were detected on Chukchi recorders. Throughout

  3. Prediction of drilling site-specific interaction of industrial acoustic stimuli and endangered whales: Beaufort Sea (1985). Final report, July 1985-March 1986

    SciTech Connect

    Miles, P.R.; Malme, C.I.; Shepard, G.W.; Richardson, W.J.; Bird, J.E.

    1986-10-01

    Research was performed during the first year (1985) of the two-year project investigating potential responsiveness of bowhead and gray whales to underwater sounds associated with offshore oil-drilling sites in the Alaskan Beaufort Sea. The underwater acoustic environment and sound propagation characteristics of five offshore sites were determined. Estimates of industrial noise levels versus distance from those sites are provided. LGL Ltd. (bowhead) and BBN (gray whale) jointly present zones of responsiveness of these whales to typical underwater sounds (drillship, dredge, tugs, drilling at gravel island). An annotated bibliography regarding the potential effects of offshore industrial noise on bowhead whales in the Beaufort Sea is included.

  4. Morphological and genetic identification of Anisakis paggiae (Nematoda: Anisakidae) in dwarf sperm whale Kogia sima from Brazilian waters.

    PubMed

    Di Azevedo, Maria Isabel N; Knoff, Marcelo; Carvalho, Vitor L; Mello, Wildon N; Lopes Torres, Eduardo J; Gomes, Delir C; Iñiguez, Alena M

    2015-03-01

    Anisakid nematodes have been identified in a wide variety of fish and marine mammal species. In Brazil, Anisakis physeteris, A. insignis, A. typica, A. nascetti, and those of the A. simplex complex have been reported infecting fishes and cetaceans. In this study, specimens collected from a dwarf sperm whale Kogia sima (Owen, 1866) stranded on the northeastern coast of Brazil were identified through morphological and genetic analyses as A. paggiae. Anisakids were examined through differential interference contrast light and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Morphological and morphometric analysis revealed that these specimens belonged to Anisakis sp. clade II and more specifically to A. paggiae, exhibiting a violin-shaped ventriculus and 3 denticulate caudal plates, which are taxonomic characters considered unique to this species. Genetic analysis based on the mtDNA cox2 gene confirmed our identification of A. paggiae. Phylogenetic trees using both maximum likelihood and neighbor-joining methods revealed a strongly supported monophyletic clade (bootstrap support = 100%) with all available A. paggiae sequences. Integrative taxonomic analysis allowed the identification of A. paggiae for the first time in Brazilian waters, providing new data about their geographical distribution. Moreover, here we present the first SEM images of this species.

  5. Morphological and genetic identification of Anisakis paggiae (Nematoda: Anisakidae) in dwarf sperm whale Kogia sima from Brazilian waters.

    PubMed

    Di Azevedo, Maria Isabel N; Knoff, Marcelo; Carvalho, Vitor L; Mello, Wildon N; Lopes Torres, Eduardo J; Gomes, Delir C; Iñiguez, Alena M

    2015-03-01

    Anisakid nematodes have been identified in a wide variety of fish and marine mammal species. In Brazil, Anisakis physeteris, A. insignis, A. typica, A. nascetti, and those of the A. simplex complex have been reported infecting fishes and cetaceans. In this study, specimens collected from a dwarf sperm whale Kogia sima (Owen, 1866) stranded on the northeastern coast of Brazil were identified through morphological and genetic analyses as A. paggiae. Anisakids were examined through differential interference contrast light and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Morphological and morphometric analysis revealed that these specimens belonged to Anisakis sp. clade II and more specifically to A. paggiae, exhibiting a violin-shaped ventriculus and 3 denticulate caudal plates, which are taxonomic characters considered unique to this species. Genetic analysis based on the mtDNA cox2 gene confirmed our identification of A. paggiae. Phylogenetic trees using both maximum likelihood and neighbor-joining methods revealed a strongly supported monophyletic clade (bootstrap support = 100%) with all available A. paggiae sequences. Integrative taxonomic analysis allowed the identification of A. paggiae for the first time in Brazilian waters, providing new data about their geographical distribution. Moreover, here we present the first SEM images of this species. PMID:25751853

  6. The Development of Automated Detection Techniques for Passive Acoustic Monitoring as a Tool for Studying Beaked Whale Distribution and Habitat Preferences in the California Current Ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yack, Tina M.

    The objectives of this research were to test available automated detection methods for passive acoustic monitoring and integrate the best available method into standard marine mammal monitoring protocols for ship based surveys. The goal of the first chapter was to evaluate the performance and utility of PAMGUARD 1.0 Core software for use in automated detection of marine mammal acoustic signals during towed array surveys. Three different detector configurations of PAMGUARD were compared. These automated detection algorithms were evaluated by comparing them to the results of manual detections made by an experienced bio-acoustician (author TMY). This study provides the first detailed comparisons of PAMGUARD automated detection algorithms to manual detection methods. The results of these comparisons clearly illustrate the utility of automated detection methods for odontocete species. Results of this work showed that the majority of whistles and click events can be reliably detected using PAMGUARD software. The second chapter moves beyond automated detection to examine and test automated classification algorithms for beaked whale species. Beaked whales are notoriously elusive and difficult to study, especially using visual survey methods. The purpose of the second chapter was to test, validate, and compare algorithms for detection of beaked whales in acoustic line-transect survey data. Using data collected at sea from the PAMGUARD classifier developed in Chapter 2 it was possible to measure the clicks from visually verified Baird's beaked whale encounters and use this data to develop classifiers that could discriminate Baird's beaked whales from other beaked whale species in future work. Echolocation clicks from Baird's beaked whales, Berardius bairdii, were recorded during combined visual and acoustic shipboard surveys of cetacean populations in the California Current Ecosystem (CCE) and with autonomous, long-term recorders at four different sites in the Southern

  7. Site specific passive acoustic detection and densities of humpback whale calls off the coast of California

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Helble, Tyler Adam

    Passive acoustic monitoring of marine mammal calls is an increasingly important method for assessing population numbers, distribution, and behavior. Automated methods are needed to aid in the analyses of the recorded data. When a mammal vocalizes in the marine environment, the received signal is a filtered version of the original waveform emitted by the marine mammal. The waveform is reduced in amplitude and distorted due to propagation effects that are influenced by the bathymetry and environment. It is important to account for these effects to determine a site-specific probability of detection for marine mammal calls in a given study area. A knowledge of that probability function over a range of environmental and ocean noise conditions allows vocalization statistics from recordings of single, fixed, omnidirectional sensors to be compared across sensors and at the same sensor over time with less bias and uncertainty in the results than direct comparison of the raw statistics. This dissertation focuses on both the development of new tools needed to automatically detect humpback whale vocalizations from single-fixed omnidirectional sensors as well as the determination of the site-specific probability of detection for monitoring sites off the coast of California. Using these tools, detected humpback calls are "calibrated" for environmental properties using the site-specific probability of detection values, and presented as call densities (calls per square kilometer per time). A two-year monitoring effort using these calibrated call densities reveals important biological and ecological information on migrating humpback whales off the coast of California. Call density trends are compared between the monitoring sites and at the same monitoring site over time. Call densities also are compared to several natural and human-influenced variables including season, time of day, lunar illumination, and ocean noise. The results reveal substantial differences in call densities

  8. Anisakis species (Nematoda: Anisakidae) of Dwarf Sperm Whale Kogia sima (Owen, 1866) stranded off the Pacific coast of southern Philippine archipelago.

    PubMed

    Quiazon, Karl Marx A; Santos, Mudjekeewis D; Yoshinaga, Tomoyoshi

    2013-10-18

    Anisakid nematodes in the Pacific region of the Philippine archipelago still remain unexplored. This study was carried out to identify anisakid species from one of their final hosts, the Kogiid whale (Dwarf Sperm Whale, Kogia sima) stranded off the southern part (Davao Gulf) of the Philippine archipelago. Anisakid worms were initially identified morphologically using light and scanning electron microscopy, whereas identification to species level was carried out molecularly using PCR-RFLP and sequencing of the ITS (ITS1-5.8s rRNA-ITS2) and mtDNA cox2 regions. Parasitological study revealed new geographical records for the presence of two Anisakis species (A. brevispiculata and A. typica) and two unknown Anisakis species that are genetically close, at mtDNA cox2 region, to A. paggiae and A. ziphidarum. Based on the molecular data on both genes, the current findings suggest possible occurrence of local variations or sibling species of A. paggiae and A. ziphidarum in the region. Given that Anisakis species have not been reported in the Philippine archipelago, their presence in the Dwarf Sperm Whale inhabiting this region indicates high possibility of Anisakis infections in the marine fishes, cephalopods and other intermediate hosts within the Philippine waters.

  9. Acoustic development of a neonatal beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas) at the John G. Shedd Aquarium

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carneiro, Brooke Elizabeth

    Beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) were one of the first marine mammals to be in captivity and currently, nine zoological institutions in North America house belugas (Robeck et al., 2005). Despite their accessibility within these facilities, very little research has been done on the beluga whale that is related to their acoustic development or communication sounds. A male beluga calf named "Nunavik" was born at the John G. Shedd Aquarium on 14 December 2009, which provided an opportunity to examine the ontogeny of underwater sounds by a neonatal beluga from the birth throughout the first year of life. The objectives of the study were to: 1) collect underwater sound recordings of the beluga pod prior to the birth of the calf, 2) collect underwater sound recordings of the neonate during the first year of life, 3) document when and what types of sounds were produced by the calf, 4) compare sounds produced by the calf during agonistic and non-agonistic interactions, and 5) compare the acoustic features of sounds produced by the calf to sounds from the mother, a male beluga calf born at the Vancouver Aquarium in 2002, and other belugas at the John G. Shedd Aquarium. The first recordings of the beluga calf took place six hours following the birth for a two hour period. Subsequent recordings were made daily for one hour for the first two weeks of the calf's life and then twice per week until the calf was about six months of age. Later recordings were done less frequently; about once every other week, with no recordings during a 2-month period due to equipment failure. In total, sixty hours of underwater recordings of the belugas were collected from 26 September 2009 to 27 December 2010. Sounds were audibly and visually examined using Raven Pro version 1.4, a real-time sound analysis software application (Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology), and categorized into three categories (tones, noise, and noise with tones) based on the characteristics of underwater sounds from

  10. Calibrating passive acoustic monitoring: correcting humpback whale call detections for site-specific and time-dependent environmental characteristics.

    PubMed

    Helble, Tyler A; D'Spain, Gerald L; Campbell, Greg S; Hildebrand, John A

    2013-11-01

    This paper demonstrates the importance of accounting for environmental effects on passive underwater acoustic monitoring results. The situation considered is the reduction in shipping off the California coast between 2008-2010 due to the recession and environmental legislation. The resulting variations in ocean noise change the probability of detecting marine mammal vocalizations. An acoustic model was used to calculate the time-varying probability of detecting humpback whale vocalizations under best-guess environmental conditions and varying noise. The uncorrected call counts suggest a diel pattern and an increase in calling over a two-year period; the corrected call counts show minimal evidence of these features.

  11. Shifting Gravel and the Acoustic Detection Range of Killer Whale Calls

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bassett, C.; Thomson, J. M.; Polagye, B. L.; Wood, J.

    2012-12-01

    In environments suitable for tidal energy development, strong currents result in large bed stresses that mobilize sediments, producing sediment-generated noise. Sediment-generated noise caused by mobilization events can exceed noise levels attributed to other ambient noise sources at frequencies related to the diameters of the mobilized grains. At a site in Admiralty Inlet, Puget Sound, Washington, one year of ambient noise data (0.02 - 30 kHz) and current velocity data are combined. Peak currents at the site exceed 3.5 m/s. During slack currents, vessel traffic is the dominant noise source. When currents exceed 0.85 m/s noise level increases between 2 kHz and 30 kHz are correlated with near-bed currents and bed stress estimates. Acoustic spectrum levels during strong currents exceed quiescent slack tide conditions by 20 dB or more between 2 and 30 kHz. These frequencies are consistent with sound generated by the mobilization of gravel and pebbles. To investigate the implications of sediment-generated noise for post-installation passive acoustic monitoring of a planned tidal energy project, ambient noise conditions during slack currents and strong currents are combined with the characteristics of Southern Resident killer whale (Orcinus orca) vocalizations and sound propagation modeling. The reduction in detection range is estimated for common vocalizations under different ambient noise conditions. The importance of sediment-generated noise for passive acoustic monitoring at tidal energy sites for different marine mammal functional hearing groups and other sediment compositions are considered.

  12. Cryopreservation and in vitro culture of primary cell types from lung tissue of a stranded pygmy sperm whale (Kogia breviceps).

    PubMed

    Annalaura Mancia; Spyropoulos, Demetri D; McFee, Wayne E; Newton, Danforth A; Baatz, John E

    2012-01-01

    Current models for in vitro studies of tissue function and physiology, including responses to hypoxia or environmental toxins, are limited and rely heavily on standard 2-dimensional (2-D) cultures with immortalized murine or human cell lines. To develop a new more powerful model system, we have pursued methods to establish and expand cultures of primary lung cell types and reconstituted tissues from marine mammals. What little is known about the physiology of the deep-sea diving pygmy sperm whale (PSW), Kogia breviceps, comes primarily from stranding events that occur along the coast of the southeastern United States. Thus, development of a method for preserving live tissues and retrieving live cells from deceased stranded individuals was initiated. This report documents successful cryopreservation of PSW lung tissue. We established in vitro cultures of primary lung cell types from tissue fragments that had been cryopreserved several months earlier at the stranding event. Dissociation of cryopreserved lung tissues readily provides a variety of primary cell types that, to varying degrees, can be expanded and further studied/manipulated in cell culture. In addition, PSW-specific molecular markers have been developed that permitted the monitoring of fibroblast, alveolar type II, and vascular endothelial cell types. Reconstitution of 3-D cultures of lung tissues with these cell types is now underway. This novel system may facilitate the development of rare or disease-specific lung tissue models (e.g., to test causes of PSW stranding events and lead to improved treatments for pulmonary hypertension or reperfusion injury in humans). Also, the establishment of a "living" tissue bank biorepository for rare/endangered species could serve multiple purposes as surrogates for freshly isolated samples.

  13. Killer whale (Orcinus orca) whistles from the western South Atlantic Ocean include high frequency signals.

    PubMed

    Andriolo, Artur; Reis, Sarah S; Amorim, Thiago O S; Sucunza, Federico; de Castro, Franciele R; Maia, Ygor Geyer; Zerbini, Alexandre N; Bortolotto, Guilherme A; Dalla Rosa, Luciano

    2015-09-01

    Acoustic parameters of killer whale (Orcinus orca) whistles were described for the western South Atlantic Ocean and highlight the occurrence of high frequency whistles. Killer whale signals were recorded on December of 2012, when a pod of four individuals was observed harassing a group of sperm whales. The high frequency whistles were highly stereotyped and were modulated mostly at ultrasonic frequencies. Compared to other contour types, the high frequency whistles are characterized by higher bandwidths, shorter durations, fewer harmonics, and higher sweep rates. The results add to the knowledge of vocal behavior of this species.

  14. Killer whale (Orcinus orca) whistles from the western South Atlantic Ocean include high frequency signals.

    PubMed

    Andriolo, Artur; Reis, Sarah S; Amorim, Thiago O S; Sucunza, Federico; de Castro, Franciele R; Maia, Ygor Geyer; Zerbini, Alexandre N; Bortolotto, Guilherme A; Dalla Rosa, Luciano

    2015-09-01

    Acoustic parameters of killer whale (Orcinus orca) whistles were described for the western South Atlantic Ocean and highlight the occurrence of high frequency whistles. Killer whale signals were recorded on December of 2012, when a pod of four individuals was observed harassing a group of sperm whales. The high frequency whistles were highly stereotyped and were modulated mostly at ultrasonic frequencies. Compared to other contour types, the high frequency whistles are characterized by higher bandwidths, shorter durations, fewer harmonics, and higher sweep rates. The results add to the knowledge of vocal behavior of this species. PMID:26428807

  15. Passive acoustic detection and localization of whales: effects of shipping noise in Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park.

    PubMed

    Simard, Yvan; Roy, Nathalie; Gervaise, Cédric

    2008-06-01

    The performance of large-aperture hydrophone arrays to detect and localize blue and fin whales' 15-85 Hz signature vocalizations under ocean noise conditions was assessed through simulations from a normal mode propagation model combined to noise statistics from 15 960 h of recordings in Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park. The probability density functions of 2482 summer noise level estimates in the call bands were used to attach a probability of detection/masking to the simulated call levels as a function of whale depth and range for typical environmental conditions. Results indicate that call detection was modulated by the calling depth relative to the sound channel axis and by modal constructive and destructive interferences with range. Masking of loud infrasounds could reach 40% at 30 km for a receiver at the optimal depth. The 30 dB weaker blue whale D-call were subject to severe masking. Mapping the percentages of detection and localization allowed assessing the performance of a six-hydrophone array under mean- and low-noise conditions. This approach is helpful for optimizing hydrophone configuration in implementing passive acoustic monitoring arrays and building their detection function for whale density assessment, as an alternative to or in combination with the traditional undersampling visual methods. PMID:18537362

  16. Passive acoustic detection and localization of whales: effects of shipping noise in Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park.

    PubMed

    Simard, Yvan; Roy, Nathalie; Gervaise, Cédric

    2008-06-01

    The performance of large-aperture hydrophone arrays to detect and localize blue and fin whales' 15-85 Hz signature vocalizations under ocean noise conditions was assessed through simulations from a normal mode propagation model combined to noise statistics from 15 960 h of recordings in Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park. The probability density functions of 2482 summer noise level estimates in the call bands were used to attach a probability of detection/masking to the simulated call levels as a function of whale depth and range for typical environmental conditions. Results indicate that call detection was modulated by the calling depth relative to the sound channel axis and by modal constructive and destructive interferences with range. Masking of loud infrasounds could reach 40% at 30 km for a receiver at the optimal depth. The 30 dB weaker blue whale D-call were subject to severe masking. Mapping the percentages of detection and localization allowed assessing the performance of a six-hydrophone array under mean- and low-noise conditions. This approach is helpful for optimizing hydrophone configuration in implementing passive acoustic monitoring arrays and building their detection function for whale density assessment, as an alternative to or in combination with the traditional undersampling visual methods.

  17. Analysis of mercury and methylmercury concentrations, and selenium:mercury molar ratios for a toxicological assessment of sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) in the most recent stranding event along the Adriatic coast (Southern Italy, Mediterranean Sea).

    PubMed

    Squadrone, S; Chiaravalle, E; Gavinelli, S; Monaco, G; Rizzi, M; Abete, M C

    2015-11-01

    Mass stranding of sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) is a rare event in the Mediterranean Sea. In September 2014, a pod of seven sperm whales became stranded along the Adriatic coast of Southern Italy. This is the seventh occurrence of this type since 1555 in this sea basin. Total concentrations of mercury (T-Hg), methylmercury (MeHg) and selenium (Se) were measured from brain, muscle, liver and kidney of three female sperm whales, which died in this event. Analyses showed considerable, age-dependent variations in Hg and Se concentrations in the different organs. The contamination levels of T-Hg in the liver (up to 200 mg kg(-1)) and brain (up to 21 mg kg(-1)) samples were markedly higher than those in the kidney and muscle samples. The liver and brain also showed the highest Se levels. Se:Hg molar ratios ⩾1 were observed in all the organs of the three sperm whales, suggesting that Se could protect the animals from Hg toxicity. The risk of Hg-associated neurotoxicity was assessed by comparing our values to thresholds set for neurotoxicity in mammals, and the role of Se in the detoxification process of T-Hg/MeHg is discussed herein.

  18. Analysis of mercury and methylmercury concentrations, and selenium:mercury molar ratios for a toxicological assessment of sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) in the most recent stranding event along the Adriatic coast (Southern Italy, Mediterranean Sea).

    PubMed

    Squadrone, S; Chiaravalle, E; Gavinelli, S; Monaco, G; Rizzi, M; Abete, M C

    2015-11-01

    Mass stranding of sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) is a rare event in the Mediterranean Sea. In September 2014, a pod of seven sperm whales became stranded along the Adriatic coast of Southern Italy. This is the seventh occurrence of this type since 1555 in this sea basin. Total concentrations of mercury (T-Hg), methylmercury (MeHg) and selenium (Se) were measured from brain, muscle, liver and kidney of three female sperm whales, which died in this event. Analyses showed considerable, age-dependent variations in Hg and Se concentrations in the different organs. The contamination levels of T-Hg in the liver (up to 200 mg kg(-1)) and brain (up to 21 mg kg(-1)) samples were markedly higher than those in the kidney and muscle samples. The liver and brain also showed the highest Se levels. Se:Hg molar ratios ⩾1 were observed in all the organs of the three sperm whales, suggesting that Se could protect the animals from Hg toxicity. The risk of Hg-associated neurotoxicity was assessed by comparing our values to thresholds set for neurotoxicity in mammals, and the role of Se in the detoxification process of T-Hg/MeHg is discussed herein. PMID:26233668

  19. Quantifying loss of acoustic communication space for right whales in and around a U.S. National Marine Sanctuary.

    PubMed

    Hatch, Leila T; Clark, Christopher W; Van Parijs, Sofie M; Frankel, Adam S; Ponirakis, Dimitri W

    2012-12-01

    The effects of chronic exposure to increasing levels of human-induced underwater noise on marine animal populations reliant on sound for communication are poorly understood. We sought to further develop methods of quantifying the effects of communication masking associated with human-induced sound on contact-calling North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis) in an ecologically relevant area (~10,000 km(2) ) and time period (peak feeding time). We used an array of temporary, bottom-mounted, autonomous acoustic recorders in the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary to monitor ambient noise levels, measure levels of sound associated with vessels, and detect and locate calling whales. We related wind speed, as recorded by regional oceanographic buoys, to ambient noise levels. We used vessel-tracking data from the Automatic Identification System to quantify acoustic signatures of large commercial vessels. On the basis of these integrated sound fields, median signal excess (the difference between the signal-to-noise ratio and the assumed recognition differential) for contact-calling right whales was negative (-1 dB) under current ambient noise levels and was further reduced (-2 dB) by the addition of noise from ships. Compared with potential communication space available under historically lower noise conditions, calling right whales may have lost, on average, 63-67% of their communication space. One or more of the 89 calling whales in the study area was exposed to noise levels ≥120 dB re 1 μPa by ships for 20% of the month, and a maximum of 11 whales were exposed to noise at or above this level during a single 10-min period. These results highlight the limitations of exposure-threshold (i.e., dose-response) metrics for assessing chronic anthropogenic noise effects on communication opportunities. Our methods can be used to integrate chronic and wide-ranging noise effects in emerging ocean-planning forums that seek to improve management of cumulative effects

  20. Low-frequency acoustic pressure, velocity, and intensity thresholds in a bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) and white whale (Delphinapterus leucas)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Finneran, James J.; Carder, Donald A.; Ridgway, Sam H.

    2002-01-01

    The relative contributions of acoustic pressure and particle velocity to the low-frequency, underwater hearing abilities of the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) and white whale (Delphinapterus leucas) were investigated by measuring (masked) hearing thresholds while manipulating the relationship between the pressure and velocity. This was accomplished by varying the distance within the near field of a single underwater sound projector (experiment I) and using two underwater sound projectors and an active sound control system (experiment II). The results of experiment I showed no significant change in pressure thresholds as the distance between the subject and the sound source was changed. In contrast, velocity thresholds tended to increase and intensity thresholds tended to decrease as the source distance decreased. These data suggest that acoustic pressure is a better indicator of threshold, compared to particle velocity or mean active intensity, in the subjects tested. Interpretation of the results of experiment II (the active sound control system) was difficult because of complex acoustic conditions and the unknown effects of the subject on the generated acoustic field; however, these data also tend to support the results of experiment I and suggest that odontocete thresholds should be reported in units of acoustic pressure, rather than intensity.

  1. A survey of trace element distribution in tissues of the dwarf sperm whale (Kogia sima) stranded along the South Carolina coast from 1990-2011.

    PubMed

    Reed, Lou Ann; McFee, Wayne E; Pennington, Paul L; Wirth, Edward F; Fulton, Michael H

    2015-11-15

    Few studies report trace elements in dwarf sperm whale (Kogia sima). As high trophic level predators, marine mammals are exposed through diet to environmental contaminants including metals from anthropogenic sources. Inputs of Hg, Pb, and Cd are of particular concern due to toxicity and potential for atmospheric dispersion and subsequent biomagnification. Liver and kidney tissues of stranded K. sima from coastal South Carolina, USA, were analyzed for 22 trace elements. Age-related correlations with tissue concentrations were found for some metals. Mean molar ratio of Hg:Se varied with age with higher ratios found in adult males. Maximum concentrations of Cd and Hg in both tissues exceeded historical FDA levels of concern, but none exceeded the minimum 100μg/g Hg threshold for hepatic damage. Tissue concentrations of some metals associated with contamination were low, suggesting that anthropogenic input may not be a significant source of some metals for these pelagic marine mammals.

  2. A survey of trace element distribution in tissues of the dwarf sperm whale (Kogia sima) stranded along the South Carolina coast from 1990-2011.

    PubMed

    Reed, Lou Ann; McFee, Wayne E; Pennington, Paul L; Wirth, Edward F; Fulton, Michael H

    2015-11-15

    Few studies report trace elements in dwarf sperm whale (Kogia sima). As high trophic level predators, marine mammals are exposed through diet to environmental contaminants including metals from anthropogenic sources. Inputs of Hg, Pb, and Cd are of particular concern due to toxicity and potential for atmospheric dispersion and subsequent biomagnification. Liver and kidney tissues of stranded K. sima from coastal South Carolina, USA, were analyzed for 22 trace elements. Age-related correlations with tissue concentrations were found for some metals. Mean molar ratio of Hg:Se varied with age with higher ratios found in adult males. Maximum concentrations of Cd and Hg in both tissues exceeded historical FDA levels of concern, but none exceeded the minimum 100μg/g Hg threshold for hepatic damage. Tissue concentrations of some metals associated with contamination were low, suggesting that anthropogenic input may not be a significant source of some metals for these pelagic marine mammals. PMID:26386505

  3. Albicetus oxymycterus, a New Generic Name and Redescription of a Basal Physeteroid (Mammalia, Cetacea) from the Miocene of California, and the Evolution of Body Size in Sperm Whales.

    PubMed

    Boersma, Alexandra T; Pyenson, Nicholas D

    2015-01-01

    Living sperm whales are represented by only three species (Physeter macrocephalus, Kogia breviceps and Kogia sima), but their fossil record provides evidence of an ecologically diverse array of different forms, including morphologies and body sizes without analog among living physeteroids. Here we provide a redescription of Ontocetus oxymycterus, a large but incomplete fossil sperm whale specimen from the middle Miocene Monterey Formation of California, described by Remington Kellogg in 1925. The type specimen consists of a partial rostrum, both mandibles, an isolated upper rostrum fragment, and incomplete tooth fragments. Although incomplete, these remains exhibit characteristics that, when combined, set it apart morphologically from all other known physeteroids (e.g., a closed mesorostral groove, and the retention of enameled tooth crowns). Kellogg originally placed this species in the genus Ontocetus, a enigmatic tooth taxon reported from the 19th century, based on similarities between the type specimen Ontocetus emmonsi and the conspicuously large lower dentition of Ontocetus oxymycterus. However, the type of the genus Ontocetus is now known to represent a walrus tusk (belonging to fossil Odobenidae) instead of a cetacean tooth. Thus, we assign this species to the new genus Albicetus, creating the new combination of Albicetus oxymycterus, gen. nov. We provide new morphological observations of the type specimen, including a 3D model. We also calculate a total length of approximately 6 m in life, using cranial proxies of body size for physeteroids. Lastly, a phylogenetic analysis of Albicetus oxymycterus with other fossil and living Physeteroidea resolves its position as a stem physeteroid, implying that large body size and robust dentition in physeteroids evolved multiple times and in distantly related lineages. PMID:26651027

  4. Albicetus oxymycterus, a New Generic Name and Redescription of a Basal Physeteroid (Mammalia, Cetacea) from the Miocene of California, and the Evolution of Body Size in Sperm Whales

    PubMed Central

    2015-01-01

    Living sperm whales are represented by only three species (Physeter macrocephalus, Kogia breviceps and Kogia sima), but their fossil record provides evidence of an ecologically diverse array of different forms, including morphologies and body sizes without analog among living physeteroids. Here we provide a redescription of Ontocetus oxymycterus, a large but incomplete fossil sperm whale specimen from the middle Miocene Monterey Formation of California, described by Remington Kellogg in 1925. The type specimen consists of a partial rostrum, both mandibles, an isolated upper rostrum fragment, and incomplete tooth fragments. Although incomplete, these remains exhibit characteristics that, when combined, set it apart morphologically from all other known physeteroids (e.g., a closed mesorostral groove, and the retention of enameled tooth crowns). Kellogg originally placed this species in the genus Ontocetus, a enigmatic tooth taxon reported from the 19th century, based on similarities between the type specimen Ontocetus emmonsi and the conspicuously large lower dentition of Ontocetus oxymycterus. However, the type of the genus Ontocetus is now known to represent a walrus tusk (belonging to fossil Odobenidae) instead of a cetacean tooth. Thus, we assign this species to the new genus Albicetus, creating the new combination of Albicetus oxymycterus, gen. nov. We provide new morphological observations of the type specimen, including a 3D model. We also calculate a total length of approximately 6 m in life, using cranial proxies of body size for physeteroids. Lastly, a phylogenetic analysis of Albicetus oxymycterus with other fossil and living Physeteroidea resolves its position as a stem physeteroid, implying that large body size and robust dentition in physeteroids evolved multiple times and in distantly related lineages. PMID:26651027

  5. High-level expression and deuteration of sperm whale myoglobin: A study of its solvent structure by X-ray and neutron diffraction methods

    SciTech Connect

    Shu, F.; Ramakrishnan, V.; Schoenborn, B.P.

    1994-12-31

    Neutron diffraction has become one of the best ways to study light atoms, such as hydrogens. Hydrogen however has a negative coherent scattering factor, and a large incoherent scattering factor, while deuterium has virtually no incoherent scattering, but a large positive coherent scattering factor. Beside causing high background due to its incoherent scattering, the negative coherent scattering of hydrogen tends to cancel out the positive contribution from other atoms in a neutron density map. Therefore a fully deuterated sample will yield better diffraction data with stronger density in the hydrogen position. On this basis, a sperm whale myoglobin gene modified to include part of the A cII protein gene has been cloned into the T7 expression system. Milligram amounts of fully deuterated holo-myoglobin have been obtained and used for crystallization. The synthetic sperm whale myoglobin crystallized in P2{sub 1} space group isomorphous with the native protein crystal. A complete X-ray diffraction dataset at 1.5{Angstrom} has been collected. This X-ray dataset, and a neutron data set collected previously on a protonated carbon-monoxymyoglobin crystal have been used for solvent structure studies. Both X-ray and neutron data have shown that there are ordered hydration layers around the protein surface. Solvent shell analysis on the neutron data further has shown that the first hydration layer behaves differently around polar and apolar regions of the protein surface. Finally, the structure of per-deuterated myoglobin has been refined using all reflections to a R factor of 17%.

  6. Cetacean brain evolution: Dwarf sperm whale (Kogia sima) and common dolphin (Delphinus delphis) - An investigation with high-resolution 3D MRI.

    PubMed

    Oelschläger, H H A; Ridgway, S H; Knauth, M

    2010-01-01

    This study compares a whole brain of the dwarf sperm whale (Kogia sima) with that of a common dolphin (Delphinus delphis) using high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The Kogia brain was scanned with a Siemens Trio Magnetic Resonance scanner in the three main planes. As in the common dolphin and other marine odontocetes, the brain of the dwarf sperm whale is large, with the telencephalic hemispheres remarkably dominating the brain stem. The neocortex is voluminous and the cortical grey matter thin but expansive and densely convoluted. The corpus callosum is thin and the anterior commissure hard to detect whereas the posterior commissure is well-developed. There is consistency as to the lack of telencephalic structures (olfactory bulb and peduncle, olfactory ventricular recess) and neither an occipital lobe of the telencephalic hemisphere nor the posterior horn of the lateral ventricle are present. A pineal organ could not be detected in Kogia. Both species show a tiny hippocampus and thin fornix and the mammillary body is very small whereas other structures of the limbic system are well-developed. The brain stem is thick and underlies a large cerebellum, both of which, however, are smaller in Kogia. The vestibular system is markedly reduced with the exception of the lateral (Deiters') nucleus. The visual system, although well-developed in both species, is exceeded by the impressive absolute and relative size of the auditory system. The brainstem and cerebellum comprise a series of structures (elliptic nucleus, medial accessory inferior olive, paraflocculus and posterior interpositus nucleus) showing characteristic odontocete dimensions and size correlations. All these structures seem to serve the auditory system with respect to echolocation, communication, and navigation. PMID:20203478

  7. Structures of K42N and K42Y sperm whale myoglobins point to an inhibitory role of distal water in peroxidase activity.

    PubMed

    Wang, Chunxue; Lovelace, Leslie L; Sun, Shengfang; Dawson, John H; Lebioda, Lukasz

    2014-11-01

    Sperm whale myoglobin (Mb) functions as an oxygen-storage protein, but in the ferric state it possesses a weak peroxidase activity which enables it to carry out H2O2-dependent dehalogenation reactions. Hemoglobin/dehaloperoxidase from Amphitrite ornata (DHP) is a dual-function protein represented by two isoproteins DHP A and DHP B; its peroxidase activity is at least ten times stronger than that of Mb and plays a physiological role. The `DHP A-like' K42Y Mb mutant (K42Y) and the `DHP B-like' K42N mutant (K42N) were engineered in sperm whale Mb to mimic the extended heme environments of DHP A and DHP B, respectively. The peroxidase reaction rates increased ∼3.5-fold and ∼5.5-fold in K42Y and K42N versus Mb, respectively. The crystal structures of the K42Y and K42N mutants revealed that the substitutions at position 42 slightly elongate not only the distances between the distal His55 and the heme iron but also the hydrogen-bonding distances between His55 and the Fe-coordinated water. The enhanced peroxidase activity of K42Y and K42N thus might be attributed in part to the weaker binding of the axial water molecule that competes with hydrogen peroxide for the binding site at the heme in the ferric state. This is likely to be the mechanism by which the relationship `longer distal histidine to Fe distance - better peroxidase activity', which was previously proposed for heme proteins by Matsui et al. (1999) (J. Biol. Chem. 274, 2838-2844), works. Furthermore, positive cooperativity in K42N was observed when its dehaloperoxidase activity was measured as a function of the concentration of the substrate trichlorophenol. This serendipitously engineered cooperativity was rationalized by K42N dimerization through the formation of a dityrosine bond induced by excess H2O2.

  8. Sperm whale population structure in the eastern and central North Pacific inferred by the use of single-nucleotide polymorphisms, microsatellites and mitochondrial DNA.

    PubMed

    Mesnick, Sarah L; Taylor, Barbara L; Archer, Frederick I; Martien, Karen K; Treviño, Sergio Escorza; Hancock-Hanser, Brittany L; Moreno Medina, Sandra Carolina; Pease, Victoria L; Robertson, Kelly M; Straley, Janice M; Baird, Robin W; Calambokidis, John; Schorr, Gregory S; Wade, Paul; Burkanov, Vladimir; Lunsford, Chris R; Rendell, Luke; Morin, Phillip A

    2011-03-01

    We use mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) (400 bp), six microsatellites and 36 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), 20 of which were linked, to investigate population structure of sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) in the eastern and central North Pacific. SNP markers, reproducible across technologies and laboratories, are ideal for long-term studies of globally distributed species such as sperm whales, a species of conservation concern because of both historical and contemporary impacts. We estimate genetic differentiation among three strata in the temperate to tropical waters where females are found: California Current, Hawai`i and the eastern tropical Pacific. We then consider how males on sub-Arctic foraging grounds assign to these strata. The California Current stratum was differentiated from both the other strata (P < 0.05) for mtDNA, microsatellites and SNPs, suggesting that the region supports a demographically independent population and providing the first indication that males may exhibit reproductive philopatry. Comparisons between the Hawai`i stratum and the eastern tropical Pacific stratum are not conclusive at this time. Comparisons with Alaska males were statistically significant, or nearly so, from all three strata and individuals showed mixed assignment to, and few exclusions from, the three potential source strata, suggesting widespread origin of males on sub-Arctic feeding grounds. We show that SNPs have sufficient power to detect population structure even when genetic differentiation is low. There is a need for better analytical methods for SNPs, especially when linked SNPs are used, but SNPs appear to be a valuable marker for long-term studies of globally dispersed and highly mobile species.

  9. Cetacean brain evolution: Dwarf sperm whale (Kogia sima) and common dolphin (Delphinus delphis) - An investigation with high-resolution 3D MRI.

    PubMed

    Oelschläger, H H A; Ridgway, S H; Knauth, M

    2010-01-01

    This study compares a whole brain of the dwarf sperm whale (Kogia sima) with that of a common dolphin (Delphinus delphis) using high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The Kogia brain was scanned with a Siemens Trio Magnetic Resonance scanner in the three main planes. As in the common dolphin and other marine odontocetes, the brain of the dwarf sperm whale is large, with the telencephalic hemispheres remarkably dominating the brain stem. The neocortex is voluminous and the cortical grey matter thin but expansive and densely convoluted. The corpus callosum is thin and the anterior commissure hard to detect whereas the posterior commissure is well-developed. There is consistency as to the lack of telencephalic structures (olfactory bulb and peduncle, olfactory ventricular recess) and neither an occipital lobe of the telencephalic hemisphere nor the posterior horn of the lateral ventricle are present. A pineal organ could not be detected in Kogia. Both species show a tiny hippocampus and thin fornix and the mammillary body is very small whereas other structures of the limbic system are well-developed. The brain stem is thick and underlies a large cerebellum, both of which, however, are smaller in Kogia. The vestibular system is markedly reduced with the exception of the lateral (Deiters') nucleus. The visual system, although well-developed in both species, is exceeded by the impressive absolute and relative size of the auditory system. The brainstem and cerebellum comprise a series of structures (elliptic nucleus, medial accessory inferior olive, paraflocculus and posterior interpositus nucleus) showing characteristic odontocete dimensions and size correlations. All these structures seem to serve the auditory system with respect to echolocation, communication, and navigation.

  10. Albicetus oxymycterus, a New Generic Name and Redescription of a Basal Physeteroid (Mammalia, Cetacea) from the Miocene of California, and the Evolution of Body Size in Sperm Whales.

    PubMed

    Boersma, Alexandra T; Pyenson, Nicholas D

    2015-01-01

    Living sperm whales are represented by only three species (Physeter macrocephalus, Kogia breviceps and Kogia sima), but their fossil record provides evidence of an ecologically diverse array of different forms, including morphologies and body sizes without analog among living physeteroids. Here we provide a redescription of Ontocetus oxymycterus, a large but incomplete fossil sperm whale specimen from the middle Miocene Monterey Formation of California, described by Remington Kellogg in 1925. The type specimen consists of a partial rostrum, both mandibles, an isolated upper rostrum fragment, and incomplete tooth fragments. Although incomplete, these remains exhibit characteristics that, when combined, set it apart morphologically from all other known physeteroids (e.g., a closed mesorostral groove, and the retention of enameled tooth crowns). Kellogg originally placed this species in the genus Ontocetus, a enigmatic tooth taxon reported from the 19th century, based on similarities between the type specimen Ontocetus emmonsi and the conspicuously large lower dentition of Ontocetus oxymycterus. However, the type of the genus Ontocetus is now known to represent a walrus tusk (belonging to fossil Odobenidae) instead of a cetacean tooth. Thus, we assign this species to the new genus Albicetus, creating the new combination of Albicetus oxymycterus, gen. nov. We provide new morphological observations of the type specimen, including a 3D model. We also calculate a total length of approximately 6 m in life, using cranial proxies of body size for physeteroids. Lastly, a phylogenetic analysis of Albicetus oxymycterus with other fossil and living Physeteroidea resolves its position as a stem physeteroid, implying that large body size and robust dentition in physeteroids evolved multiple times and in distantly related lineages.

  11. Structures of K42N and K42Y sperm whale myoglobins point to an inhibitory role of distal water in peroxidase activity.

    PubMed

    Wang, Chunxue; Lovelace, Leslie L; Sun, Shengfang; Dawson, John H; Lebioda, Lukasz

    2014-11-01

    Sperm whale myoglobin (Mb) functions as an oxygen-storage protein, but in the ferric state it possesses a weak peroxidase activity which enables it to carry out H2O2-dependent dehalogenation reactions. Hemoglobin/dehaloperoxidase from Amphitrite ornata (DHP) is a dual-function protein represented by two isoproteins DHP A and DHP B; its peroxidase activity is at least ten times stronger than that of Mb and plays a physiological role. The `DHP A-like' K42Y Mb mutant (K42Y) and the `DHP B-like' K42N mutant (K42N) were engineered in sperm whale Mb to mimic the extended heme environments of DHP A and DHP B, respectively. The peroxidase reaction rates increased ∼3.5-fold and ∼5.5-fold in K42Y and K42N versus Mb, respectively. The crystal structures of the K42Y and K42N mutants revealed that the substitutions at position 42 slightly elongate not only the distances between the distal His55 and the heme iron but also the hydrogen-bonding distances between His55 and the Fe-coordinated water. The enhanced peroxidase activity of K42Y and K42N thus might be attributed in part to the weaker binding of the axial water molecule that competes with hydrogen peroxide for the binding site at the heme in the ferric state. This is likely to be the mechanism by which the relationship `longer distal histidine to Fe distance - better peroxidase activity', which was previously proposed for heme proteins by Matsui et al. (1999) (J. Biol. Chem. 274, 2838-2844), works. Furthermore, positive cooperativity in K42N was observed when its dehaloperoxidase activity was measured as a function of the concentration of the substrate trichlorophenol. This serendipitously engineered cooperativity was rationalized by K42N dimerization through the formation of a dityrosine bond induced by excess H2O2. PMID:25372675

  12. Establishing a Dynamic Database of Blue and Fin Whale Locations from Recordings at the IMS CTBTO hydro-acoustic network. The Baleakanta Project

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Le Bras, R. J.; Kuzma, H.

    2013-12-01

    Falling as they do into the frequency range of continuously recording hydrophones (15-100Hz), blue and fin whale songs are a significant source of noise on the hydro-acoustic monitoring array of the International Monitoring System (IMS) of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO). One researcher's noise, however, can be a very interesting signal in another field of study. The aim of the Baleakanta Project (www.baleakanta.org) is to flag and catalogue these songs, using the azimuth and slowness of the signal measured at multiple hydrophones to solve for the approximate location of singing whales. Applying techniques borrowed from human speaker identification, it may even be possible to recognize the songs of particular individuals. The result will be a dynamic database of whale locations and songs with known individuals noted. This database will be of great value to marine biologists studying cetaceans, as there is no existing dataset which spans the globe over many years (more than 15 years of data have been collected by the IMS). Current whale song datasets from other sources are limited to detections made on small, temporary listening devices. The IMS song catalogue will make it possible to study at least some aspects of the global migration patterns of whales, changes in their songs over time, and the habits of individuals. It is believed that about 10 blue whale 'cultures' exist with distinct vocal patterns; the IMS song catalogue will test that number. Results and a subset of the database (delayed in time to mitigate worries over whaling and harassment of the animals) will be released over the web. A traveling museum exhibit is planned which will not only educate the public about whale songs, but will also make the CTBTO and its achievements more widely known. As a testament to the public's enduring fascination with whales, initial funding for this project has been crowd-sourced through an internet campaign.

  13. [Behavioral and acoustical characteristics of the reproductive gathering of beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) in the vicinity of Myagostrov, Golyi Sosnovets, and Roganka Islands (Onega Bay, the White Sea)].

    PubMed

    Alekseeva, Ia I; Panova, E M; Bel'kovich, V M

    2013-01-01

    The structure of the summer reproductive gathering of beluga whales Delphinapterus leucas was studied in the vicinity of Myagostrov, Golyi Sosnovets, and Roganka islands (Onega Bay, the White Sea) in 2006 and 2008. The abundance, age and sex structure, behavior, and swimming and acoustic behavior were studied in detail.

  14. [Behavioral and acoustical characteristics of the reproductive gathering of beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) in the vicinity of Myagostrov, Golyi Sosnovets, and Roganka Islands (Onega Bay, the White Sea)].

    PubMed

    Alekseeva, Ia I; Panova, E M; Bel'kovich, V M

    2013-01-01

    The structure of the summer reproductive gathering of beluga whales Delphinapterus leucas was studied in the vicinity of Myagostrov, Golyi Sosnovets, and Roganka islands (Onega Bay, the White Sea) in 2006 and 2008. The abundance, age and sex structure, behavior, and swimming and acoustic behavior were studied in detail. PMID:24171316

  15. Anatomic geometry of sound transmission and reception in Cuvier's beaked whale (Ziphius cavirostris).

    PubMed

    Cranford, Ted W; McKenna, Megan F; Soldevilla, Melissa S; Wiggins, Sean M; Goldbogen, Jeremy A; Shadwick, Robert E; Krysl, Petr; St Leger, Judy A; Hildebrand, John A

    2008-04-01

    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.

  16. Genetic control of immune response to sperm whale myoglobin in mice. I. T lymphocyte proliferative response under H-2-linked Ir gene control.

    PubMed

    Okuda, K; Christadoss, P R; Twining, S; Atassi, M Z; David, C S

    1978-09-01

    Studies on the genetic control of immune response to sperm whale myoglobin were initiated. As demonstrated in this paper, the T lymphocyte proliferative response to whale myoglobin is under H-2-linked Ir gene control. Mice of H-2d, H-2f, and H-2s haplotypes were high responders to the myoglobin, whereas haplotypes H-2b, H-2k, H-2p, H-2q, and H-2r were low responders. The Ir gene(s) was localized between H-2K and H2D regions, since the recombinant strain A.TL (KsIkSkDd) was a low responder and A.TH (KsIsSsDd) was a high responder. Further studies with recombinant strains revealed that the expression of the high-responder I-Ad or Ias alleles was sufficient to give a good response, since strains D2.GD (d d b b b b b b) and B10.HTT (s s s s k k k d) were high responders. The expression of the I-Cd allele in strains B10.A (k k k k k d d d) and B10.A(5R) (b b b k k d d d) also gave high response, and thus suggested a second Ir gene, derived from the H-2d haplotype. The finding that expression of the I-Cs allele in B10.S(8R) (k k ? ? s s s s) did not result in high response suggests the lack of the second Ir gene in the high-responder H-2s haplotype. PMID:99478

  17. Acoustic detection of biosonar activity of deep diving odontocetes at Josephine Seamount High Seas Marine Protected Area.

    PubMed

    Giorli, Giacomo; Au, Whitlow W L; Ou, Hui; Jarvis, Susan; Morrissey, Ronald; Moretti, David

    2015-05-01

    The temporal occurrence of deep diving cetaceans in the Josephine Seamount High Seas Marine Protected Area (JSHSMPA), south-west Portugal, was monitored using a passive acoustic recorder. The recorder was deployed on 13 May 2010 at a depth of 814 m during the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation cruise "Sirena10" and recovered on 6 June 2010. The recorder was programmed to record 40 s of data every 2 min. Acoustic data analysis, for the detection and classification of echolocation clicks, was performed using automatic detector/classification systems: M3R (Marine Mammal Monitoring on Navy Ranges), a custom matlab program, and an operator-supervised custom matlab program to assess the classification performance of the detector/classification systems. M3R CS-SVM algorithm contains templates to detect beaked whales, sperm whales, blackfish (pilot and false killer whales), and Risso's dolphins. The detections of each group of odontocetes was monitored as a function of time. Blackfish and Risso's dolphins were detected every day, while beaked whales and sperm whales were detected almost every day. The hourly distribution of detections reveals that blackfish and Risso's dolphins were more active at night, while beaked whales and sperm whales were more active during daylight hours.

  18. Acoustic detection of biosonar activity of deep diving odontocetes at Josephine Seamount High Seas Marine Protected Area.

    PubMed

    Giorli, Giacomo; Au, Whitlow W L; Ou, Hui; Jarvis, Susan; Morrissey, Ronald; Moretti, David

    2015-05-01

    The temporal occurrence of deep diving cetaceans in the Josephine Seamount High Seas Marine Protected Area (JSHSMPA), south-west Portugal, was monitored using a passive acoustic recorder. The recorder was deployed on 13 May 2010 at a depth of 814 m during the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation cruise "Sirena10" and recovered on 6 June 2010. The recorder was programmed to record 40 s of data every 2 min. Acoustic data analysis, for the detection and classification of echolocation clicks, was performed using automatic detector/classification systems: M3R (Marine Mammal Monitoring on Navy Ranges), a custom matlab program, and an operator-supervised custom matlab program to assess the classification performance of the detector/classification systems. M3R CS-SVM algorithm contains templates to detect beaked whales, sperm whales, blackfish (pilot and false killer whales), and Risso's dolphins. The detections of each group of odontocetes was monitored as a function of time. Blackfish and Risso's dolphins were detected every day, while beaked whales and sperm whales were detected almost every day. The hourly distribution of detections reveals that blackfish and Risso's dolphins were more active at night, while beaked whales and sperm whales were more active during daylight hours. PMID:25994682

  19. Recent progress in reproduction of whale oocytes.

    PubMed

    Zheng, Yue-Liang

    2013-08-01

    Whale oocytes recovered from follicles can be matured in vitro. Whale sperm and mature oocytes can be used for in vitro fertilization (IVF), and IVF embryos have the ability to develop to morula stage. Whale sperm injected into bovine or mouse oocytes can activate the oocytes and form pronucleus. Interspecies somatic cell nuclear transfer embryos have been reconstructed with whale somatic cell nucleus and enucleated bovine or porcine oocytes, and interspecies cloned embryos can develop in vitro. This paper reviews recent progress in maturation, fertilization and development of whale oocytes.

  20. Ambient noise analysis of underwater acoustic data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Snyder, Mark A.; Orlin, Pete; Schulte, Annette; Newcomb, Joal

    2003-04-01

    The Littoral Acoustic Demonstration Center (LADC) deployed three Environmental Acoustic Recording System (EARS) buoys in the northern Gulf of Mexico during the summers of 2001 and 2002. The buoys recorded frequencies up to 5859 Hz continuously for 36 days in 2001 and for 72 days in 2002. The acoustic signals recorded include sperm whale vocalizations, seismic airguns, and shipping traffic. The variability of the ambient noise is analyzed using spectrograms, time series, and statistical measurements. Variations in ambient noise before, during, and after tropical storm/hurricane passage are also investigated.

  1. Observations and Bayesian location methodology of transient acoustic signals (likely blue whales) in the Indian Ocean, using a hydrophone triplet.

    PubMed

    Le Bras, Ronan J; Kuzma, Heidi; Sucic, Victor; Bokelmann, Götz

    2016-05-01

    A notable sequence of calls was encountered, spanning several days in January 2003, in the central part of the Indian Ocean on a hydrophone triplet recording acoustic data at a 250 Hz sampling rate. This paper presents signal processing methods applied to the waveform data to detect, group, extract amplitude and bearing estimates for the recorded signals. An approximate location for the source of the sequence of calls is inferred from extracting the features from the waveform. As the source approaches the hydrophone triplet, the source level (SL) of the calls is estimated at 187 ± 6 dB re: 1 μPa-1 m in the 15-60 Hz frequency range. The calls are attributed to a subgroup of blue whales, Balaenoptera musculus, with a characteristic acoustic signature. A Bayesian location method using probabilistic models for bearing and amplitude is demonstrated on the calls sequence. The method is applied to the case of detection at a single triad of hydrophones and results in a probability distribution map for the origin of the calls. It can be extended to detections at multiple triads and because of the Bayesian formulation, additional modeling complexity can be built-in as needed. PMID:27250159

  2. Observations and Bayesian location methodology of transient acoustic signals (likely blue whales) in the Indian Ocean, using a hydrophone triplet.

    PubMed

    Le Bras, Ronan J; Kuzma, Heidi; Sucic, Victor; Bokelmann, Götz

    2016-05-01

    A notable sequence of calls was encountered, spanning several days in January 2003, in the central part of the Indian Ocean on a hydrophone triplet recording acoustic data at a 250 Hz sampling rate. This paper presents signal processing methods applied to the waveform data to detect, group, extract amplitude and bearing estimates for the recorded signals. An approximate location for the source of the sequence of calls is inferred from extracting the features from the waveform. As the source approaches the hydrophone triplet, the source level (SL) of the calls is estimated at 187 ± 6 dB re: 1 μPa-1 m in the 15-60 Hz frequency range. The calls are attributed to a subgroup of blue whales, Balaenoptera musculus, with a characteristic acoustic signature. A Bayesian location method using probabilistic models for bearing and amplitude is demonstrated on the calls sequence. The method is applied to the case of detection at a single triad of hydrophones and results in a probability distribution map for the origin of the calls. It can be extended to detections at multiple triads and because of the Bayesian formulation, additional modeling complexity can be built-in as needed.

  3. Non-destructive analysis of the two subspecies of African elephants, mammoth, hippopotamus, and sperm whale ivories by visible and short-wave near infrared spectroscopy and chemometrics.

    PubMed

    Shimoyama, Masahiko; Morimoto, Susumu; Ozaki, Yukihiro

    2004-06-01

    Visible (VIS) and short-wave near infrared (SW-NIR) spectroscopy was used for non-destructive analysis of ivories. VIS-SW-NIR (500-1000 nm) spectra were measured in situ for five kinds of ivories, that is two subspecies of African elephants, mammoth, hippopotamus, and sperm whale. Chemometrics analyses were carried out for the spectral data from 500 to 1000 nm region. The five kinds of ivories were clearly discriminated from each other on the scores plot of two principal components (PCs) obtained by principal component analysis (PCA). It was noteworthy that the ivories of the two subspecies of African elephants were discriminated by the scores of PC 1. The loadings plot for PC 1 showed that the discrimination relies on the intensity changes in bands due to collagenous proteins and water interacting with proteins. It was found that the scores plot of PC 2 is useful to distinguish between the ivories of the two subspecies of African elephants and the other ivories. We also developed a calibration model that predicted the specific gravity of five kinds of ivories from their VIS-SW-NIR spectral data using partial least squares (PLS)-1 regression. The correlation coefficient and root mean square error of cross validation (RMSECV) of this model were 0.960 and 0.037, respectively.

  4. Non-destructive analysis of the two subspecies of African elephants, mammoth, hippopotamus, and sperm whale ivories by visible and short-wave near infrared spectroscopy and chemometrics.

    PubMed

    Shimoyama, Masahiko; Morimoto, Susumu; Ozaki, Yukihiro

    2004-06-01

    Visible (VIS) and short-wave near infrared (SW-NIR) spectroscopy was used for non-destructive analysis of ivories. VIS-SW-NIR (500-1000 nm) spectra were measured in situ for five kinds of ivories, that is two subspecies of African elephants, mammoth, hippopotamus, and sperm whale. Chemometrics analyses were carried out for the spectral data from 500 to 1000 nm region. The five kinds of ivories were clearly discriminated from each other on the scores plot of two principal components (PCs) obtained by principal component analysis (PCA). It was noteworthy that the ivories of the two subspecies of African elephants were discriminated by the scores of PC 1. The loadings plot for PC 1 showed that the discrimination relies on the intensity changes in bands due to collagenous proteins and water interacting with proteins. It was found that the scores plot of PC 2 is useful to distinguish between the ivories of the two subspecies of African elephants and the other ivories. We also developed a calibration model that predicted the specific gravity of five kinds of ivories from their VIS-SW-NIR spectral data using partial least squares (PLS)-1 regression. The correlation coefficient and root mean square error of cross validation (RMSECV) of this model were 0.960 and 0.037, respectively. PMID:15152335

  5. Nuclear magnetic resonance studies of amino acids and proteins. Side-chain mobility of methionine in the crystalline amonio acid and in crystallne sperm whale (Physeter catodon) myoglobin

    SciTech Connect

    Keniry, M.A.; Rothgeb, T.M.; Smith, R.L.; Gutowsky, H.S.; Oldfield, E.

    1983-04-12

    Deuterium (/sup 2/H) nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectra and spin-lattice relaxation times (T/sub 1/) were obtained of L-(epsilon-/sup 2/H/sub 3/)methionine, L-(epsilon-/sup 2/H/sub 3/)methionine in a D,L lattice, and (S-methyl-/sup 2/H/sub 3/)methionine in the crystalline solid state, as a function of temperature, in addition to obtaining /sup 2/H T/sub 1/ and line-width results as a function of temperature on (epsilon-/sup 2/H/sub 3/)methionine-labeled sperm whale (Physeter catodon) myoglobins by using the method of magnetic ordering. Also recorded were /sup 13/C cross-polarization ''magic-angle'' sample-spinning NMR spectra of (epsilon-/sup 13/C)methionine-labeled crystalline cyanoferrimyoglobin (at 37.7 MHz, corresponding to a magnetic field strength of 3.52 T) and of the same protein in aqueous solution. (JMT)

  6. Anisakis Dujardin, 1845 infection (Nematoda: Anisakidae) in Pygmy Sperm Whale Kogia breviceps Blainville, 1838 from west Pacific region off the coast of Philippine archipelago.

    PubMed

    Quiazon, Karl Marx A

    2016-09-01

    Cetaceans are definitive hosts of anisakid nematodes known to cause human anisakidosis. Despite the reported strandings of different cetaceans in the Philippines, studies on anisakids from these definitive hosts are limited. Here, the morphologically and molecularly identified anisakid species, specifically those of the genus Anisakis Dujardin, 1845 in stranded Pygmy Sperm Whale Kogia breviceps Blainville, 1838 in the west Pacific region off Philippine waters are presented. Morphological data using SEM and LM revealed multi-infections with different Anisakis species belonging to Anisakis type I and type II groups. Molecularly, PCR-RFLP on the ITS rDNA and sequence data analyses of both ITS rDNA and mtDNA cox2 regions identified those from Anisakis type I group as A. typica (Diesing, 1860), whereas those from type II group as A. brevispiculata Dollfus, 1968, and A. paggiae Mattiucci et al. (Syst Parasitol 61:157-171, 2005). This is the first record of Anisakis infection from this host stranded in the west Pacific region off the coast of Philippine waters and new geographical record for A. paggiae.

  7. Anisakis Dujardin, 1845 infection (Nematoda: Anisakidae) in Pygmy Sperm Whale Kogia breviceps Blainville, 1838 from west Pacific region off the coast of Philippine archipelago.

    PubMed

    Quiazon, Karl Marx A

    2016-09-01

    Cetaceans are definitive hosts of anisakid nematodes known to cause human anisakidosis. Despite the reported strandings of different cetaceans in the Philippines, studies on anisakids from these definitive hosts are limited. Here, the morphologically and molecularly identified anisakid species, specifically those of the genus Anisakis Dujardin, 1845 in stranded Pygmy Sperm Whale Kogia breviceps Blainville, 1838 in the west Pacific region off Philippine waters are presented. Morphological data using SEM and LM revealed multi-infections with different Anisakis species belonging to Anisakis type I and type II groups. Molecularly, PCR-RFLP on the ITS rDNA and sequence data analyses of both ITS rDNA and mtDNA cox2 regions identified those from Anisakis type I group as A. typica (Diesing, 1860), whereas those from type II group as A. brevispiculata Dollfus, 1968, and A. paggiae Mattiucci et al. (Syst Parasitol 61:157-171, 2005). This is the first record of Anisakis infection from this host stranded in the west Pacific region off the coast of Philippine waters and new geographical record for A. paggiae. PMID:27300704

  8. The effect of evolution on homologous proteins: a comparison between the chromophore microenvironments of Italian water buffalo (Bos bubalus, L.) and sperm whale apomyoglobin.

    PubMed

    Colonna, G; Irace, G; Parlato, G; Aloj, S M; Balestrieri, C

    1978-02-15

    The perturbing effect of guanidium hydrochloride and pH on the molecular structure of water buffalo apomyoglobin has been investigated by circular dichroism in the far and near ultraviolet and by fluorescence. In the wavelength region between 320 and 260 nm the circular dichroic spectrum of the globin is highly structured and the contributions of the aromatic chromophores have been resolved. Buffalo apomyoglobin undergoes a structural transition at neutral pH which involves elements of the secondary and tertiary structure, as indicated by changes of dichroic activity of the peptide and aromatic chromophores and the fluorescence of the two tryptophanyl residues. The possibility of charge-transfer complex between indole and imidazole is discussed. A major structural transition with abrupt unfolding takes place in the pH region between 5.6 and 4.3. Below pH 4.3 the peptide helical residues, which survive the acid transition, appear to be resistent to further acidification to pH 2.0 while tryptophanyl emission is quenched and shifted to longer wavelengths. A structural transition occurs also in alkali above pH 10, which has been detected by the same techniques. The relationships between buffalo and sperm whale apomyoglobin are discussed.

  9. Monitoring fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) acoustic presence by means of a low frequency seismic hydrophone in Western Ionian Sea, EMSO site.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sciacca, Virginia; Caruso, Francesco; Chierici, Francesco; De Domenico, Emilio; Embriaco, Davide; Favali, Paolo; Giovanetti, Gabriele; Larosa, Giuseppina; Pavan, Gianni; Pellegrino, Carmelo; Pulvirenti, Sara; Riccobene, Giorgio; Simeone, Francesco; Viola, Salvatore; Beranzoli, Laura; Marinaro, Giuditta

    2015-04-01

    In 2012, the NEMO-SN1 multidisciplinary seafloor platform was deployed in the Gulf of Catania at a depth of 2100 m. By using the low bandwidth seismic hydrophone SMID DT405D (1Hz acoustically monitored for the first time, over a yearlong campaign, fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) acoustic activity in the area. The presence of a genetically isolated population of fin whales has been confirmed in recent years in highly productive areas of the Mediterranean Sea. The species acoustic activity has also been monitored in the past within the Western Mediterranean. Despite this, still very little is known about the routes the population follows seasonally throughout the whole basin and, particularly, in the Ionian area. The most common vocalizations attributed to this population are known as "20Hz pulses" and they are grouped in two main types of calls: type "A", downsweep (17Hz acoustic data were continuously acquired, saved in 10 minutes long files and analyzed through a MATLAB® software developed for the study, which automatically saves the spectrogram of the band below 50Hz. About 7.000 hours of acoustic recordings have been investigated through spectrograms analysis. The low frequency hydrophone installed aboard the NEMO-SN1/SMO station allowed the detection of both types of the Mediterranean fin whale acoustic signals, recorded for the first time in the area. Furthermore, our results show a previous unknown acoustic presence of fin whales offshore Eastern Sicily throughout all seasons of the investigated year. The new long-term multidisciplinary projects connected to "KM3NeT" and "EMSO" will give us the chance to better understand the animals' occurrence in the area and to investigate their acoustic behavior and population dynamics.

  10. Automatic Indexing for Content Analysis of Whale Recordings and XML Representation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bénard, Frédéric; Glotin, Hervé

    2010-12-01

    This paper focuses on the robust indexing of sperm whale hydrophone recordings based on a set of features extracted from a real-time passive underwater acoustic tracking algorithm for multiple whales using four hydrophones. Acoustic localization permits the study of whale behavior in deep water without interfering with the environment. Given the position coordinates, we are able to generate different features such as the speed, energy of the clicks, Inter-Click-Interval (ICI), and so on. These features allow to construct different markers which allow us to index and structure the audio files. Thus, the behavior study is facilitated by choosing and accessing the corresponding index in the audio file. The complete indexing algorithm is processed on real data from the NUWC (Naval Undersea Warfare Center of the US Navy) and the AUTEC (Atlantic Undersea Test & Evaluation Center-Bahamas). Our model is validated by similar results from the US Navy (NUWC) and SOEST (School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology) Hawaii university labs in a single whale case. Finally, as an illustration, we index a single whale sound file using the extracted whale's features provided by the tracking, and we present an example of an XML script structuring it.

  11. Tracking marine mammals using passive acoustics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nosal, Eva-Marie

    2007-12-01

    It is difficult to study the behavior and physiology of marine mammals or to understand and mitigate human impact on them because much of their lives are spent underwater. Since sound propagates for long distances in the ocean and since many cetaceans are vocal, passive acoustics is a valuable tool for studying and monitoring their behavior. After a brief introduction to and review of passive acoustic tracking methods, this dissertation develops and applies two new methods. Both methods use widely-spaced (tens of kilometers) bottom-mounted hydrophone arrays, as well as propagation models that account for depth-dependent sound speed profiles. The first passive acoustic tracking method relies on arrival times of direct and surface-reflected paths. It is used to track a sperm whale using 5 at the Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center (AUTEC) and gives position estimates that are accurate to within 10 meters. With such accuracy, the whale's pitch and yaw are estimated by assuming that its main axis (which points from the tail to the rostrum) is parallel to its velocity. Roll is found by fitting the details of the pulses within each sperm whale click to the so-called bent horn model of sperm whale sound production. Finally, given the position and orientation of the whale, its beam pattern is reconstructed and found to be highly directional with an intense forward directed component. Pair-wise spectrogram (PWS) processing is the second passive acoustic tracking method developed in this dissertation. Although it is computationally more intensive, PWS has several advantages over arrival-time tracking methods, especially in shallow water environments, for long duration calls, and for multiple-animal datasets, as is the case for humpback whales on Hawaiian breeding grounds. Results of simulations with realistic noise conditions and environmental mismatch are given and compared to other passive localization techniques. When applied to the AUTEC sperm whale dataset, PWS

  12. Acoustic detection of North Atlantic right whale contact calls using spectrogram-based statistics.

    PubMed

    Urazghildiiev, Ildar R; Clark, Christopher W

    2007-08-01

    This paper considers the problem of detection of contact calls produced by the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale, Eubalaena glacialis. To reduce computational time, the class of acceptable detectors is constrained by the detectors implemented as a bank of two-dimensional linear FIR filters and using the data spectrogram as the input. The closed form representations for the detectors are derived and the detection performance is compared with that of the generalized likelihood ratio test (GLRT) detector. The test results demonstrate that in the presence of impulsive noise, the spectrogram-based detector using the French hat wavelet as the filter kernel outperforms the GLRT detector and decreases computational time by a factor of 6. PMID:17672627

  13. Contribution of active and passive acoustics to study oceanographic processes feeding whales in a critical habitat of the St. Lawrence Estuary

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Simard, Yvan; Roy, Nathalie; Simard, Yvan; Cotté, Cédric

    2001-05-01

    The head of the main channel of the continent in eastern Canada is the site of particular oceanographic processes that are responsible for the creation of a persistent feeding ground regularly visited by baleen whales from the Atlantic for centuries. Multifrequency acoustics coupled with ADCP and hydrographic measurements has been used to map the krill and capelin aggregations in 3D and visualize their local concentration process under tidal forcing and upwelling at the channel head. The krill scattering layers, pumped into the area by the strong two-layer estuarine circulation, appear to be concentrated during flood by tidal currents forced against the slopes and upwelling, to which depth-keeping krill is reacting by swimming down. Capelin also tends to concentrate on slopes and neighboring shallows. This highly recurrent process generates rich patches that are contributing with the mean circulation to make this area the richest krill aggregation in Northwest Atlantic. This critical habitat is located in a major continental seaway. Passive acoustics techniques are explored to locate whale calls and map the use of this area in continuing months, especially by blue and fin whales, with the aim of understanding their movements to improve their protection.

  14. Reaction of variant sperm-whale myoglobins with hydrogen peroxide: the effects of mutating a histidine residue in the haem distal pocket.

    PubMed Central

    Brittain, T; Baker, A R; Butler, C S; Little, R H; Lowe, D J; Greenwood, C; Watmough, N J

    1997-01-01

    The reaction of hydrogen peroxide with a number of variants of sperm-whale myoglobin in which the distal pocket histidine residue (His64) had been mutated was studied with a combination of stopped-flow spectroscopy and freeze-quench EPR. The rate of the initial bimolecular reaction with hydrogen peroxide in all the proteins studied was found to depend on the polarity of the amino acid side chain at position 64. In wild-type myoglobin there were no significant optical changes subsequent to this reaction, suggesting the rapid formation of the well-characterized oxyferryl species. This conclusion was supported by freeze-quench EPR data, which were consistent with the pattern of reactivity previously reported [King and Winfield (1963) J. Biol. Chem. 238, 1520-1528]. In those myoglobins bearing a mutation at position 64, the initial bimolecular reaction with hydrogen peroxide yielded an intermediate species that subsequently decayed via a second hydrogen peroxide-dependent step leading to modification or destruction of the haem. In the mutant His64-->Gln the calculated electronic absorption spectrum of the intermediate was not that of an oxyferryl species but seemed to be that of a low-spin ferric haem. Freeze-quench EPR studies of this mutant and the apolar mutant (His64-->Val) revealed the accumulation of a novel intermediate after the first hydrogen peroxide-dependent reaction. The unusual EPR characteristics of this species are provisionally assigned to a low-spin ferric haem with bound peroxide as the distal ligand. These results are interpreted in terms of a reaction scheme in which the polarity of the distal pocket governs the rate of binding of hydrogen peroxide to the haem iron and the residue at position 64 governs both the rate of heterolytic oxygen scission and the stability of the oxyferryl product. PMID:9337857

  15. Investigation into the response of the auditory and acoustic communications systems in the Beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas) of the St. Lawrence River Estuary to noise, using vocal classification

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Scheifele, Peter Martin

    2003-06-01

    Noise pollution has only recently become recognized as a potential danger to marine mammals in general, and to the Beluga Whale (Delphinapterus leucas) in particular. These small gregarious Odontocetes make extensive use of sound for social communication and pod cohesion. The St. Lawrence River Estuary is habitat to a small, critically endangered population of about 700 Beluga whales who congregate in four different sites in its upper estuary. The population is believed to be threatened by the stress of high-intensity, low frequency noise. One way to determine whether noise is having an effect on an animal's auditory ability might be to observe a natural and repeatable response of the auditory and vocal systems to varying noise levels. This can be accomplished by observing changes in animal vocalizations in response to auditory feedback. A response such as this observed in humans and some animals is known as the Lombard Vocal Response, which represents a reaction of the auditory system directly manifested by changes in vocalization level. In this research this population of Beluga Whales was tested to determine whether a vocalization-as-a-function-of-noise phenomenon existed by using Hidden Markhov "classified" vocalizations as targets for acoustical analyses. Correlation and regression analyses indicated that the phenomenon does exist and results of a human subjects experiment along with results from other animal species known to exhibit the response strongly implicate the Lombard Vocal Response in the Beluga.

  16. Spatial and Seasonal Distribution of American Whaling and Whales in the Age of Sail

    PubMed Central

    Smith, Tim D.; Reeves, Randall R.; Josephson, Elizabeth A.; Lund, Judith N.

    2012-01-01

    American whalemen sailed out of ports on the east coast of the United States and in California from the 18th to early 20th centuries, searching for whales throughout the world’s oceans. From an initial focus on sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) and right whales (Eubalaena spp.), the array of targeted whales expanded to include bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus), humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), and gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus). Extensive records of American whaling in the form of daily entries in whaling voyage logbooks contain a great deal of information about where and when the whalemen found whales. We plotted daily locations where the several species of whales were observed, both those caught and those sighted but not caught, on world maps to illustrate the spatial and temporal distribution of both American whaling activity and the whales. The patterns shown on the maps provide the basis for various inferences concerning the historical distribution of the target whales prior to and during this episode of global whaling. PMID:22558102

  17. Spatial and seasonal distribution of American whaling and whales in the age of sail.

    PubMed

    Smith, Tim D; Reeves, Randall R; Josephson, Elizabeth A; Lund, Judith N

    2012-01-01

    American whalemen sailed out of ports on the east coast of the United States and in California from the 18(th) to early 20(th) centuries, searching for whales throughout the world's oceans. From an initial focus on sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) and right whales (Eubalaena spp.), the array of targeted whales expanded to include bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus), humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), and gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus). Extensive records of American whaling in the form of daily entries in whaling voyage logbooks contain a great deal of information about where and when the whalemen found whales. We plotted daily locations where the several species of whales were observed, both those caught and those sighted but not caught, on world maps to illustrate the spatial and temporal distribution of both American whaling activity and the whales. The patterns shown on the maps provide the basis for various inferences concerning the historical distribution of the target whales prior to and during this episode of global whaling.

  18. Short- and long-term changes in right whale calling behavior: the potential effects of noise on acoustic communication.

    PubMed

    Parks, Susan E; Clark, C W; Tyack, P L

    2007-12-01

    The impact of anthropogenic noise on marine mammals has been an area of increasing concern over the past two decades. Most low-frequency anthropogenic noise in the ocean comes from commercial shipping which has contributed to an increase in ocean background noise over the past 150 years. The long-term impacts of these changes on marine mammals are not well understood. This paper describes both short- and long-term behavioral changes in calls produced by the endangered North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) and South Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena australis) in the presence of increased low-frequency noise. Right whales produce calls with a higher average fundamental frequency and they call at a lower rate in high noise conditions, possibly in response to masking from low-frequency noise. The long-term changes have occurred within the known lifespan of individual whales, indicating that a behavioral change, rather than selective pressure, has resulted in the observed differences. This study provides evidence of a behavioral change in sound production of right whales that is correlated with increased noise levels and indicates that right whales may shift call frequency to compensate for increased band-limited background noise.

  19. Differences in foraging activity of deep sea diving odontocetes in the Ligurian Sea as determined by passive acoustic recorders

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Giorli, Giacomo; Au, Whitlow W. L.; Neuheimer, Anna

    2016-01-01

    Characterizing the trophic roles of deep-diving odontocete species and how they vary in space and time is challenged by our ability to observe foraging behavior. Though sampling methods are limited, foraging activity of deep-diving odontocetes can be monitored by recording their biosonar emissions. Daily occurrence of echolocation clicks was monitored acoustically for five months (July-December 2011) in the Ligurian Sea (Mediterranean Sea) using five passive acoustic recorders. Detected odontocetes included Cuvier's beaked whales (Zipuhius cavirostris), sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus), Risso's dolphins (Grampus griseus), and long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala melas). The results indicated that the foraging strategies varied significantly over time, with sperm whales switching to nocturnal foraging in late September whereas Risso's dolphins and pilot whales foraged mainly at night throughout the sampling period. In the study area, winter nights are about five hours longer than summer nights and an analysis showed that pilot whales and Risso's dolphins adjusted their foraging activity with the length of the night, foraging longer during the longer winter nights. This is the first study to show that marine mammals exhibit diurnal foraging patterns closely correlated to sunrise and sunset.

  20. Ecosystem Scale Acoustic Sensing Reveals Humpback Whale Behavior Synchronous with Herring Spawning Processes and Re-Evaluation Finds No Effect of Sonar on Humpback Song Occurrence in the Gulf of Maine in Fall 2006

    PubMed Central

    Gong, Zheng; Jain, Ankita D.; Tran, Duong; Yi, Dong Hoon; Wu, Fan; Zorn, Alexander; Ratilal, Purnima; Makris, Nicholas C.

    2014-01-01

    We show that humpback-whale vocalization behavior is synchronous with peak annual Atlantic herring spawning processes in the Gulf of Maine. With a passive, wide-aperture, densely-sampled, coherent hydrophone array towed north of Georges Bank in a Fall 2006 Ocean Acoustic Waveguide Remote Sensing (OAWRS) experiment, vocalizing whales could be instantaneously detected and localized over most of the Gulf of Maine ecosystem in a roughly 400-km diameter area by introducing array gain, of 18 dB, orders of magnitude higher than previously available in acoustic whale sensing. With humpback-whale vocalizations consistently recorded at roughly 2000/day, we show that vocalizing humpbacks (i) were overwhelmingly distributed along the northern flank of Georges Bank, coinciding with the peak spawning time and location of Atlantic herring, and (ii) their overall vocalization behavior was strongly diurnal, synchronous with the formation of large nocturnal herring shoals, with a call rate roughly ten-times higher at night than during the day. Humpback-whale vocalizations were comprised of (1) highly diurnal non-song calls, suited to hunting and feeding behavior, and (2) songs, which had constant occurrence rate over a diurnal cycle, invariant to diurnal herring shoaling. Before and during OAWRS survey transmissions: (a) no vocalizing whales were found at Stellwagen Bank, which had negligible herring populations, and (b) a constant humpback-whale song occurrence rate indicates the transmissions had no effect on humpback song. These measurements contradict the conclusions of Risch et al. Our analysis indicates that (a) the song occurrence variation reported in Risch et al. is consistent with natural causes other than sonar, (b) the reducing change in song reported in Risch et al. occurred days before the sonar survey began, and (c) the Risch et al. method lacks the statistical significance to draw the conclusions of Risch et al. because it has a 98–100% false-positive rate and

  1. Ecosystem scale acoustic sensing reveals humpback whale behavior synchronous with herring spawning processes and re-evaluation finds no effect of sonar on humpback song occurrence in the Gulf of Maine in fall 2006.

    PubMed

    Gong, Zheng; Jain, Ankita D; Tran, Duong; Yi, Dong Hoon; Wu, Fan; Zorn, Alexander; Ratilal, Purnima; Makris, Nicholas C

    2014-01-01

    We show that humpback-whale vocalization behavior is synchronous with peak annual Atlantic herring spawning processes in the Gulf of Maine. With a passive, wide-aperture, densely-sampled, coherent hydrophone array towed north of Georges Bank in a Fall 2006 Ocean Acoustic Waveguide Remote Sensing (OAWRS) experiment, vocalizing whales could be instantaneously detected and localized over most of the Gulf of Maine ecosystem in a roughly 400-km diameter area by introducing array gain, of 18 dB, orders of magnitude higher than previously available in acoustic whale sensing. With humpback-whale vocalizations consistently recorded at roughly 2000/day, we show that vocalizing humpbacks (i) were overwhelmingly distributed along the northern flank of Georges Bank, coinciding with the peak spawning time and location of Atlantic herring, and (ii) their overall vocalization behavior was strongly diurnal, synchronous with the formation of large nocturnal herring shoals, with a call rate roughly ten-times higher at night than during the day. Humpback-whale vocalizations were comprised of (1) highly diurnal non-song calls, suited to hunting and feeding behavior, and (2) songs, which had constant occurrence rate over a diurnal cycle, invariant to diurnal herring shoaling. Before and during OAWRS survey transmissions: (a) no vocalizing whales were found at Stellwagen Bank, which had negligible herring populations, and (b) a constant humpback-whale song occurrence rate indicates the transmissions had no effect on humpback song. These measurements contradict the conclusions of Risch et al. Our analysis indicates that (a) the song occurrence variation reported in Risch et al. is consistent with natural causes other than sonar, (b) the reducing change in song reported in Risch et al. occurred days before the sonar survey began, and (c) the Risch et al. method lacks the statistical significance to draw the conclusions of Risch et al. because it has a 98-100% false-positive rate and lacks

  2. Nighttime foraging by deep diving echolocating odontocetes off the Hawaiian islands of Kauai and Ni'ihau as determined by passive acoustic monitors.

    PubMed

    Au, Whitlow W L; Giorli, Giacomo; Chen, Jessica; Copeland, Adrienne; Lammers, Marc; Richlen, Michael; Jarvis, Susan; Morrissey, Ronald; Moretti, David; Klinck, Holger

    2013-05-01

    Remote autonomous ecological acoustic recorders (EARs) were deployed in deep waters at five locations around the island of Kauai and one in waters off Ni'ihau in the main Hawaiian island chain. The EARs were moored to the bottom at depths between 400 and 800 m. The data acquisition sampling rate was 80 kHz and acoustic signals were recorded for 30 s every 5 min to conserve battery power and disk space. The acoustic data were analyzed with the M3R (Marine Mammal Monitoring on Navy Ranges) software, an energy-ratio-mapping algorithm developed at Oregon State University and custom MATLAB programs. A variety of deep diving odontocetes, including pilot whales, Risso's dolphins, sperm whales, spinner and pan-tropical spotted dolphins, and beaked whales were detected at all sites. Foraging activity typically began to increase after dusk, peaked in the middle of the night and began to decrease toward dawn. Between 70% and 84% of biosonar clicks were detected at night. At present it is not clear why some of the known deep diving species, such as sperm whales and beaked whales, concentrate their foraging efforts at night. PMID:23654414

  3. Nighttime foraging by deep diving echolocating odontocetes off the Hawaiian islands of Kauai and Ni'ihau as determined by passive acoustic monitors.

    PubMed

    Au, Whitlow W L; Giorli, Giacomo; Chen, Jessica; Copeland, Adrienne; Lammers, Marc; Richlen, Michael; Jarvis, Susan; Morrissey, Ronald; Moretti, David; Klinck, Holger

    2013-05-01

    Remote autonomous ecological acoustic recorders (EARs) were deployed in deep waters at five locations around the island of Kauai and one in waters off Ni'ihau in the main Hawaiian island chain. The EARs were moored to the bottom at depths between 400 and 800 m. The data acquisition sampling rate was 80 kHz and acoustic signals were recorded for 30 s every 5 min to conserve battery power and disk space. The acoustic data were analyzed with the M3R (Marine Mammal Monitoring on Navy Ranges) software, an energy-ratio-mapping algorithm developed at Oregon State University and custom MATLAB programs. A variety of deep diving odontocetes, including pilot whales, Risso's dolphins, sperm whales, spinner and pan-tropical spotted dolphins, and beaked whales were detected at all sites. Foraging activity typically began to increase after dusk, peaked in the middle of the night and began to decrease toward dawn. Between 70% and 84% of biosonar clicks were detected at night. At present it is not clear why some of the known deep diving species, such as sperm whales and beaked whales, concentrate their foraging efforts at night.

  4. Spatial variation of deep diving odontocetes' occurrence around a canyon region in the Ligurian Sea as measured with acoustic techniques

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Giorli, Giacomo; Neuheimer, Anna; Au, Whitlow

    2016-10-01

    Understanding the distribution of animals is of paramount importance for management and conservation, especially for species that are impacted by anthropogenic threats. In the case of marine mammals there has been a growing concern about the impact of human-made noise, in particular for beaked whales and other deep diving odontocetes. Foraging (measured via echolocation clicks at depth) was studied for Cuvier's beaked whale (Ziphius cavirostris), sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus), long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala melas) and Risso's dolphin (Grampus griseus) using three passive acoustics recorders moored to the bottom of the ocean in a canyon area in the Ligurian Sea between July and December 2011. A Generalized Linear Model was used to test whether foraging was influenced by location and day of the year, including the possibility of interactions between predictors. Contrary to previous studies conducted by visual surveys in this area, all species were detected at all locations, suggesting habitat overlapping. However, significant differences were found in the occurrence of each species at different locations. Beaked and sperm whales foraged significantly more in the northern and western locations, while long-finned pilot whales and Risso's dolphins hunted more in the northern and eastern location.

  5. Presence and seasonal variation of deep diving foraging odontocetes around Kauai, Hawaii using remote autonomous acoustic recorders.

    PubMed

    Au, Whitlow W L; Giorli, Giacomo; Chen, Jessica; Copeland, Adrienne; Lammers, Marc O; Richlen, Michael; Jarvis, Susan; Morrissey, Ronald; Moretti, David

    2014-01-01

    Ecological acoustic recorders (EARs) were moored off the bottom in relatively deep depths (609-710 m) at five locations around the island of Kauai. Initially, the EARs had an analog-to-digital sample rate of 64 kHz with 30-s recordings every 5 min. After the second deployment the sampling rate was increased to 80 kHz in order to better record beaked whale biosonar signals. The results of the 80 kHz recording are discussed in this manuscript and are the results of three deployments over a year's period (January 2010 to January 2011). Five categories of the biosonar signal detection of deep diving odontocetes were created, short-finned pilot whales, sperm whales, beaked whales, Risso's dolphins, and unknown dolphins. During any given day, at least one species of these deep diving odontocetes were detected. On many days, several species were detected. The biosonar signals of short-finned pilot whales were detected the most often with approximately 30% of all the signals, followed by beaked and sperm whales approximately 22% and 21% of all clicks, respectively. The seasonal patterns were not very strong except in the SW location with distinct peak in detection during the months of April-June 2010 period.

  6. Presence and seasonal variation of deep diving foraging odontocetes around Kauai, Hawaii using remote autonomous acoustic recorders.

    PubMed

    Au, Whitlow W L; Giorli, Giacomo; Chen, Jessica; Copeland, Adrienne; Lammers, Marc O; Richlen, Michael; Jarvis, Susan; Morrissey, Ronald; Moretti, David

    2014-01-01

    Ecological acoustic recorders (EARs) were moored off the bottom in relatively deep depths (609-710 m) at five locations around the island of Kauai. Initially, the EARs had an analog-to-digital sample rate of 64 kHz with 30-s recordings every 5 min. After the second deployment the sampling rate was increased to 80 kHz in order to better record beaked whale biosonar signals. The results of the 80 kHz recording are discussed in this manuscript and are the results of three deployments over a year's period (January 2010 to January 2011). Five categories of the biosonar signal detection of deep diving odontocetes were created, short-finned pilot whales, sperm whales, beaked whales, Risso's dolphins, and unknown dolphins. During any given day, at least one species of these deep diving odontocetes were detected. On many days, several species were detected. The biosonar signals of short-finned pilot whales were detected the most often with approximately 30% of all the signals, followed by beaked and sperm whales approximately 22% and 21% of all clicks, respectively. The seasonal patterns were not very strong except in the SW location with distinct peak in detection during the months of April-June 2010 period. PMID:24437792

  7. Passive Acoustic Monitoring of the Environmental Impact of Oil Exploration on Marine Mammals in the Gulf of Mexico.

    PubMed

    Sidorovskaia, Natalia A; Ackleh, Azmy S; Tiemann, Christopher O; Ma, Baoling; Ioup, Juliette W; Ioup, George E

    2016-01-01

    The Gulf of Mexico is a region densely populated by marine mammals that must adapt to living in a highly active industrial environment. This paper presents a new approach to quantifying the anthropogenic impact on the marine mammal population. The results for sperm and beaked whales of a case study of regional population dynamics trends after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, derived from passive acoustic-monitoring data gathered before and after the spill in the vicinity of the accident, are presented.

  8. A novel trypanoplasm-like flagellate Jarrellia atramenti n. g., n. sp. (Kinetoplastida: Bodonidae) and ciliates from the blowhole of a stranded pygmy sperm whale Kogia breviceps (Physeteridae): morphology, life cycle and potential pathogenicity.

    PubMed

    Poynton, S L; Whitaker, B R; Heinrich, A B

    2001-04-10

    The successful 6 mo rehabilitation of a stranded juvenile pygmy sperm whale Kogia breviceps afforded the opportunity to study the poorly known protozoan fauna of the upper respiratory tract of cetaceans. Mucus samples were collected by holding either a petri dish or glass slides over the blowhole for 3 to 5 exhalations; preparations were examined as wet mounts, and then stained with Wrights-Giemsa or Gram stain. Blood smears were stained with Wrights-Giemsa. Unidentified spindle-shaped and unidentified broad ciliates, reported from the blowhole of the pygmy sperm whale for the first time, were seen only initially, while yeast-like organisms and bacteria were seen intermittently. Epithelial cells and white blood cells were often present in the blowhole mucus, but red blood cells were never seen. A novel trypanoplasm-like bodonid kinetoplastid biflagellate (Order Kinetoplastida) was commonly encountered in the blowhole mucus, but never in the blood. Both mature flagellates and those undergoing longitudinal binary fission were present. The elongate flagellate had a long whiplash anterior flagellum; the recurrent flagellum was attached along at least two-thirds of the body length, forming a prominent undulating membrane, and the trailing portion was short. The kinetoplast was irregularly fragmented. The flagellates were either free-swimming, or attached to host material via the free portion of the posterior flagellum. The prominent undulating membrane was characteristic of Trypanoplasma, while the fragmented kinetoplast was characteristic of some species of Cryptobia. For the novel bodonid kinetoplastid, with its unique combination of morphological features (prominent undulating membrane and fragmented kinetoplast), we propose the creation of a new genus Jarrellia. We believe this to be the first published description of a flagellate from a marine mammal, and among the first reports of a trypanoplasm-like flagellate from a warm-blooded host. We expect that a diversity

  9. High Field and Multi-Frequency EPR in Single Crystals of Sperm Whale Met-Myoglobin: Determination of the Axial Zero-Field Splitting Constant and Frequency Dependence of the Linewidth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Miyajima, Yoshiharu; Yashiro, Haruhiko; Kashiwagi, Takanari; Hagiwara, Masayuki; Hori, Hiroshi

    2004-01-01

    Electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) measurements for frequencies from 28.5 GHz to 608.1 GHz and magnetic field up to 14 T have been performed on single crystals of sperm whale high-spin (S=5/2) met-myoglobin. The EPR resonance field along the c*-axis deviates from the g=5.71 straight line at high frequencies. The axial zero-field splitting constant (D) of the met-myoglobin sample is evaluated to be 9.47± 0.05 cm-1 by analyzing the resonance fields with the S=5/2 spin Hamiltonian including the D term. The angular dependence of EPR spectra in the ab plane has been also investigated at high frequencies. Two kinds of EPR spectra are observed corresponding to two kinds of different heme sites in the unit cell. A notable change in the linewidth of the spectrum along the c*-axis occurs above 350 GHz, suggesting that the dominant relaxation process changes around 350 GHz. The origins of the linewidth are discussed.

  10. Deep diving odontocetes foraging strategies and their prey field as determined by acoustic techniques

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Giorli, Giacomo

    Deep diving odontocetes, like sperm whales, beaked whales, Risso's dolphins, and pilot whales are known to forage at deep depths in the ocean on squid and fish. These marine mammal species are top predators and for this reason are very important for the ecosystems they live in, since they can affect prey populations and control food web dynamics through top-down effects. The studies presented in this thesis investigate deep diving odontocetes. foraging strategies, and the density and size of their potential prey in the deep ocean using passive and active acoustic techniques. Ecological Acoustic Recorders (EAR) were used to monitor the foraging activity of deep diving odontocetes at three locations around the world: the Josephine Seamount High Sea Marine Protected Area (JHSMPA), the Ligurian Sea, and along the Kona coast of the island of Hawaii. In the JHSMPA, sperm whales. and beaked whales. foraging rates do not differ between night-time and day-time. However, in the Ligurian Sea, sperm whales switch to night-time foraging as the winter approaches, while beaked whales alternate between hunting mainly at night, and both at night and at day. Spatial differences were found in deep diving odontocetes. foraging activity in Hawaii where they forage most in areas with higher chlorophyll concentrations. Pilot whales (and false killer whales, clustered together in the category "blackfishes") and Risso's dolphins forage mainly at night at all locations. These two species adjust their foraging activity with the length of the night. The density and size of animals living in deep sea scattering layers was studied using a DIDSON imaging sonar at multiple stations along the Kona coast of Hawaii. The density of animals was affected by location, depth, month, and the time of day. The size of animals was influenced by station and month. The DIDSON proved to be a successful, non-invasive technique to study density and size of animals in the deep sea. Densities were found to be an

  11. Using an autonomous passive acoustic observational system to monitor the environmental impact of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill on deep-diving marine mammals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sidorovskaia, N.; Ackleh, A.; Ma, B.; Tiemann, C.; Ioup, J. W.; Ioup, G. E.

    2012-12-01

    The Littoral Acoustic Demonstration Center (LADC) is a consortium of scientists from four universities and the U.S. Navy, which performs acoustic measurements and analysis in littoral waters. For the present work, six passive autonomous broadband acoustic sensors were deployed by LADC in the vicinity of the Deep Water Horizon oil spill site in the Northern Gulf of Mexico in fall 2010. The objective of the project is to assess long-term impact of the spill on the deep-diving residential population of marine mammals, particularly, sperm and beaked whales. Collected data were processed to detect, extract, and count acoustic signals produced by different types of marine mammals. As a next step, a statistical model which uses acoustic inputs was developed to estimate residential populations of different types of marine mammals at different distances from the spill site. The estimates were compared to population estimates from years prior to the spill, using pre-spill collected data in the area by LADC from 2001, 2002, and 2007. The results indicate different responses from sperm and beaked whales in the first months following the spill. A recently published article by our research group (Ackleh et al., J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 131, 2306-2314) provides a comparison of 2007 and 2010 estimates showing a decrease in acoustic activity and abundance of sperm whales at the 9-mile distant site, whereas acoustic activity and abundance at the 25-mile distant site has clearly increased. This may indicate that some sperm whales have relocated farther away from the spill subject to food source availability. The beaked whale population appears to return to 2007 numbers after the spill even at the closest 9-mile distant site. Several acoustically observed changes in the animals' habitat associated with the spill, such as anthropogenic noise level, prey presence, etc., can be connected with the observed population trends. Preliminary results for interpreting observed population trends will

  12. Beaked whales echolocate on prey.

    PubMed

    Johnson, Mark; Madsen, Peter T; Zimmer, Walter M X; de Soto, Natacha Aguilar; Tyack, Peter L

    2004-12-01

    Beaked whales (Cetacea: Ziphiidea) of the genera Ziphius and Mesoplodon are so difficult to study that they are mostly known from strandings. How these elusive toothed whales use and react to sound is of concern because they mass strand during naval sonar exercises. A new non-invasive acoustic ording tag was attached to four beaked whales(two Mesoplodon densirostris and two Ziphius cavirostris) and recorded high-frequency clicks during deep dives. The tagged whales only clicked at depths below 200 m, down to a maximum depth of 1267 m. Both species produced a large number of short, directional, ultrasonic clicks with significant energy below 20 kHz. The tags recorded echoes from prey items; to our knowledge, a first for any animal echolocating in the wild. As far as we are aware, these echoes provide the first direct evidence on how free-ranging toothed whales use echolocation in foraging. The strength of these echoes suggests that the source level of Mesoplodon clicks is in the range of 200-220 dB re 1 microPa at 1 m. This paper presents conclusive data on the normal vocalizations of these beaked whale species, which may enable acoustic monitoring to mitigate exposure to sounds intense enough to harm them.

  13. Beaked whales echolocate on prey.

    PubMed Central

    Johnson, Mark; Madsen, Peter T; Zimmer, Walter M X; de Soto, Natacha Aguilar; Tyack, Peter L

    2004-01-01

    Beaked whales (Cetacea: Ziphiidea) of the genera Ziphius and Mesoplodon are so difficult to study that they are mostly known from strandings. How these elusive toothed whales use and react to sound is of concern because they mass strand during naval sonar exercises. A new non-invasive acoustic ording tag was attached to four beaked whales(two Mesoplodon densirostris and two Ziphius cavirostris) and recorded high-frequency clicks during deep dives. The tagged whales only clicked at depths below 200 m, down to a maximum depth of 1267 m. Both species produced a large number of short, directional, ultrasonic clicks with significant energy below 20 kHz. The tags recorded echoes from prey items; to our knowledge, a first for any animal echolocating in the wild. As far as we are aware, these echoes provide the first direct evidence on how free-ranging toothed whales use echolocation in foraging. The strength of these echoes suggests that the source level of Mesoplodon clicks is in the range of 200-220 dB re 1 microPa at 1 m.This paper presents conclusive data on the normal vocalizations of these beaked whale species, which may enable acoustic monitoring to mitigate exposure to sounds intense enough to harm them. PMID:15801582

  14. Advanced Whale Detection Methods to Improve Whale-Ship Collision Avoidance

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McGillivary, P. A.; Tougher, B.

    2010-12-01

    hydrophone arrays. We here discuss the possibility of using Ambient Noise Imaging (ANI) systems initially developed for location of non-calling sperm whales along high speed ferry routes in the Canary Islands. A ‘hybrid’ ANI system has also been developed which uses sound from calling whales to ‘illuminate’ non-calling whales. Such systems designed for sperm whales would require modification for Blue and fin whales along California shipping lanes, and Bowhead whales in Alaska. We discuss how ANI whale detection systems could be developed for California and Alaska by combining bottom moorings with autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) and autonomous surface vehicles (ASVs) as part of ocean observing systems. The mechanisms, challenges, and potential solutions for use of ANI whale detection systems along critical shipping lanes along the California and Alaska coast to reduce whale-ship collisions are discussed as a means that permit science to assist in development of integrated state and federal ocean management policies. The combination of new scientific technology with ocean policy decisions can improve coastal ocean management, improve the safety and reduce the cost of shipping, while at the same time protecting endangered whale species.

  15. Can whales mix the ocean?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lavery, T. J.; Roudnew, B.; Seuront, L.; Mitchell, J. G.; Middleton, J.

    2012-07-01

    Ocean mixing influences global climate and enhances primary productivity by transporting nutrient rich water into the euphotic zone. The contribution of the swimming biosphere to diapycnal mixing in the ocean has been hypothesised to occur on scales similar to that of tides or winds, however, the extent to which this contributes to nutrient transport and stimulates primary productivity has not been explored. Here, we introduce a novel method to estimate the diapycnal diffusivity that occurs as a result of a sperm whale swimming through a pycnocline. Nutrient profiles from the Hawaiian Ocean are used to further estimate the amount of nitrogen transported into the euphotic zone and the primary productivity stimulated as a result. We estimate that the 80 sperm whales that travel through an area of 104 km2 surrounding Hawaii increase diapycnal diffusivity by 10-6 m2 s-1 which results in the flux of 105 kg of nitrogen into the euphotic zone each year. This nitrogen input subsequently stimulates 6 × 105 kg of carbon per year. The nutrient input of swimming sperm whales is modest compared to dominant modes of nutrient transport such as nitrogen fixation but occurs more consistently and thus may provide the nutrients necessary to enable phytoplankton growth and survival in the absence of other seasonal and daily nutrient inputs.

  16. Acoustic survey for marine mammal occurrence and distribution off East Antarctica (30-80°E) in January-February 2006

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gedamke, Jason; Robinson, Sarah M.

    2010-05-01

    A large scale, systematic, acoustic survey for whales and seals in eastern Antarctic waters was conducted in January-February 2006. During the BROKE-West survey of Southern Ocean waters between 30 and 80° E longitude, an acoustic survey was conducted to complement a traditional visual survey for marine mammal occurrence and distribution. As part of the survey, 145 DIFAR sonobuoys were deployed every 30' of latitude on north-south transects, and prior to CTD stations on the initial east-west transect. Underwater sound was analyzed for 70 minute samples from each sonobuoy. Blue whales were the most commonly recorded species, identified at 55 of the sonobuoy deployment sites. Other species recorded include: sperm (46 sites), fin (14), humpback (2), and sei (3) whales, and leopard (11) and Ross (17) seals. Large numbers of blue and sperm whales, and all Ross seals were detected on the westernmost two transects, which were the only transects of the survey with relatively extensive sea ice remaining off the continental shelf. Large numbers of blue whales were also detected in the more eastern waters of the survey off the Prydz Bay region, while two detections of pygmy blue whales represent the farthest south these whales have been recorded. Of the relatively few fin whale detections, most occurred in more northerly waters. Fin whale vocalizations from this region were distinctly different than those recorded elsewhere around Antarctica suggesting acoustic recordings may be useful to delineate regional or stock boundaries of this species. Previously undescribed sounds were attributed to Ross seals. Acoustic detections of these and leopard seal sounds indicate these animals venture further from their traditionally described distributions, with vocalizing leopard seals occurring much further north than might be expected. Overall, the results of the sonobuoy survey provide a measure of each species' relative spatial distribution over the survey area based on acoustic

  17. Physical oceanography and acoustic propagation during LADC experiment in the Gulf of Mexico in 2001

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vinogradov, Sergey; Caruthers, Jerald W.; Rayborn, Grayson H.; Udovydchenkov, Ilya A.; Sidorovskaia, Natalia A.; Rypina, Irina I.; Newcomb, Joal J.; Fisher, Robert A.; Ioup, George E.; Ioup, Juliette W.

    2003-04-01

    The Littoral Acoustic Demonstration Center (LADC) deployed three environmental and acoustic moorings in a downslope line just off the Mississippi River Delta in the northern Gulf of Mexico in an area of a large concentration of sperm whales in July 2001. The measurement of whale vocalizations and, more generally, ambient noise, were the objectives of the experiment. Each mooring had a single hydrophone autonomously recording Environmental Acoustic Recording System (EARS) obtained from the U.S. Naval Oceanographic Office and modified to recorded signals up to 5859 Hz continuously for 36 days. Also, self-recording, environmental sensors were attached to the moorings to obtain profiles of time series data of temperature and salinity. Satellite imagery and NOAA mooring data were gathered for an analysis of eddy formations and movement in the Gulf. This paper will discuss the possible environmental impact of two events that occurred during the experiment: the passage of Tropical Storm Barry and the movement of the remnants of an eddy in the area. Discussed also will be the expected effects of these events on acoustic propagation based on modeling, which are carried out for long range and low frequency (300 km and 500 Hz) using the normal-mode acoustic model SWAMP (Shallow Water Acoustic Modal Propagation by M. F. Werby and N. A. Sidorovskaia) and for short range and high frequency (10 km and 5000 Hz) using the parabolic-equation acoustic model RAM (Range-dependent Acoustic model by M. Collins). [Work supported by ONR.

  18. Comparison of echolocation clicks from geographically sympatric killer whales and long-finned pilot whales (L).

    PubMed

    Eskesen, Ida G; Wahlberg, Magnus; Simon, Malene; Larsen, Ole Næsbye

    2011-07-01

    The source characteristics of biosonar signals from sympatric killer whales and long-finned pilot whales in a Norwegian fjord were compared. A total of 137 pilot whale and more than 2000 killer whale echolocation clicks were recorded using a linear four-hydrophone array. Of these, 20 pilot whale clicks and 28 killer whale clicks were categorized as being recorded on-axis. The clicks of pilot whales had a mean apparent source level of 196 dB re 1 μPa pp and those of killer whales 203 dB re 1 μPa pp. The duration of pilot whale clicks was significantly shorter (23 μs, S.E.=1.3) and the centroid frequency significantly higher (55 kHz, S.E.=2.1) than killer whale clicks (duration: 41 μs, S.E.=2.6; centroid frequency: 32 kHz, S.E.=1.5). The rate of increase in the accumulated energy as a function of time also differed between clicks from the two species. The differences in duration, frequency, and energy distribution may have a potential to allow for the distinction between pilot and killer whale clicks when using automated detection routines for acoustic monitoring.

  19. Whales use distinct strategies to counteract solar ultraviolet radiation.

    PubMed

    Martinez-Levasseur, Laura M; Birch-Machin, Mark A; Bowman, Amy; Gendron, Diane; Weatherhead, Elizabeth; Knell, Robert J; Acevedo-Whitehouse, Karina

    2013-01-01

    A current threat to the marine ecosystem is the high level of solar ultraviolet radiation (UV). Large whales have recently been shown to suffer sun-induced skin damage from continuous UV exposure. Genotoxic consequences of such exposure remain unknown for these long-lived marine species, as does their capacity to counteract UV-induced insults. We show that UV exposure induces mitochondrial DNA damage in the skin of seasonally sympatric fin, sperm, and blue whales and that this damage accumulates with age. However, counteractive molecular mechanisms are markedly different between species. For example, sperm whales, a species that remains for long periods at the sea surface, activate genotoxic stress pathways in response to UV exposure whereas the paler blue whale relies on increased pigmentation as the season progresses. Our study also shows that whales can modulate their responses to fluctuating levels of UV, and that different evolutionary constraints may have shaped their response strategies. PMID:23989080

  20. Whales use distinct strategies to counteract solar ultraviolet radiation.

    PubMed

    Martinez-Levasseur, Laura M; Birch-Machin, Mark A; Bowman, Amy; Gendron, Diane; Weatherhead, Elizabeth; Knell, Robert J; Acevedo-Whitehouse, Karina

    2013-01-01

    A current threat to the marine ecosystem is the high level of solar ultraviolet radiation (UV). Large whales have recently been shown to suffer sun-induced skin damage from continuous UV exposure. Genotoxic consequences of such exposure remain unknown for these long-lived marine species, as does their capacity to counteract UV-induced insults. We show that UV exposure induces mitochondrial DNA damage in the skin of seasonally sympatric fin, sperm, and blue whales and that this damage accumulates with age. However, counteractive molecular mechanisms are markedly different between species. For example, sperm whales, a species that remains for long periods at the sea surface, activate genotoxic stress pathways in response to UV exposure whereas the paler blue whale relies on increased pigmentation as the season progresses. Our study also shows that whales can modulate their responses to fluctuating levels of UV, and that different evolutionary constraints may have shaped their response strategies.

  1. Whales Use Distinct Strategies to Counteract Solar Ultraviolet Radiation

    PubMed Central

    Martinez-Levasseur, Laura M.; Birch-Machin, Mark A.; Bowman, Amy; Gendron, Diane; Weatherhead, Elizabeth; Knell, Robert J.; Acevedo-Whitehouse, Karina

    2013-01-01

    A current threat to the marine ecosystem is the high level of solar ultraviolet radiation (UV). Large whales have recently been shown to suffer sun-induced skin damage from continuous UV exposure. Genotoxic consequences of such exposure remain unknown for these long-lived marine species, as does their capacity to counteract UV-induced insults. We show that UV exposure induces mitochondrial DNA damage in the skin of seasonally sympatric fin, sperm, and blue whales and that this damage accumulates with age. However, counteractive molecular mechanisms are markedly different between species. For example, sperm whales, a species that remains for long periods at the sea surface, activate genotoxic stress pathways in response to UV exposure whereas the paler blue whale relies on increased pigmentation as the season progresses. Our study also shows that whales can modulate their responses to fluctuating levels of UV, and that different evolutionary constraints may have shaped their response strategies. PMID:23989080

  2. Confirmation of right whales near a nineteenth-century whaling ground east of southern Greenland.

    PubMed

    Mellinger, David K; Nieukirk, Sharon L; Klinck, Karolin; Klinck, Holger; Dziak, Robert P; Clapham, Phillip J; Brandsdóttir, Bryndís

    2011-06-23

    North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis) were found in an important nineteenth century whaling area east of southern Greenland, from which they were once thought to have been extirpated. In 2007-2008, a 1-year passive acoustic survey was conducted at five sites in and near the 'Cape Farewell Ground', the former whaling ground. Over 2000 right whale calls were recorded at these sites, primarily during July-November. Most calls were northwest of the historic ground, suggesting a broader range in this region than previously known. Geographical and temporal separation of calls confirms use of this area by multiple animals.

  3. Accumulation of organotin compounds in tissues and organs of stranded whales along the coasts of Thailand.

    PubMed

    Harino, H; Ohji, M; Wattayakorn, G; Adulyanukosol, K; Arai, T; Miyazaki, N

    2007-07-01

    Concentrations of butyltin (BT) and phenyltin (PT) compounds were measured in organs and tissues of five species of whales (Bride's whale [Balaenoptera edeni], false killer whale [Pseudorca crassidens], pygmy sperm whale [Kogia breviceps], short-finned pilot whale [Globicephala macrorhynchus], and sperm whale [Physeter macrocephalus]) found stranded on the coasts of Thailand. The mean concentrations of BTs in various whales were in the range of 0.157 to 1.03 mg kg(-1 )wet weight, which were higher levels than the reported concentrations in whales from other countries. PT concentrations were also detected in the range of 0.022 to 1.14 mg kg(-1) wet weight. The concentrations of BTs and PTs in whales were higher than those in mussels from the coastal area of Thailand. Concentrations of tributyltin (TBT) and triphenyltin (TPT) compounds in whale organs and tissues were also compared, and it was found that TBT concentrations were generally higher in liver and lower in lung. TPT concentrations were higher in liver and blubber and lower in lung. Ratios of TBT degradation products in whale liver, namely monobutyltin (MBT) and dibutyltin (DBT), were higher than the ratios of TBT. TPTs in liver were found to be dominant among PTs. The patterns of BTs and PTs in false killer whale liver were different from those in the other whales by cluster analysis. Their concentrations in false killer whales were the highest among all whales in this study. False killer whales feed on squid and large pelagic fish containing higher concentrations of organotin (OT) compounds, so the differences in patterns and concentrations of OTs in liver between false killer whales and the other whales may be caused by difference in diet.

  4. Studying Fin Whales with Seafloor Seismic Networks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wilcock, W. S.; Soule, D. C.; Weirathmueller, M.; Thomson, R.

    2011-12-01

    Baleen whales are found throughout the world's oceans and their welfare captivates the general public. Depending on the species, baleen whales vocalize at frequencies ranging from ~10 Hz to several kilohertz. Passive acoustic studies of whale calls are used to investigate behavior and habitat usage, monitor the recovery of populations from whaling and assess the impacts of anthropogenic sounds. Since airguns are a significant source of sound in the oceans, the research goals of academic seismologists can lead to conflicts with those who advocate for whale conservation while being unwilling to consider the societal benefits of marine geophysical studies. In contrast, studies that monitor earthquakes with ocean bottom seismometers (OBSs) provide an opportunity to enhance studies of baleen whales and improve relationships with environmental advocates. The bandwidth of the typical high-frequency or intermediate-band ocean bottom seismometer overlaps the call frequency of the two largest baleen whale species; blue whales generate sequences of 10- to 20-s-long calls centered at ~16 Hz and fin whales produce long sequences of downswept 1-s-long chirps centered at ~20 Hz. Several studies have demonstrated the potential of OBS networks to monitor calling patterns and determine tracks for fin and blue whales. We will summarize the results from a study to track fin whales near the Endeavour hydrothermal vent fields on the Juan de Fuca Ridge and investigate a potential correlation between the density of whales and enhanced zooplankton found throughout the water column overlying the vent fields. From 2003-2006 an 8-station local seismic network that was designed to monitor hydrothermal earthquakes also recorded ~300,000 fin whale vocalizations, mostly in the fall and winter. Automatic picking and localization techniques that are analogous to those used to analyze earthquakes are employed to determine whale tracks. The tracks are then used to interpret calling patterns in the

  5. Seasonal and geographic variation of southern blue whale subspecies in the Indian Ocean.

    PubMed

    Samaran, Flore; Stafford, Kathleen M; Branch, Trevor A; Gedamke, Jason; Royer, Jean-Yves; Dziak, Robert P; Guinet, Christophe

    2013-01-01

    Understanding the seasonal movements and distribution patterns of migratory species over ocean basin scales is vital for appropriate conservation and management measures. However, assessing populations over remote regions is challenging, particularly if they are rare. Blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus spp) are an endangered species found in the Southern and Indian Oceans. Here two recognized subspecies of blue whales and, based on passive acoustic monitoring, four "acoustic populations" occur. Three of these are pygmy blue whale (B.m. brevicauda) populations while the fourth is the Antarctic blue whale (B.m. intermedia). Past whaling catches have dramatically reduced their numbers but recent acoustic recordings show that these oceans are still important habitat for blue whales. Presently little is known about the seasonal movements and degree of overlap of these four populations, particularly in the central Indian Ocean. We examined the geographic and seasonal occurrence of different blue whale acoustic populations using one year of passive acoustic recording from three sites located at different latitudes in the Indian Ocean. The vocalizations of the different blue whale subspecies and acoustic populations were recorded seasonally in different regions. For some call types and locations, there was spatial and temporal overlap, particularly between Antarctic and different pygmy blue whale acoustic populations. Except on the southernmost hydrophone, all three pygmy blue whale acoustic populations were found at different sites or during different seasons, which further suggests that these populations are generally geographically distinct. This unusual blue whale diversity in sub-Antarctic and sub-tropical waters indicates the importance of the area for blue whales in these former whaling grounds. PMID:23967221

  6. Seasonal and geographic variation of southern blue whale subspecies in the Indian Ocean.

    PubMed

    Samaran, Flore; Stafford, Kathleen M; Branch, Trevor A; Gedamke, Jason; Royer, Jean-Yves; Dziak, Robert P; Guinet, Christophe

    2013-01-01

    Understanding the seasonal movements and distribution patterns of migratory species over ocean basin scales is vital for appropriate conservation and management measures. However, assessing populations over remote regions is challenging, particularly if they are rare. Blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus spp) are an endangered species found in the Southern and Indian Oceans. Here two recognized subspecies of blue whales and, based on passive acoustic monitoring, four "acoustic populations" occur. Three of these are pygmy blue whale (B.m. brevicauda) populations while the fourth is the Antarctic blue whale (B.m. intermedia). Past whaling catches have dramatically reduced their numbers but recent acoustic recordings show that these oceans are still important habitat for blue whales. Presently little is known about the seasonal movements and degree of overlap of these four populations, particularly in the central Indian Ocean. We examined the geographic and seasonal occurrence of different blue whale acoustic populations using one year of passive acoustic recording from three sites located at different latitudes in the Indian Ocean. The vocalizations of the different blue whale subspecies and acoustic populations were recorded seasonally in different regions. For some call types and locations, there was spatial and temporal overlap, particularly between Antarctic and different pygmy blue whale acoustic populations. Except on the southernmost hydrophone, all three pygmy blue whale acoustic populations were found at different sites or during different seasons, which further suggests that these populations are generally geographically distinct. This unusual blue whale diversity in sub-Antarctic and sub-tropical waters indicates the importance of the area for blue whales in these former whaling grounds.

  7. Marine bioacoustics and technology: The new world of marine acoustic ecology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hastings, Mardi C.; Au, Whitlow W. L.

    2012-11-01

    Marine animals use sound for communication, navigation, predator avoidance, and prey detection. Thus the rise in acoustic energy associated with increasing human activity in the ocean has potential to impact the lives of marine animals. Thirty years ago marine bioacoustics primarily focused on evaluating effects of human-generated sound on hearing and behavior by testing captive animals and visually observing wild animals. Since that time rapidly changing electronic and computing technologies have yielded three tools that revolutionized how bioacousticians study marine animals. These tools are (1) portable systems for measuring electrophysiological auditory evoked potentials, (2) miniaturized tags equipped with positioning sensors and acoustic recording devices for continuous short-term acoustical observation rather than intermittent visual observation, and (3) passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) systems for remote long-term acoustic observations at specific locations. The beauty of these breakthroughs is their direct applicability to wild animals in natural habitats rather than only to animals held in captivity. Hearing capabilities of many wild species including polar bears, beaked whales, and reef fishes have now been assessed by measuring their auditory evoked potentials. Miniaturized acoustic tags temporarily attached to an animal to record its movements and acoustic environment have revealed the acoustic foraging behavior of sperm and beaked whales. Now tags are being adapted to fishes in effort to understand their behavior in the presence of noise. Moving and static PAM systems automatically detect and characterize biological and physical features of an ocean area without adding any acoustic energy to the environment. PAM is becoming a powerful technique for understanding and managing marine habitats. This paper will review the influence of these transformative tools on the knowledge base of marine bioacoustics and elucidation of relationships between marine

  8. Humpback whale bioacoustics: From form to function

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mercado, Eduardo, III

    This thesis investigates how humpback whales produce, perceive, and use sounds from a comparative and computational perspective. Biomimetic models are developed within a systems-theoretic framework and then used to analyze the properties of humpback whale sounds. First, sound transmission is considered in terms of possible production mechanisms and the propagation characteristics of shallow water environments frequented by humpback whales. A standard source-filter model (used to describe human sound production) is shown to be well suited for characterizing sound production by humpback whales. Simulations of sound propagation based on normal mode theory reveal that optimal frequencies for long range propagation are higher than the frequencies used most often by humpbacks, and that sounds may contain spectral information indicating how far they have propagated. Next, sound reception is discussed. A model of human auditory processing is modified to emulate humpback whale auditory processing as suggested by cochlear anatomical dimensions. This auditory model is used to generate visual representations of humpback whale sounds that more clearly reveal what features are likely to be salient to listening whales. Additionally, the possibility that an unusual sensory organ (the tubercle) plays a role in acoustic processing is assessed. Spatial distributions of tubercles are described that suggest tubercles may be useful for localizing sound sources. Finally, these models are integrated with self-organizing feature maps to create a biomimetic sound classification system, and a detailed analysis of individual sounds and sound patterns in humpback whale 'songs' is performed. This analysis provides evidence that song sounds and sound patterns vary substantially in terms of detectability and propagation potential, suggesting that they do not all serve the same function. New quantitative techniques are also presented that allow for more objective characterizations of the long term

  9. Toothed whales in the northwestern Mediterranean: insight into their feeding ecology using chemical tracers.

    PubMed

    Praca, Emilie; Laran, Sophie; Lepoint, Gilles; Thomé, Jean-Pierre; Quetglas, Antoni; Belcari, Paola; Sartor, Paolo; Dhermain, Frank; Ody, Denis; Tapie, Nathalie; Budzinski, Hélène; Das, Krishna

    2011-05-01

    Risso's dolphins, pilot whales and sperm whales rarely strand in the northwestern Mediterranean. Thus, their feeding ecology, through the analysis of stomach contents, is poorly known. The aim of this study was to gain further insight into the segregation/superposition of the diet and habitat of Risso's dolphins, pilot whales and sperm whales using chemical tracers, namely, stable isotopes (δ(13)C, δ(15)N) and organochlorines. Significantly different δ(15)N values were obtained in Risso's dolphins (11.7±0.7‰), sperm whales (10.8±0.3‰) and pilot whales (9.8±0.3‰), revealing different trophic levels. These differences are presumably due to various proportions of Histioteuthidae cephalopods in each toothed whale's diet. Similar δ(13)C contents between species indicated long-term habitat superposition or corroborated important seasonal migrations. Lower congener 180 concentrations (8.20 vs. 21.73 μg.g(-1) lw) and higher tDDT/tPCB ratios (0.93 vs. 0.42) were observed in sperm whales compared with Risso's dolphins and may indicate wider migrations for the former. Therefore, competition between these species seems to depend on different trophic levels and migration patterns.

  10. Whales before whaling in the North Atlantic.

    PubMed

    Roman, Joe; Palumbi, Stephen R

    2003-07-25

    It is well known that hunting dramatically reduced all baleen whale populations, yet reliable estimates of former whale abundances are elusive. Based on coalescent models for mitochondrial DNA sequence variation, the genetic diversity of North Atlantic whales suggests population sizes of approximately 240,000 humpback, 360,000 fin, and 265,000 minke whales. Estimates for fin and humpback whales are far greater than those previously calculated for prewhaling populations and 6 to 20 times higher than present-day population estimates. Such discrepancies suggest the need for a quantitative reevaluation of historical whale populations and a fundamental revision in our conception of the natural state of the oceans.

  11. Enhancing active and passive remote sensing in the ocean using broadband acoustic transmissions and coherent hydrophone arrays

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tran, Duong Duy

    The statistics of broadband acoustic signal transmissions in a random continental shelf waveguide are characterized for the fully saturated regime. The probability distribution of broadband signal energies after saturated multi-path propagation is derived using coherence theory. The frequency components obtained from Fourier decomposition of a broadband signal are each assumed to be fully saturated, where the energy spectral density obeys the exponential distribution with 5.6 dB standard deviation and unity scintillation index. When the signal bandwidth and measurement time are respectively larger than the correlation bandwidth and correlation time of its energy spectral density components, the broadband signal energy obtained by integrating the energy spectral density across the signal bandwidth then follows the Gamma distribution with standard deviation smaller than 5.6 dB and scintillation index less than unity. The theory is verified with broadband transmissions in the Gulf of Maine shallow water waveguide in the 300-1200 Hz frequency range. The standard deviations of received broadband signal energies range from 2.7 to 4.6 dB for effective bandwidths up to 42 Hz, while the standard deviations of individual energy spectral density components are roughly 5.6 dB. The energy spectral density correlation bandwidths of the received broadband signals are found to be larger for signals with higher center frequency. Sperm whales in the New England continental shelf and slope were passively localized, in both range and bearing using a single low-frequency (< 2500 Hz), densely sampled, towed horizontal coherent hydrophone array system. Whale bearings were estimated using time-domain beamforming that provided high coherent array gain in sperm whale click signal-to-noise ratio. Whale ranges from the receiver array center were estimated using the moving array triangulation technique from a sequence of whale bearing measurements. The dive profile was estimated for a sperm

  12. Molecular cloning of urea transporters from the kidneys of baleen and toothed whales.

    PubMed

    Birukawa, Naoko; Ando, Hironori; Goto, Mutsuo; Kanda, Naohisa; Pastene, Luis A; Urano, Akihisa

    2008-02-01

    Urea transport in the kidney is important for the production of concentrated urine. This process is mediated by urea transporters (UTs) encoded by two genes, UT-A (Slc14a2) and UT-B (Slc14a1). Our previous study demonstrated that cetaceans produce highly concentrated urine than terrestrial mammals, and that baleen whales showed higher concentrations of urinary urea than sperm whales. Therefore, we hypothesized that cetaceans have unique actions of UTs to maintain fluid homeostasis in marine habitat. Kidney samples of common minke (Balaenoptera acutorostrata), sei (B. borealis), Bryde's (B. brydei) and sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) were obtained to determine the nucleotide sequences of mRNAs encoding UT. The sequences of 2.5-kb cDNAs encode 397-amino acid proteins, which are 90-94% identical to the mammalian UT-A2s. Two putative glycosylation sites are conserved between the whales and the terrestrial mammals, whereas consensus sites for protein kinases are not completely conserved; only a single protein kinase A consensus site was identified in the whale UT-A2s. Two protein kinase C consensus sites are present in the baleen whale UT-A2s, however, a single protein kinase C consensus site was identified in the sperm whale UT-A2. These different phosphorylation sites of whale UT-A2s may result in the high concentrations of urinary urea in whales, by reflecting their urea permeability.

  13. Toothed whale monophyly reassessed by SINE insertion analysis: the absence of lineage sorting effects suggests a small population of a common ancestral species.

    PubMed

    Nikaido, Masato; Piskurek, Oliver; Okada, Norihiro

    2007-04-01

    Morphological data have indicated that toothed whales form a monophyletic group. However, research published in the last several years has made the issue of the monophyly or paraphyly of toothed whales a subject of debate. Our group previously characterized three independent loci in which SINE insertions were shared among dolphins and sperm whales, thus supporting the traditional, morphologically based hypothesis of toothed whale monophyly. Although in recent years a few additional molecular works proposed this topology, there is still skepticism over this monophyly from the view point of molecular systematics. When the phylogeny of rapidly radiated taxa is examined using the SINE method, it is important to consider the ascertainment bias that arises when choosing a particular taxon for SINE loci screening. To overcome this methodological problem specific to the SINE method, we examined all possible topologies among sperm whales, dolphins and baleen whales by extensively screening SINE loci from species of all three lineages. We characterized nine independent SINE loci from the genomes of sperm whales and dolphins, all of which cluster sperm whales and dolphins but exclude baleen whales. Furthermore, we characterized ten independent loci from baleen whales, all of which were amplified in a common ancestor of these whales. From these observations, we conclude that toothed whales form a monophyletic group and that no ancestral SINE polymorphisms hinder their phylogenetic assignment despite the short divergence times of the major lineages of extant whales during evolution. These results suggest that a small population of common ancestors of all toothed whales ultimately diverged into the lineages of sperm whales and dolphins.

  14. Species-specific beaked whale echolocation signals.

    PubMed

    Baumann-Pickering, Simone; McDonald, Mark A; Simonis, Anne E; Solsona Berga, Alba; Merkens, Karlina P B; Oleson, Erin M; Roch, Marie A; Wiggins, Sean M; Rankin, Shannon; Yack, Tina M; Hildebrand, John A

    2013-09-01

    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.

  15. Beaked whales respond to simulated and actual navy sonar.

    PubMed

    Tyack, Peter L; Zimmer, Walter M X; Moretti, David; Southall, Brandon L; Claridge, Diane E; Durban, John W; Clark, Christopher W; D'Amico, Angela; DiMarzio, Nancy; Jarvis, Susan; McCarthy, Elena; Morrissey, Ronald; Ward, Jessica; Boyd, Ian L

    2011-03-14

    Beaked whales have mass stranded during some naval sonar exercises, but the cause is unknown. They are difficult to sight but can reliably be detected by listening for echolocation clicks produced during deep foraging dives. Listening for these clicks, we documented Blainville's beaked whales, Mesoplodon densirostris, in a naval underwater range where sonars are in regular use near Andros Island, Bahamas. An array of bottom-mounted hydrophones can detect beaked whales when they click anywhere within the range. We used two complementary methods to investigate behavioral responses of beaked whales to sonar: an opportunistic approach that monitored whale responses to multi-day naval exercises involving tactical mid-frequency sonars, and an experimental approach using playbacks of simulated sonar and control sounds to whales tagged with a device that records sound, movement, and orientation. Here we show that in both exposure conditions beaked whales stopped echolocating during deep foraging dives and moved away. During actual sonar exercises, beaked whales were primarily detected near the periphery of the range, on average 16 km away from the sonar transmissions. Once the exercise stopped, beaked whales gradually filled in the center of the range over 2-3 days. A satellite tagged whale moved outside the range during an exercise, returning over 2-3 days post-exercise. The experimental approach used tags to measure acoustic exposure and behavioral reactions of beaked whales to one controlled exposure each of simulated military sonar, killer whale calls, and band-limited noise. The beaked whales reacted to these three sound playbacks at sound pressure levels below 142 dB re 1 µPa by stopping echolocation followed by unusually long and slow ascents from their foraging dives. The combined results indicate similar disruption of foraging behavior and avoidance by beaked whales in the two different contexts, at exposures well below those used by regulators to define

  16. Beaked Whales Respond to Simulated and Actual Navy Sonar

    PubMed Central

    Tyack, Peter L.; Zimmer, Walter M. X.; Moretti, David; Southall, Brandon L.; Claridge, Diane E.; Durban, John W.; Clark, Christopher W.; D'Amico, Angela; DiMarzio, Nancy; Jarvis, Susan; McCarthy, Elena; Morrissey, Ronald; Ward, Jessica; Boyd, Ian L.

    2011-01-01

    Beaked whales have mass stranded during some naval sonar exercises, but the cause is unknown. They are difficult to sight but can reliably be detected by listening for echolocation clicks produced during deep foraging dives. Listening for these clicks, we documented Blainville's beaked whales, Mesoplodon densirostris, in a naval underwater range where sonars are in regular use near Andros Island, Bahamas. An array of bottom-mounted hydrophones can detect beaked whales when they click anywhere within the range. We used two complementary methods to investigate behavioral responses of beaked whales to sonar: an opportunistic approach that monitored whale responses to multi-day naval exercises involving tactical mid-frequency sonars, and an experimental approach using playbacks of simulated sonar and control sounds to whales tagged with a device that records sound, movement, and orientation. Here we show that in both exposure conditions beaked whales stopped echolocating during deep foraging dives and moved away. During actual sonar exercises, beaked whales were primarily detected near the periphery of the range, on average 16 km away from the sonar transmissions. Once the exercise stopped, beaked whales gradually filled in the center of the range over 2–3 days. A satellite tagged whale moved outside the range during an exercise, returning over 2–3 days post-exercise. The experimental approach used tags to measure acoustic exposure and behavioral reactions of beaked whales to one controlled exposure each of simulated military sonar, killer whale calls, and band-limited noise. The beaked whales reacted to these three sound playbacks at sound pressure levels below 142 dB re 1 µPa by stopping echolocation followed by unusually long and slow ascents from their foraging dives. The combined results indicate similar disruption of foraging behavior and avoidance by beaked whales in the two different contexts, at exposures well below those used by regulators to define

  17. Passive Acoustic Monitoring of the Environmental Impact of Oil Exploration on Marine Mammals in the Gulf of Mexico.

    PubMed

    Sidorovskaia, Natalia A; Ackleh, Azmy S; Tiemann, Christopher O; Ma, Baoling; Ioup, Juliette W; Ioup, George E

    2016-01-01

    The Gulf of Mexico is a region densely populated by marine mammals that must adapt to living in a highly active industrial environment. This paper presents a new approach to quantifying the anthropogenic impact on the marine mammal population. The results for sperm and beaked whales of a case study of regional population dynamics trends after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, derived from passive acoustic-monitoring data gathered before and after the spill in the vicinity of the accident, are presented. PMID:26611062

  18. Extreme diving of beaked whales.

    PubMed

    Tyack, Peter L; Johnson, Mark; Soto, Natacha Aguilar; Sturlese, Albert; Madsen, Peter T

    2006-11-01

    Sound-and-orientation recording tags (DTAGs) were used to study 10 beaked whales of two poorly known species, Ziphius cavirostris (Zc) and Mesoplodon densirostris (Md). Acoustic behaviour in the deep foraging dives performed by both species (Zc: 28 dives by seven individuals; Md: 16 dives by three individuals) shows that they hunt by echolocation in deep water between 222 and 1885 m, attempting to capture about 30 prey/dive. This food source is so deep that the average foraging dives were deeper (Zc: 1070 m; Md: 835 m) and longer (Zc: 58 min; Md: 47 min) than reported for any other air-breathing species. A series of shallower dives, containing no indications of foraging, followed most deep foraging dives. The average interval between deep foraging dives was 63 min for Zc and 92 min for Md. This long an interval may be required for beaked whales to recover from an oxygen debt accrued in the deep foraging dives, which last about twice the estimated aerobic dive limit. Recent reports of gas emboli in beaked whales stranded during naval sonar exercises have led to the hypothesis that their deep-diving may make them especially vulnerable to decompression. Using current models of breath-hold diving, we infer that their natural diving behaviour is inconsistent with known problems of acute nitrogen supersaturation and embolism. If the assumptions of these models are correct for beaked whales, then possible decompression problems are more likely to result from an abnormal behavioural response to sonar.

  19. Acoustics

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Goodman, Jerry R.; Grosveld, Ferdinand

    2007-01-01

    The acoustics environment in space operations is important to maintain at manageable levels so that the crewperson can remain safe, functional, effective, and reasonably comfortable. High acoustic levels can produce temporary or permanent hearing loss, or cause other physiological symptoms such as auditory pain, headaches, discomfort, strain in the vocal cords, or fatigue. Noise is defined as undesirable sound. Excessive noise may result in psychological effects such as irritability, inability to concentrate, decrease in productivity, annoyance, errors in judgment, and distraction. A noisy environment can also result in the inability to sleep, or sleep well. Elevated noise levels can affect the ability to communicate, understand what is being said, hear what is going on in the environment, degrade crew performance and operations, and create habitability concerns. Superfluous noise emissions can also create the inability to hear alarms or other important auditory cues such as an equipment malfunctioning. Recent space flight experience, evaluations of the requirements in crew habitable areas, and lessons learned (Goodman 2003; Allen and Goodman 2003; Pilkinton 2003; Grosveld et al. 2003) show the importance of maintaining an acceptable acoustics environment. This is best accomplished by having a high-quality set of limits/requirements early in the program, the "designing in" of acoustics in the development of hardware and systems, and by monitoring, testing and verifying the levels to ensure that they are acceptable.

  20. A large-aperture low-cost hydrophone array for tracking whales from small boats.

    PubMed

    Miller, B; Dawson, S

    2009-11-01

    A passive sonar array designed for tracking diving sperm whales in three dimensions from a single small vessel is presented, and the advantages and limitations of operating this array from a 6 m boat are described. The system consists of four free floating buoys, each with a hydrophone, built-in recorder, and global positioning system receiver (GPS), and one vertical stereo hydrophone array deployed from the boat. Array recordings are post-processed onshore to obtain diving profiles of vocalizing sperm whales. Recordings are synchronized using a GPS timing pulse recorded onto each track. Sensitivity analysis based on hyperbolic localization methods is used to obtain probability distributions for the whale's three-dimensional location for vocalizations received by at least four hydrophones. These localizations are compared to those obtained via isodiachronic sequential bound estimation. Results from deployment of the system around a sperm whale in the Kaikoura Canyon in New Zealand are shown.

  1. Whale Identification

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1991-01-01

    R:BASE for DOS, a computer program developed under NASA contract, has been adapted by the National Marine Mammal Laboratory and the College of the Atlantic to provide and advanced computerized photo matching technique for identification of humpback whales. The program compares photos with stored digitized descriptions, enabling researchers to track and determine distribution and migration patterns. R:BASE is a spinoff of RIM (Relational Information Manager), which was used to store data for analyzing heat shielding tiles on the Space Shuttle Orbiter. It is now the world's second largest selling line of microcomputer database management software.

  2. Using accelerometers to determine the calling behavior of tagged baleen whales.

    PubMed

    Goldbogen, J A; Stimpert, A K; DeRuiter, S L; Calambokidis, J; Friedlaender, A S; Schorr, G S; Moretti, D J; Tyack, P L; Southall, B L

    2014-07-15

    Low-frequency acoustic signals generated by baleen whales can propagate over vast distances, making the assignment of calls to specific individuals problematic. Here, we report the novel use of acoustic recording tags equipped with high-resolution accelerometers to detect vibrations from the surface of two tagged fin whales that directly match the timing of recorded acoustic signals. A tag deployed on a buoy in the vicinity of calling fin whales and a recording from a tag that had just fallen off a whale were able to detect calls acoustically but did not record corresponding accelerometer signals that were measured on calling individuals. Across the hundreds of calls measured on two tagged fin whales, the accelerometer response was generally anisotropic across all three axes, appeared to depend on tag placement and increased with the level of received sound. These data demonstrate that high-sample rate accelerometry can provide important insights into the acoustic behavior of baleen whales that communicate at low frequencies. This method helps identify vocalizing whales, which in turn enables the quantification of call rates, a fundamental component of models used to estimate baleen whale abundance and distribution from passive acoustic monitoring.

  3. Using accelerometers to determine the calling behavior of tagged baleen whales.

    PubMed

    Goldbogen, J A; Stimpert, A K; DeRuiter, S L; Calambokidis, J; Friedlaender, A S; Schorr, G S; Moretti, D J; Tyack, P L; Southall, B L

    2014-07-15

    Low-frequency acoustic signals generated by baleen whales can propagate over vast distances, making the assignment of calls to specific individuals problematic. Here, we report the novel use of acoustic recording tags equipped with high-resolution accelerometers to detect vibrations from the surface of two tagged fin whales that directly match the timing of recorded acoustic signals. A tag deployed on a buoy in the vicinity of calling fin whales and a recording from a tag that had just fallen off a whale were able to detect calls acoustically but did not record corresponding accelerometer signals that were measured on calling individuals. Across the hundreds of calls measured on two tagged fin whales, the accelerometer response was generally anisotropic across all three axes, appeared to depend on tag placement and increased with the level of received sound. These data demonstrate that high-sample rate accelerometry can provide important insights into the acoustic behavior of baleen whales that communicate at low frequencies. This method helps identify vocalizing whales, which in turn enables the quantification of call rates, a fundamental component of models used to estimate baleen whale abundance and distribution from passive acoustic monitoring. PMID:24803468

  4. Blue whales respond to anthropogenic noise.

    PubMed

    Melcón, Mariana L; Cummins, Amanda J; Kerosky, Sara M; Roche, Lauren K; Wiggins, Sean M; Hildebrand, John A

    2012-01-01

    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. PMID:22393434

  5. Blue whales respond to anthropogenic noise.

    PubMed

    Melcón, Mariana L; Cummins, Amanda J; Kerosky, Sara M; Roche, Lauren K; Wiggins, Sean M; Hildebrand, John A

    2012-01-01

    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.

  6. Seasonality of blue and fin whale calls and the influence of sea ice in the Western Antarctic Peninsula

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Širović, Ana; Hildebrand, John A.; Wiggins, Sean M.; McDonald, Mark A.; Moore, Sue E.; Thiele, Deborah

    2004-08-01

    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.

  7. Individual right whales call louder in increased environmental noise.

    PubMed

    Parks, Susan E; Johnson, Mark; Nowacek, Douglas; Tyack, Peter L

    2011-02-23

    The ability to modify vocalizations to compensate for environmental noise is critical for successful communication in a dynamic acoustic environment. Many marine species rely on sound for vital life functions including communication, navigation and feeding. The impacts of significant increases in ocean noise levels from human activities are a current area of concern for the conservation of marine mammals. Here, we document changes in calling behaviour by individual endangered North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis) in increased background noise. Right whales, like several bird and primate species, respond to periods of increased noise by increasing the amplitude of their calls. This behaviour may help maintain the communication range with conspecifics during periods of increased noise. These call modifications have implications for conservation efforts for right whales, affecting both the way whales use sound to communicate and our ability to detect them with passive acoustic monitoring systems.

  8. Whale Teaching Unit.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Peninsula Humane Society, San Mateo, CA.

    Materials in this teaching unit are designed to foster an interest in whale preservation among intermediate grade and junior high school students. Several readings provide background information on various types of whales and the economic value of whales. Student activities include a true and false game, a crossword, and a mobile. A resource list…

  9. Pathology: whales, sonar and decompression sickness.

    PubMed

    Piantadosi, Claude A; Thalmann, Edward D

    2004-04-15

    We do not yet know why whales occasionally strand after sonar has been deployed nearby, but such information is important for both naval undersea activities and the protection of marine mammals. Jepson et al. suggest that a peculiar gas-forming disease afflicting some stranded cetaceans could be a type of decompression sickness (DCS) resulting from exposure to mid-range sonar. However, neither decompression theory nor observation support the existence of a naturally occurring DCS in whales that is characterized by encapsulated, gas-filled cavities in the liver. Although gas-bubble formation may be aggravated by acoustic energy, more rigorous investigation is needed before sonar can be firmly linked to bubble formation in whales.

  10. Whales and Whaling--An Interdisciplinary Course.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kelly, Richard D.

    1978-01-01

    Outlines the content of this interdisciplinary course and includes a list of the texts being used. Parts one and two are concerned with the biology of the whale and other marine mammals, while part three covers the whaling industry and related topics. (MA)

  11. Evidence that ship noise increases stress in right whales

    PubMed Central

    Rolland, Rosalind M.; Parks, Susan E.; Hunt, Kathleen E.; Castellote, Manuel; Corkeron, Peter J.; Nowacek, Douglas P.; Wasser, Samuel K.; Kraus, Scott D.

    2012-01-01

    Baleen whales (Mysticeti) communicate using low-frequency acoustic signals. These long-wavelength sounds can be detected over hundreds of kilometres, potentially allowing contact over large distances. Low-frequency noise from large ships (20–200 Hz) overlaps acoustic signals used by baleen whales, and increased levels of underwater noise have been documented in areas with high shipping traffic. Reported responses of whales to increased noise include: habitat displacement, behavioural changes and alterations in the intensity, frequency and intervals of calls. However, it has been unclear whether exposure to noise results in physiological responses that may lead to significant consequences for individuals or populations. Here, we show that reduced ship traffic in the Bay of Fundy, Canada, following the events of 11 September 2001, resulted in a 6 dB decrease in underwater noise with a significant reduction below 150 Hz. This noise reduction was associated with decreased baseline levels of stress-related faecal hormone metabolites (glucocorticoids) in North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis). This is the first evidence that exposure to low-frequency ship noise may be associated with chronic stress in whales, and has implications for all baleen whales in heavy ship traffic areas, and for recovery of this endangered right whale population. PMID:22319129

  12. Minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) respond to navy training.

    PubMed

    Martin, Stephen W; Martin, Cameron R; Matsuyama, Brian M; Henderson, E Elizabeth

    2015-05-01

    Minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) were acoustically detected and localized via their boing calls using 766 h of recorded data from 24 hydrophones at the U.S. Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility located off Kauai, Hawaii. Data were collected before, during, and after naval undersea warfare training events, which occurred in February over three consecutive years (2011-2013). Data collection in the during periods were further categorized as phase A and phase B with the latter being the only period with naval surface ship activities (e.g., frigate and destroyer maneuvers including the use of mid-frequency active sonar). Minimum minke whale densities were estimated for all data periods based upon the numbers of whales acoustically localized within the 3780 km(2) study area. The 2011 minimum densities in the study area were: 3.64 whales [confidence interval (CI) 3.31-4.01] before the training activity, 2.81 whales (CI 2.31-3.42) for phase A, 0.69 whales (CI 0.27-1.8) for phase B and 4.44 whales (CI 4.04-4.88) after. The minimum densities for the phase B periods were highly statistically significantly lower (p < 0.001) from all other periods within each year, suggesting a clear response to the phase B training. The phase A period results were mixed when compared to other non-training periods.

  13. Evidence that ship noise increases stress in right whales.

    PubMed

    Rolland, Rosalind M; Parks, Susan E; Hunt, Kathleen E; Castellote, Manuel; Corkeron, Peter J; Nowacek, Douglas P; Wasser, Samuel K; Kraus, Scott D

    2012-06-22

    Baleen whales (Mysticeti) communicate using low-frequency acoustic signals. These long-wavelength sounds can be detected over hundreds of kilometres, potentially allowing contact over large distances. Low-frequency noise from large ships (20-200 Hz) overlaps acoustic signals used by baleen whales, and increased levels of underwater noise have been documented in areas with high shipping traffic. Reported responses of whales to increased noise include: habitat displacement, behavioural changes and alterations in the intensity, frequency and intervals of calls. However, it has been unclear whether exposure to noise results in physiological responses that may lead to significant consequences for individuals or populations. Here, we show that reduced ship traffic in the Bay of Fundy, Canada, following the events of 11 September 2001, resulted in a 6 dB decrease in underwater noise with a significant reduction below 150 Hz. This noise reduction was associated with decreased baseline levels of stress-related faecal hormone metabolites (glucocorticoids) in North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis). This is the first evidence that exposure to low-frequency ship noise may be associated with chronic stress in whales, and has implications for all baleen whales in heavy ship traffic areas, and for recovery of this endangered right whale population.

  14. Belukha whale (delphinapterus leucas) responses to industrial noise in Nushagak Bay, Alaska: 1983

    SciTech Connect

    Stewart, B.S.; Awbrey, F.T.; Evans, W.E.

    1983-01-01

    Between 15 June and 14 July 1983 the authors conducted playback experiments with belukha whales in the Snake River, Alaska, using sounds recorded near an operating oil-drilling rig. The objectives of these experiments were to quantify behavioral responses of belukha whales to oil drilling noise in an area where foreign acoustic stimuli were absent, and to test the hypothesis that beluhka whales would not approach a source of loud sound.

  15. WhaleNet/environet

    SciTech Connect

    Williamson, J.M.

    1994-12-31

    WhaleNet has established a network where students, educators, and scientists can interact and share data for use in interdisciplinary curricular and student research activities in classrooms around the world by utilizing telecommunication. This program enables students to participate in marine/whale research programs in real-time with WhaleNet data and supplementary curriculum materials regardless of their geographic location. Systems have been established with research organizations and whale watch companies whereby research data is posted by scientists and students participating in whale watches on the WhaleNet bulletin board and shared with participating classrooms. WhaleNet presently has contacts with classrooms across the nation, and with research groups, whale watch organizations, science museums, and universities from Alaska to North Carolina, Hawaii to Maine, and Belize to Norway. WhaleNet has plans to make existing whale and fisheries research databases available for classroom use and to have research data from satellite tagging programs on various species of whales available for classroom access in real-time.

  16. cDNA-derived amino acid sequences of myoglobins from nine species of whales and dolphins.

    PubMed

    Iwanami, Kentaro; Mita, Hajime; Yamamoto, Yasuhiko; Fujise, Yoshihiro; Yamada, Tadasu; Suzuki, Tomohiko

    2006-10-01

    We determined the myoglobin (Mb) cDNA sequences of nine cetaceans, of which six are the first reports of Mb sequences: sei whale (Balaenoptera borealis), Bryde's whale (Balaenoptera edeni), pygmy sperm whale (Kogia breviceps), Stejneger's beaked whale (Mesoplodon stejnegeri), Longman's beaked whale (Indopacetus pacificus), and melon-headed whale (Peponocephala electra), and three confirm the previously determined chemical amino acid sequences: sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus), common minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) and pantropical spotted dolphin (Stenella attenuata). We found two types of Mb in the skeletal muscle of pantropical spotted dolphin: Mb I with the same amino acid sequence as that deposited in the protein database, and Mb II, which differs at two amino acid residues compared with Mb I. Using an alignment of the amino acid or cDNA sequences of cetacean Mb, we constructed a phylogenetic tree by the NJ method. Clustering of cetacean Mb amino acid and cDNA sequences essentially follows the classical taxonomy of cetaceans, suggesting that Mb sequence data is valid for classification of cetaceans at least to the family level. PMID:16962803

  17. Whales and waves: Humpback whale foraging response and the shoaling of internal waves at Stellwagen Bank

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pineda, Jesús; Starczak, Victoria; Silva, José C. B.; Helfrich, Karl; Thompson, Michael; Wiley, David

    2015-04-01

    We tested the hypothesis that humpback whales aggregate at the southern flank of Stellwagen Bank (SB) in response to internal waves (IWs) generated semidiurnally at Race Point (RP) channel because of the presence of their preferred prey, planktivorous fish, which in turn respond to zooplankton concentrated by the predictable IWs. Analysis of synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images indicates that RP IWs approach the southern flank of SB frequently (˜62% of the images). Published reports of whale sighting data and archived SAR images point to a coarse spatial coincidence between whales and Race Point IWs at SB's southern flank. The responses of whales to IWs were evaluated via sightings and behavior of humpback whales, and IWs were observed in situ by acoustic backscatter and temperature measurements. Modeling of IWs complemented the observations, and results indicate a change of ˜0.4 m/s in current velocity, and ˜1.5 Pa in dynamic pressure near the bottom, which may be sufficient for bottom fish to detect the IWs. However, fish were rare in our acoustic observations, and fish response to the IWs could not be evaluated. RP IWs do not represent the leading edge of the internal tide, and they may have less mass-transport potential than typical coastal IWs. There was large interannual variability in whale sightings at SB's southern flank, with decreases in both numbers of sightings and proportion of sightings where feeding was observed from 2008 to 2013. Coincidence of whales and IWs was inconsistent, and results do not support the hypothesis.

  18. Automated detection of Antarctic blue whale calls.

    PubMed

    Socheleau, Francois-Xavier; Leroy, Emmanuelle; Pecci, Andres Carvallo; Samaran, Flore; Bonnel, Julien; Royer, Jean-Yves

    2015-11-01

    This paper addresses the problem of automated detection of Z-calls emitted by Antarctic blue whales (B. m. intermedia). The proposed solution is based on a subspace detector of sigmoidal-frequency signals with unknown time-varying amplitude. This detection strategy takes into account frequency variations of blue whale calls as well as the presence of other transient sounds that can interfere with Z-calls (such as airguns or other whale calls). The proposed method has been tested on more than 105 h of acoustic data containing about 2200 Z-calls (as found by an experienced human operator). This method is shown to have a correct-detection rate of up to more than 15% better than the extensible bioacoustic tool package, a spectrogram-based correlation detector commonly used to study blue whales. Because the proposed method relies on subspace detection, it does not suffer from some drawbacks of correlation-based detectors. In particular, it does not require the choice of an a priori fixed and subjective template. The analytic expression of the detection performance is also derived, which provides crucial information for higher level analyses such as animal density estimation from acoustic data. Finally, the detection threshold automatically adapts to the soundscape in order not to violate a user-specified false alarm rate. PMID:26627784

  19. Automated detection of Antarctic blue whale calls.

    PubMed

    Socheleau, Francois-Xavier; Leroy, Emmanuelle; Pecci, Andres Carvallo; Samaran, Flore; Bonnel, Julien; Royer, Jean-Yves

    2015-11-01

    This paper addresses the problem of automated detection of Z-calls emitted by Antarctic blue whales (B. m. intermedia). The proposed solution is based on a subspace detector of sigmoidal-frequency signals with unknown time-varying amplitude. This detection strategy takes into account frequency variations of blue whale calls as well as the presence of other transient sounds that can interfere with Z-calls (such as airguns or other whale calls). The proposed method has been tested on more than 105 h of acoustic data containing about 2200 Z-calls (as found by an experienced human operator). This method is shown to have a correct-detection rate of up to more than 15% better than the extensible bioacoustic tool package, a spectrogram-based correlation detector commonly used to study blue whales. Because the proposed method relies on subspace detection, it does not suffer from some drawbacks of correlation-based detectors. In particular, it does not require the choice of an a priori fixed and subjective template. The analytic expression of the detection performance is also derived, which provides crucial information for higher level analyses such as animal density estimation from acoustic data. Finally, the detection threshold automatically adapts to the soundscape in order not to violate a user-specified false alarm rate.

  20. Morphological and molecular observations on the status of Crassicauda magna, a parasite of the subcutaneous tissues of the pygmy sperm whale, with a re-evaluation of the systematic relationships of the genus Crassicauda.

    PubMed

    Jabbar, Abdul; Beveridge, Ian; Bryant, Malcolm S

    2015-03-01

    Members of the genus Crassicauda (Nematoda: Spirurida) are parasites of the body tissues of whales and dolphins. Owing to the large size of worms and difficulties in the recovery of entire nematodes from the tissues of hosts, limited information is available on morphological descriptions of both male and female worms. Furthermore, there are currently no available sequence data for this genus to assist with such identifications. This paper describes for the first time features of the anterior extremity and the male tail of Crassicauda magna, suggesting that Crassicauda duguyi may be a synonym of this species. In addition, molecular data are presented for the genus for the first time suggesting that the genus belongs within the superfamily Acuarioidea rather than within the Habronematoidea, in which it is currently placed.

  1. Morphological and molecular observations on the status of Crassicauda magna, a parasite of the subcutaneous tissues of the pygmy sperm whale, with a re-evaluation of the systematic relationships of the genus Crassicauda.

    PubMed

    Jabbar, Abdul; Beveridge, Ian; Bryant, Malcolm S

    2015-03-01

    Members of the genus Crassicauda (Nematoda: Spirurida) are parasites of the body tissues of whales and dolphins. Owing to the large size of worms and difficulties in the recovery of entire nematodes from the tissues of hosts, limited information is available on morphological descriptions of both male and female worms. Furthermore, there are currently no available sequence data for this genus to assist with such identifications. This paper describes for the first time features of the anterior extremity and the male tail of Crassicauda magna, suggesting that Crassicauda duguyi may be a synonym of this species. In addition, molecular data are presented for the genus for the first time suggesting that the genus belongs within the superfamily Acuarioidea rather than within the Habronematoidea, in which it is currently placed. PMID:25482860

  2. Identifying the "demon whale-biter": Patterns of scarring on large whales attributed to a cookie-cutter shark Isistius sp.

    PubMed

    Best, Peter B; Photopoulou, Theoni

    2016-01-01

    The presence of crater-like wounds on cetaceans and other large marine vertebrates and invertebrates has been attributed to various organisms. We review the evidence for the identity of the biting agent responsible for crater wounds on large whales, using data collected from sei (Balaenoptera borealis), fin (B. physalus), inshore and offshore Bryde's (B. brydeii sp) and sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) examined at the Donkergat whaling station, Saldanha Bay, South Africa between March and October 1963. We then analyse the intensity and trends in its predation on large whales. Despite the scarcity of local records, we conclude that a cookie-cutter shark Isistius sp is the most likely candidate. We make inferences about the trends in (1) total counts of unhealed bitemarks, and (2) the proportion of unhealed bitemarks that were recent. We use day of the year; reproductive class, social grouping or sex; depth interval and body length as candidate covariates. The models with highest support for total counts of unhealed bitemarks involve the day of the year in all species. Depth was an important predictor in all species except offshore Bryde's whales. Models for the proportion of recent bites were only informative for sei and fin whales. We conclude that temporal scarring patterns support what is currently hypothesized about the distribution and movements of these whale species, given that Isistius does not occur in the Antarctic and has an oceanic habitat. The incidence of fresh bites confirms the presence of Isistius in the region. The lower numbers of unhealed bites on medium-sized sperm whales suggests that this group spends more time outside the area in which bites are incurred, providing a clue to one of the biggest gaps in our understanding of the movements of mature and maturing sperm males. PMID:27055057

  3. Identifying the "demon whale-biter": Patterns of scarring on large whales attributed to a cookie-cutter shark Isistius sp.

    PubMed

    Best, Peter B; Photopoulou, Theoni

    2016-01-01

    The presence of crater-like wounds on cetaceans and other large marine vertebrates and invertebrates has been attributed to various organisms. We review the evidence for the identity of the biting agent responsible for crater wounds on large whales, using data collected from sei (Balaenoptera borealis), fin (B. physalus), inshore and offshore Bryde's (B. brydeii sp) and sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) examined at the Donkergat whaling station, Saldanha Bay, South Africa between March and October 1963. We then analyse the intensity and trends in its predation on large whales. Despite the scarcity of local records, we conclude that a cookie-cutter shark Isistius sp is the most likely candidate. We make inferences about the trends in (1) total counts of unhealed bitemarks, and (2) the proportion of unhealed bitemarks that were recent. We use day of the year; reproductive class, social grouping or sex; depth interval and body length as candidate covariates. The models with highest support for total counts of unhealed bitemarks involve the day of the year in all species. Depth was an important predictor in all species except offshore Bryde's whales. Models for the proportion of recent bites were only informative for sei and fin whales. We conclude that temporal scarring patterns support what is currently hypothesized about the distribution and movements of these whale species, given that Isistius does not occur in the Antarctic and has an oceanic habitat. The incidence of fresh bites confirms the presence of Isistius in the region. The lower numbers of unhealed bites on medium-sized sperm whales suggests that this group spends more time outside the area in which bites are incurred, providing a clue to one of the biggest gaps in our understanding of the movements of mature and maturing sperm males.

  4. Identifying the “demon whale-biter”: Patterns of scarring on large whales attributed to a cookie-cutter shark Isistius sp

    PubMed Central

    Photopoulou, Theoni

    2016-01-01

    The presence of crater-like wounds on cetaceans and other large marine vertebrates and invertebrates has been attributed to various organisms. We review the evidence for the identity of the biting agent responsible for crater wounds on large whales, using data collected from sei (Balaenoptera borealis), fin (B. physalus), inshore and offshore Bryde’s (B. brydeii sp) and sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) examined at the Donkergat whaling station, Saldanha Bay, South Africa between March and October 1963. We then analyse the intensity and trends in its predation on large whales. Despite the scarcity of local records, we conclude that a cookie-cutter shark Isistius sp is the most likely candidate. We make inferences about the trends in (1) total counts of unhealed bitemarks, and (2) the proportion of unhealed bitemarks that were recent. We use day of the year; reproductive class, social grouping or sex; depth interval and body length as candidate covariates. The models with highest support for total counts of unhealed bitemarks involve the day of the year in all species. Depth was an important predictor in all species except offshore Bryde’s whales. Models for the proportion of recent bites were only informative for sei and fin whales. We conclude that temporal scarring patterns support what is currently hypothesized about the distribution and movements of these whale species, given that Isistius does not occur in the Antarctic and has an oceanic habitat. The incidence of fresh bites confirms the presence of Isistius in the region. The lower numbers of unhealed bites on medium-sized sperm whales suggests that this group spends more time outside the area in which bites are incurred, providing a clue to one of the biggest gaps in our understanding of the movements of mature and maturing sperm males. PMID:27055057

  5. Calling behavior of blue and fin whales off California

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Oleson, Erin Marie

    Passive acoustic monitoring is an effective means for evaluating cetacean presence in remote regions and over long time periods, and may become an important component of cetacean abundance surveys. To use passive acoustic recordings for abundance estimation, an understanding of the behavioral ecology of cetacean calling is crucial. In this dissertation, I develop a better understanding of how blue (Balaenoptera musculus) and fin (B. physalus ) whales use sound with the goal of evaluating passive acoustic techniques for studying their populations. Both blue and fin whales produce several different call types, though the behavioral and environmental context of these calls have not been widely investigated. To better understand how calling is used by these whales off California I have employed both new technologies and traditional techniques, including acoustic recording tags, continuous long-term autonomous acoustic recordings, and simultaneous shipboard acoustic and visual surveys. The outcome of these investigations has led to several conclusions. The production of blue whale calls varies with sex, behavior, season, location, and time of day. Each blue whale call type has a distinct behavioral context, including a male-only bias in the production of song, a call type thought to function in reproduction, and the production of some calls by both sexes. Long-term acoustic records, when interpreted using all call types, provide a more accurate measure of the local seasonal presence of whales, and how they use the region annually, seasonally and daily. The relative occurrence of different call types may indicate prime foraging habitat and the presence of different segments of the population. The proportion of animals heard calling changes seasonally and geographically relative to the number seen, indicating the calibration of acoustic and visual surveys is complex and requires further study on the motivations behind call production and the behavior of calling whales

  6. 78 FR 13028 - Whaling Provisions; Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling Quotas

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2013-02-26

    ... National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XC460 Whaling Provisions; Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling Quotas AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric... the public of the aboriginal subsistence whaling quota for bowhead whales that it has assigned to...

  7. 76 FR 16388 - Whaling Provisions; Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling Quotas

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2011-03-23

    ... National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XA309 Whaling Provisions; Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling Quotas AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric... notification of the aboriginal subsistence whaling quota for bowhead whales that it has assigned to the...

  8. 75 FR 10223 - Whaling Provisions; Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling Quotas

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2010-03-05

    ... National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XN25 Whaling Provisions; Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling Quotas AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric... notification of the aboriginal subsistence whaling quota for bowhead whales that it has assigned to the...

  9. 77 FR 21540 - Whaling Provisions; Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling Quotas

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2012-04-10

    ... National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648-XA967 Whaling Provisions; Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling Quotas AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric... the public of the aboriginal subsistence whaling quota for bowhead whales that it has assigned to...

  10. Evidence for ship noise impacts on humpback whale foraging behaviour.

    PubMed

    Blair, Hannah B; Merchant, Nathan D; Friedlaender, Ari S; Wiley, David N; Parks, Susan E

    2016-08-01

    Noise from shipping activity in North Atlantic coastal waters has been steadily increasing and is an area of growing conservation concern, as it has the potential to disrupt the behaviour of marine organisms. This study examines the impacts of ship noise on bottom foraging humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in the western North Atlantic. Data were collected from 10 foraging whales using non-invasive archival tags that simultaneously recorded underwater movements and the acoustic environment at the whale. Using mixed models, we assess the effects of ship noise on seven parameters of their feeding behaviours. Independent variables included the presence or absence of ship noise and the received level of ship noise at the whale. We found significant effects on foraging, including slower descent rates and fewer side-roll feeding events per dive with increasing ship noise. During 5 of 18 ship passages, dives without side-rolls were observed. These findings indicate that humpback whales on Stellwagen Bank, an area with chronically elevated levels of shipping traffic, significantly change foraging activity when exposed to high levels of ship noise. This measureable reduction in within-dive foraging effort of individual whales could potentially lead to population-level impacts of shipping noise on baleen whale foraging success.

  11. Evidence for ship noise impacts on humpback whale foraging behaviour.

    PubMed

    Blair, Hannah B; Merchant, Nathan D; Friedlaender, Ari S; Wiley, David N; Parks, Susan E

    2016-08-01

    Noise from shipping activity in North Atlantic coastal waters has been steadily increasing and is an area of growing conservation concern, as it has the potential to disrupt the behaviour of marine organisms. This study examines the impacts of ship noise on bottom foraging humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in the western North Atlantic. Data were collected from 10 foraging whales using non-invasive archival tags that simultaneously recorded underwater movements and the acoustic environment at the whale. Using mixed models, we assess the effects of ship noise on seven parameters of their feeding behaviours. Independent variables included the presence or absence of ship noise and the received level of ship noise at the whale. We found significant effects on foraging, including slower descent rates and fewer side-roll feeding events per dive with increasing ship noise. During 5 of 18 ship passages, dives without side-rolls were observed. These findings indicate that humpback whales on Stellwagen Bank, an area with chronically elevated levels of shipping traffic, significantly change foraging activity when exposed to high levels of ship noise. This measureable reduction in within-dive foraging effort of individual whales could potentially lead to population-level impacts of shipping noise on baleen whale foraging success. PMID:27512131

  12. The role of infrasounds in maintaining whale herds

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Payne, Roger S.

    2001-05-01

    For whales and dolphins a basic social unit is the herd. In several species, herds have been observed to maintain the same speed, direction, and membership overnight, and while swimming in waters of near-zero visibility-evidence that individuals can stay together using nonvisual cues. The most likely such cue is sound. If whale herds are held together with sound, yet we define herds as groups of whales seen moving together, then we are using visual criteria to judge what is an acoustic phenomenon, and our conclusions about a most basic unit of cetacean social structure, the herd, are at least incomplete, and, quite possibly, worthless. By calling herds, heards, we remind ourselves that sound controls herd size. We then consider that some whale infrasound can propagate across deep water at useful intensities (even in today's ship-noise-polluted ocean) for thousands of kilometers. The distance to which blue and fin whale sounds propagate before falling below background noise is given, and the possible advantages these whales obtain from such sounds is explored. The conclusion is that by sharing information on food finds infrasonically, fin and blue whales may have developed a way to divide up the food resources of an entire ocean.

  13. Time synchronization and geoacoustic inversion using baleen whale sounds

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thode, Aaron; Gerstoft, Peter; Stokes, Dale; Noad, Mike; Burgess, William; Cato, Doug

    2005-09-01

    In 1996 matched-field processing (MFP) and geoacoustic inversion methods were used to invert for range, depth, and source levels of blue whale vocalizations. [A. M. Thode, G. L. D'Spain, and W. A. Kuperman, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 107, 1286-1300 (2000)]. Humpback whales also produce broadband sequences of sounds that contain significant energy between 50 Hz to over 1 kHz. In Oct. 2003 and 2004 samples of humpback whale song were collected on vertical and titled arrays in 24-m-deep water in conjunction with the Humpback Acoustic Research Collaboration (HARC). The arrays consisted of autonomous recorders attached to a rope, and were time synchronized by extending standard geoacoustic inversion methods to invert for clock offset as well as whale location. The diffuse ambient noise background field was then used to correct for subsequent clock drift. Independent measurements of the local bathymetry and transmission loss were also obtained in the area. Preliminary results are presented for geoacoustic inversions of the ocean floor composition and humpback whale locations and source levels. [Work supported by ONR Ocean Acoustic Entry Level Faculty Award and Marine Mammals Program.

  14. Detection of dilute sperm samples using photoacoustic flowmetry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Viator, J. A.; Sutovsky, P.; Weight, R. M.

    2008-02-01

    Detection of sperm cells in dilute samples may have application in forensic testing and diagnosis of male reproductive health. Due to the optically dense subcellular structures in sperm cells, irradiation by nanosecond laser pulses induces a photoacoustic response detectable using a custom flow cytometer. We determined the detection threshold of bull sperm using various concentrations, from 200 to 1,000,000 sperm cells per milliliter. Using a tunable laser system set to 450nm with a 5 ns pulse duration and 11-12 mJ/pulse, we obtained a detection threshold of 3 sperm cells. The flow rate was 4 ml/minute through the flow chamber. The acoustic sensor was a 100 μm PVDF film attached to the glass flow chamber. The acoustic signal was preamplified and sent to an oscilloscope. The threshold signal indicated a signal to noise ratio of approximately 6 to 1. Improved system design may decrease the threshold to single sperm cells.

  15. North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis) ignore ships but respond to alerting stimuli.

    PubMed Central

    Nowacek, Douglas P.; Johnson, Mark P.; Tyack, Peter L.

    2004-01-01

    North Atlantic right whales were extensively hunted during the whaling era and have not recovered. One of the primary factors inhibiting their recovery is anthropogenic mortality caused by ship strikes. To assess risk factors involved in ship strikes, we used a multi-sensor acoustic recording tag to measure the responses of whales to passing ships and experimentally tested their responses to controlled sound exposures, which included recordings of ship noise, the social sounds of conspecifics and a signal designed to alert the whales. The whales reacted strongly to the alert signal, they reacted mildly to the social sounds of conspecifics, but they showed no such responses to the sounds of approaching vessels as well as actual vessels. Whales responded to the alert by swimming strongly to the surface, a response likely to increase rather than decrease the risk of collision. PMID:15058431

  16. North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis) ignore ships but respond to alerting stimuli.

    PubMed

    Nowacek, Douglas P; Johnson, Mark P; Tyack, Peter L

    2004-02-01

    North Atlantic right whales were extensively hunted during the whaling era and have not recovered. One of the primary factors inhibiting their recovery is anthropogenic mortality caused by ship strikes. To assess risk factors involved in ship strikes, we used a multi-sensor acoustic recording tag to measure the responses of whales to passing ships and experimentally tested their responses to controlled sound exposures, which included recordings of ship noise, the social sounds of conspecifics and a signal designed to alert the whales. The whales reacted strongly to the alert signal, they reacted mildly to the social sounds of conspecifics, but they showed no such responses to the sounds of approaching vessels as well as actual vessels. Whales responded to the alert by swimming strongly to the surface, a response likely to increase rather than decrease the risk of collision.

  17. Frequent Loss and Alteration of the MOXD2 Gene in Catarrhines and Whales: A Possible Connection with the Evolution of Olfaction

    PubMed Central

    Kim, Dong Seon; Wang, Yao; Oh, Hye Ji; Lee, Kangseok; Hahn, Yoonsoo

    2014-01-01

    The MOXD2 gene encodes a membrane-bound monooxygenase similar to dopamine-β-hydroxylase, and has been proposed to be associated with olfaction. In this study, we analyzed MOXD2 genes from 64 mammalian species, and identified loss-of-function mutations in apes (humans, Sumatran and Bornean orangutans, and five gibbon species from the four major gibbon genera), toothed whales (killer whales, bottlenose dolphins, finless porpoises, baijis, and sperm whales), and baleen whales (minke whales and fin whales). We also identified a shared 13-nt deletion in the last exon of Old World cercopithecine monkeys that results in conversion of a membrane-bound protein to a soluble form. We hypothesize that the frequent inactivation and alteration of MOXD2 genes in catarrhines and whales may be associated with the evolution of olfaction in these clades. PMID:25102179

  18. Frequent loss and alteration of the MOXD2 gene in catarrhines and whales: a possible connection with the evolution of olfaction.

    PubMed

    Kim, Dong Seon; Wang, Yao; Oh, Hye Ji; Lee, Kangseok; Hahn, Yoonsoo

    2014-01-01

    The MOXD2 gene encodes a membrane-bound monooxygenase similar to dopamine-β-hydroxylase, and has been proposed to be associated with olfaction. In this study, we analyzed MOXD2 genes from 64 mammalian species, and identified loss-of-function mutations in apes (humans, Sumatran and Bornean orangutans, and five gibbon species from the four major gibbon genera), toothed whales (killer whales, bottlenose dolphins, finless porpoises, baijis, and sperm whales), and baleen whales (minke whales and fin whales). We also identified a shared 13-nt deletion in the last exon of Old World cercopithecine monkeys that results in conversion of a membrane-bound protein to a soluble form. We hypothesize that the frequent inactivation and alteration of MOXD2 genes in catarrhines and whales may be associated with the evolution of olfaction in these clades.

  19. Frequent loss and alteration of the MOXD2 gene in catarrhines and whales: a possible connection with the evolution of olfaction.

    PubMed

    Kim, Dong Seon; Wang, Yao; Oh, Hye Ji; Lee, Kangseok; Hahn, Yoonsoo

    2014-01-01

    The MOXD2 gene encodes a membrane-bound monooxygenase similar to dopamine-β-hydroxylase, and has been proposed to be associated with olfaction. In this study, we analyzed MOXD2 genes from 64 mammalian species, and identified loss-of-function mutations in apes (humans, Sumatran and Bornean orangutans, and five gibbon species from the four major gibbon genera), toothed whales (killer whales, bottlenose dolphins, finless porpoises, baijis, and sperm whales), and baleen whales (minke whales and fin whales). We also identified a shared 13-nt deletion in the last exon of Old World cercopithecine monkeys that results in conversion of a membrane-bound protein to a soluble form. We hypothesize that the frequent inactivation and alteration of MOXD2 genes in catarrhines and whales may be associated with the evolution of olfaction in these clades. PMID:25102179

  20. History of polar whaling: insights into the physiology of the great whales.

    PubMed

    Castellini, M

    2000-06-01

    The sheer size and pelagic nature of the great whales has effectively precluded detailed studies of most of their physiological processes. The vast majority of all data for these species have come from anatomical studies conducted on specimens that were caught in commercial and native whaling operations. In both the polar regions, an incredible number of whales were hunted, but anatomical studies were not usually conducted until relatively recent times. However, the anatomical data that do exist provide a valuable insight into some of the physiological demands placed on the animals by their marine habitat. These include information on blubber and nutrition; baleen and feeding ecology; contaminant chemistry and tissue samples; diving chemistry and acoustics. Taken together, these anatomical data provide the only substantial information on how these animals dive and hunt. Recent breakthroughs in chemical techniques however, are providing even greater details on function (for example, fatty acid signature methods). Coupled with advanced methods for tracking these whales at sea (acoustic and satellite), future studies should provide significant new information on the general physiology of these difficult to study species.

  1. Dangerous dining: surface foraging of North Atlantic right whales increases risk of vessel collisions.

    PubMed

    Parks, Susan E; Warren, Joseph D; Stamieszkin, Karen; Mayo, Charles A; Wiley, David

    2012-02-23

    North Atlantic right whales are critically endangered and, despite international protection from whaling, significant numbers die from collisions with ships. Large groups of right whales migrate to the coastal waters of New England during the late winter and early spring to feed in an area with large numbers of vessels. North Atlantic right whales have the largest per capita record of vessel strikes of any large whale population in the world. Right whale feeding behaviour in Cape Cod Bay (CCB) probably contributes to risk of collisions with ships. In this study, feeding right whales tagged with archival suction cup tags spent the majority of their time just below the water's surface where they cannot be seen but are shallow enough to be vulnerable to ship strike. Habitat surveys show that large patches of right whale prey are common in the upper 5 m of the water column in CCB during spring. These results indicate that the typical spring-time foraging ecology of right whales may contribute to their high level of mortality from vessel collisions. The results of this study suggest that remote acoustic detection of prey aggregations may be a useful supplement to the management and conservation of right whales.

  2. Specific features of vowel-like signals of white whales

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bel'Kovich, V. M.; Kreichi, S. A.

    2004-05-01

    The set of acoustic signals of White-Sea white whales comprises about 70 types of signals. Six of them occur most often and constitute 75% of the total number of signals produced by these animals. According to behavioral reactions, white whales distinguish each other by acoustic signals, which is also typical of other animal species and humans. To investigate this phenomenon, signals perceived as vowel-like sounds of speech, including sounds perceived as a “bleat,” were chosen A sample of 480 signals recorded in June and July, 2000, in the White Sea within a reproductive assemblage of white whales near the Large Solovetskii Island was studied. Signals were recorded on a digital data carrier (a SONY minidisk) in the frequency range of 0.06 20 kHz. The purpose of the study was to reveal the perceptive and acoustic features specific to individual animals. The study was carried out using the methods of structural analysis of vocal speech that are employed in lingual criminalistics to identify a speaking person. It was demonstrated that this approach allows one to group the signals by coincident perceptive and acoustic parameters with assigning individual attributes to single parameters. This provided an opportunity to separate conditionally about 40 different sources of acoustic signals according to the totality of coincidences, which corresponded to the number of white whales observed visually. Thus, the application of this method proves to be very promising for the acoustic identification of white whales and other marine mammals, this possibility being very important for biology.

  3. Antarctic-type blue whale calls recorded at low latitudes in the Indian and eastern Pacific Oceans

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stafford, Kathleen M.; Bohnenstiehl, DelWayne R.; Tolstoy, Maya; Chapp, Emily; Mellinger, David K.; Moore, Sue E.

    2004-10-01

    Blue whales, Balaenoptera musculus, were once abundant around the Antarctic during the austral summer, but intensive whaling during the first half of the 20th century reduced their numbers by over 99%. Although interannual variability of blue whale occurrence on the Antarctic feeding grounds was documented by whalers, little was known about where the whales spent the winter months. Antarctic blue whales produce calls that are distinct from those produced by blue whales elsewhere in the world. To investigate potential winter migratory destinations of Antarctic blue whales, we examined acoustic data for these signals from two low-latitude locales: the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean. Antarctic-type blue whale calls were detected on hydrophones in both regions during the austral autumn and winter (May-September), with peak detections in July. Calls occurred over relatively brief periods in both oceans, suggesting that there may be only a few animals migrating so far north and/or producing calls. Antarctic blue whales appear to use both the Indian and eastern Pacific Oceans concurrently, indicating that there is not a single migratory destination. Acoustic data from the South Atlantic and from mid-latitudes in the Indian or Pacific Oceans are needed for a more global understanding of migratory patterns and destinations of Antarctic blue whales.

  4. Baleen whale infrasonic sounds: Natural variability and function

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Clark, Christopher W.

    2001-05-01

    Blue and fin whales (Balaenoptera musculus and B. physalus) produce very intense, long, patterned sequences of infrasonic sounds. The acoustic characteristics of these sounds suggest strong selection for signals optimized for very long-range propagation in the deep ocean as first hypothesized by Payne and Webb in 1971. This hypothesis has been partially validated by very long-range detections using hydrophone arrays in deep water. Humpback songs recorded in deep water contain units in the 20-l00 Hz range, and these relatively simple song components are detectable out to many hundreds of miles. The mid-winter peak in the occurrence of 20-Hz fin whale sounds led Watkins to hypothesize a reproductive function similar to humpback (Megaptera novaeangliae) song, and by default this function has been extended to blue whale songs. More recent evidence shows that blue and fin whales produce infrasonic calls in high latitudes during the feeding season, and that singing is associated with areas of high productivity where females congregate to feed. Acoustic sampling over broad spatial and temporal scales for baleen species is revealing higher geographic and seasonal variability in the low-frequency vocal behaviors than previously reported, suggesting that present explanations for baleen whale sounds are too simplistic.

  5. Blue-green color and composition of Stejneger's beaked whale (Mesoplodon stejnegeri) milk.

    PubMed

    Ullrey, D E; Schwartz, C C; Whetter, P A; Rajeshwar Rao, T; Euber, J R; Cheng, S G; Brunner, J R

    1984-01-01

    Two hundred ml of milk were obtained from a lactating Stejneger's beaked whale stranded at Ninilchik, Alaska on 21 Oct, 1980. Total solids (41%) were similar to values reported for sperm and belukha whales, while fat (17%) was half as great and crude protein (17%) was 2-4 times greater than in milk of these species. Lactose was not detected. Calcium (0.22%) was greater than reported for pigmy sperm whales but less than for blue whales. Phosphorus (0.07%) was less than for any of the above species. Sodium and potassium concentrations were 0.13% and 0.11%, respectively. Values (microgram/g) for other elements analyzed (magnesium, 42; iron, 35; copper, 2.6; zinc, 1.5; manganese, 0.3; selenium, 0.36) have not been reported for whale milk. Based on SDS-gel electropherograms, this whale milk did not contain a whey protein corresponding to cattle milk alpha-lactalbumin. A blue-green pigment in the milk was identified as biliverdin.

  6. Blue whale vocalizations recorded around New Zealand: 1964-2013.

    PubMed

    Miller, Brian S; Collins, Kym; Barlow, Jay; Calderan, Susannah; Leaper, Russell; McDonald, Mark; Ensor, Paul; Olson, Paula A; Olavarria, Carlos; Double, Michael C

    2014-03-01

    Previous underwater recordings made in New Zealand have identified a complex sequence of low frequency sounds that have been attributed to blue whales based on similarity to blue whale songs in other areas. Recordings of sounds with these characteristics were made opportunistically during the Southern Ocean Research Partnership's recent Antarctic Blue Whale Voyage. Detections of these sounds occurred all around the South Island of New Zealand during the voyage transits from Nelson, New Zealand to the Antarctic and return. By following acoustic bearings from directional sonobuoys, blue whales were visually detected and confirmed as the source of these sounds. These recordings, together with the historical recordings made northeast of New Zealand, indicate song types that persist over several decades and are indicative of the year-round presence of a population of blue whales that inhabits the waters around New Zealand. Measurements of the four-part vocalizations reveal that blue whale song in this region has changed slowly, but consistently over the past 50 years. The most intense units of these calls were detected as far south as 53°S, which represents a considerable range extension compared to the limited prior data on the spatial distribution of this population. PMID:24606296

  7. Blue whale vocalizations recorded around New Zealand: 1964-2013.

    PubMed

    Miller, Brian S; Collins, Kym; Barlow, Jay; Calderan, Susannah; Leaper, Russell; McDonald, Mark; Ensor, Paul; Olson, Paula A; Olavarria, Carlos; Double, Michael C

    2014-03-01

    Previous underwater recordings made in New Zealand have identified a complex sequence of low frequency sounds that have been attributed to blue whales based on similarity to blue whale songs in other areas. Recordings of sounds with these characteristics were made opportunistically during the Southern Ocean Research Partnership's recent Antarctic Blue Whale Voyage. Detections of these sounds occurred all around the South Island of New Zealand during the voyage transits from Nelson, New Zealand to the Antarctic and return. By following acoustic bearings from directional sonobuoys, blue whales were visually detected and confirmed as the source of these sounds. These recordings, together with the historical recordings made northeast of New Zealand, indicate song types that persist over several decades and are indicative of the year-round presence of a population of blue whales that inhabits the waters around New Zealand. Measurements of the four-part vocalizations reveal that blue whale song in this region has changed slowly, but consistently over the past 50 years. The most intense units of these calls were detected as far south as 53°S, which represents a considerable range extension compared to the limited prior data on the spatial distribution of this population.

  8. Biosonar performance of foraging Blainvilles beaked whales (Mesoplodon densirostris)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Madsen, Peter T.; Johnson, Mark; Tyack, Peter L.; Aguilar de Soto, Natacha; Zimmer, Walter M. X.

    2001-05-01

    Echolocating animals like bats and toothed whales navigate and locate food by means of echoes from sounds transmitted by the animals themselves. Toothed whale echolocation has been studied intensively in captivity, but little information exists on how echolocation is used by wild animals for orientation and prey location. To expand on this issue, a noninvasive, acoustic Dtag (96-kHz sampling, 16-bit resolution) was deployed on two Blainvilles beaked whales. The tagged whales only clicked at depths below 200 m during deep foraging dives. The echolocation clicks are directional, 250-ms transients with peak energy in the 30-40-kHz band. Echoes from the seafloor and from prey items were recorded. The regular click rate is not adjusted to the decreasing echo delay from incoming prey until the target is within an approximate body length of the whale after which the click rate is increased rapidly akin to the buzz phase of echolocating bats. This suggests that the whales use different sonar strategies for operating in near versus far field modes. Changes in received echo intensities from prey targets during approaches are compared to the active gain control in the receiving system of bats and in the transmitting system of dolphins.

  9. Past and present research on gray whale vocalizations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ollervides, Francisco

    2002-05-01

    Eberhadt and Evans first recorded vocalizations of gray whales in 1967 in Laguna Ojo de Liebre, Mexico. Three and a half decades of bioacoustic research on gray whales has followed this groundbreaking work. Gray whales appear more vocal while at the southern breeding lagoons off Baja California and are least vocal at the northern feeding areas of the Bering, Chukchi, and Beaufort Seas. Ten different vocalizations have been identified on the breeding grounds, while only six different vocalizations have been recorded on the feeding grounds. Evans also conducted the first recordings of vocalizations of gray whales in captivity with his work on J.J. II in San Diego in 1974. Since then, the database of captive gray whale vocalizations has expanded with research on GiGi in 1997. From this review, an acoustic repertoire of at least 12 different types of vocalizations is suggested. Nevertheless, not all gray whale calls fall into obvious or distinct categories; thus, correlating specific behaviors with each vocalization type merits further study.

  10. Gray whale target strength measurements and the analysis of the backscattered response.

    PubMed

    Lucifredi, Irena; Stein, Peter J

    2007-03-01

    One of the current Integrated Marine Mammal Monitoring and Protection System (IMPAS) directions is concentrated on the design and development of the active sonar modality representing just one component of the global system. The active sonar was designed, built, and tested during the Marine Mammal Active Sonar Test (MAST 04), producing whale detections and whale tracks. The experiment was conducted in January 2004 off the coast of California. One of the objectives of the current work is to distinguish whale backscattered responses from the ones generated by the environmental clutter in a waveguide. Furthermore, the work aims to identify and analyze the target signature features that are necessary for enhanced active sonar detection and classification of marine mammals. Over the years there have been very few documented attempts to capture and analyze the backscattering response of whales using an active sonar system. Nevertheless, whales, mostly owing to their size, their motion, and the aspect dependence of their backscattered field, possess desirable properties that help distinguish their scattered response from clutter and other environment related false alarms. As an initial step, data collected during the MAST 04 experiment are presented, and gray whale target strength measurements are obtained. Results are compared to the previously published whale target strengths. Additionally, an investigation is conducted in an effort to provide whale feature identification points suitable for automated detection and classification, as means of relating gray whale active acoustic signatures to their inherent characteristics and their motion.

  11. Sperm viability - Determination of sperm viability using fluorescence microscopy

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    To determine the percentage of viable sperm in a semen sample using stains that differentiates viable (live) sperm from nonviable (dead) sperm. Viable sperm are detected by SYBR-14, which stains the sperm nuclei green. Nonviable sperm are detected by propidium iodide (PI), which stains the sperm red...

  12. Predicted decline of protected whales based on molecular genetic monitoring of Japanese and Korean markets.

    PubMed

    Baker, C S; Lento, G M; Cipriano, F; Palumbi, S R

    2000-06-22

    We present a two-tiered analysis of molecular genetic variation in order to determine the origins of whale' products purchased from retail markets in Japan and the Republic of (South) Korea during 1993-1999. This approach combined phylogenetic analysis of mitochondrial DNA sequences for identification of protected species with a statistical comparison of intraspecific haplotype frequencies for distinguishing regional subpopulations or 'stocks' hunted for scientific research by the Japanese and killed incidentally in coastal fisheries by the Koreans. The phylogenetic identification of 655 products included eight species or subspecies of baleen whales, sperm whales, a pygmy sperm whale, two species of beaked whales, porpoises, killer whales and numerous species of dolphins as well as domestic sheep and horses. Six of the baleen whale species (the fin, sei, common-form and small-form Bryde's, blue or blue/fin hybrid, and humpback) and the sperm whale are protected by international agreements dating back to at least 1989 for all species and 1966 for some species. We compared the haplotype frequencies from the Japanese market sample to those reported from scientific hunting in the western North Pacific stock for products derived from the exploited North Pacific minke whale. The market sample differed significantly from the scientific catch (p < 0.001), showing a greater than expected frequency of haplotypes characteristic of the protected Sea of Japan stock. We used a 'mixed-stock' analysis and maximum-likelihood methods to estimate that 31% (95% confidence interval 19-43%) of the market for this species originated from the Sea of Japan stock. The source of these products was assumed to be undocumented 'incidental takes' from fisheries' by-catch, although we cannot exclude the possibility of illegal hunting or smuggling. The demographic impact of this undocumented exploitation was evaluated using the model of population dynamics adopted by the Scientific Committee of

  13. Predicted decline of protected whales based on molecular genetic monitoring of Japanese and Korean markets.

    PubMed Central

    Baker, C S; Lento, G M; Cipriano, F; Palumbi, S R

    2000-01-01

    We present a two-tiered analysis of molecular genetic variation in order to determine the origins of whale' products purchased from retail markets in Japan and the Republic of (South) Korea during 1993-1999. This approach combined phylogenetic analysis of mitochondrial DNA sequences for identification of protected species with a statistical comparison of intraspecific haplotype frequencies for distinguishing regional subpopulations or 'stocks' hunted for scientific research by the Japanese and killed incidentally in coastal fisheries by the Koreans. The phylogenetic identification of 655 products included eight species or subspecies of baleen whales, sperm whales, a pygmy sperm whale, two species of beaked whales, porpoises, killer whales and numerous species of dolphins as well as domestic sheep and horses. Six of the baleen whale species (the fin, sei, common-form and small-form Bryde's, blue or blue/fin hybrid, and humpback) and the sperm whale are protected by international agreements dating back to at least 1989 for all species and 1966 for some species. We compared the haplotype frequencies from the Japanese market sample to those reported from scientific hunting in the western North Pacific stock for products derived from the exploited North Pacific minke whale. The market sample differed significantly from the scientific catch (p < 0.001), showing a greater than expected frequency of haplotypes characteristic of the protected Sea of Japan stock. We used a 'mixed-stock' analysis and maximum-likelihood methods to estimate that 31% (95% confidence interval 19-43%) of the market for this species originated from the Sea of Japan stock. The source of these products was assumed to be undocumented 'incidental takes' from fisheries' by-catch, although we cannot exclude the possibility of illegal hunting or smuggling. The demographic impact of this undocumented exploitation was evaluated using the model of population dynamics adopted by the Scientific Committee of

  14. Predicted decline of protected whales based on molecular genetic monitoring of Japanese and Korean markets.

    PubMed

    Baker, C S; Lento, G M; Cipriano, F; Palumbi, S R

    2000-06-22

    We present a two-tiered analysis of molecular genetic variation in order to determine the origins of whale' products purchased from retail markets in Japan and the Republic of (South) Korea during 1993-1999. This approach combined phylogenetic analysis of mitochondrial DNA sequences for identification of protected species with a statistical comparison of intraspecific haplotype frequencies for distinguishing regional subpopulations or 'stocks' hunted for scientific research by the Japanese and killed incidentally in coastal fisheries by the Koreans. The phylogenetic identification of 655 products included eight species or subspecies of baleen whales, sperm whales, a pygmy sperm whale, two species of beaked whales, porpoises, killer whales and numerous species of dolphins as well as domestic sheep and horses. Six of the baleen whale species (the fin, sei, common-form and small-form Bryde's, blue or blue/fin hybrid, and humpback) and the sperm whale are protected by international agreements dating back to at least 1989 for all species and 1966 for some species. We compared the haplotype frequencies from the Japanese market sample to those reported from scientific hunting in the western North Pacific stock for products derived from the exploited North Pacific minke whale. The market sample differed significantly from the scientific catch (p < 0.001), showing a greater than expected frequency of haplotypes characteristic of the protected Sea of Japan stock. We used a 'mixed-stock' analysis and maximum-likelihood methods to estimate that 31% (95% confidence interval 19-43%) of the market for this species originated from the Sea of Japan stock. The source of these products was assumed to be undocumented 'incidental takes' from fisheries' by-catch, although we cannot exclude the possibility of illegal hunting or smuggling. The demographic impact of this undocumented exploitation was evaluated using the model of population dynamics adopted by the Scientific Committee of

  15. Polychlorinated biphenyls and their hydroxylated metabolites (OH-PCBs) in the blood of toothed and baleen whales stranded along Japanese coastal waters.

    PubMed

    Nomiyama, Kei; Murata, Satoko; Kunisue, Tatsuya; Yamada, Tadasu K; Mizukawa, Hazuki; Takahashi, Shin; Tanabe, Shinsuke

    2010-05-15

    In this study, we determined the residue levels and patterns of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and hydroxylated PCBs (OH-PCBs) in the blood from eight species of toothed whales and three species of baleen whales stranded along the Japanese coast during 1999-2007. Penta- through hepta-chlorinated PCB congeners were the dominant homologue groups in all cetaceans. In contrast, specific differences in the distribution of dominant OH-PCB isomers and homologues were found among the cetacean species. In five species of toothed whales (melon-headed whale, Stejneger's beaked whale, Pacific white-sided dolphin, Blainville's beaked whale, and killer whale), the predominant homologues were OH-penta-PCBs followed by OH-tetra-PCBs and OH-tri-PCBs. The predominant homologues of finless porpoise and beluga whale were OH-penta-PCBs followed by OH-hexa-PCBs and OH-tri-PCBs. The predominant OH-PCB isomers were para-OH-PCBs such as 4OH-CB26, 4'OH-CB25/4'OH-CB26/4OH-CB31, 4OH-CB70, 4'OH-CB72, 4'OH-CB97, 4'OH-CB101/4'OH-CB120, and 4OH-CB107/4'OH-CB108 in toothed whales. In three baleen whales (common minke whale, Bryde's whale, and humpback whale) and in sperm whale (which is a toothed whale), OH-octa-PCB (4OH-CB202) was the predominant homologue group accounting for 40-80% of the total OH-PCB concentrations. The differences in concentrations and profiles of OH-PCBs may suggest species-specific diets, metabolic capability, and the transthyretin (TTR) binding specificity. These results reveal that the accumulation profiles of OH-PCBs in cetacean blood are entirely different from the profiles found in pinnipeds, polar bear, and humans.

  16. Polychlorinated biphenyls and their hydroxylated metabolites (OH-PCBs) in the blood of toothed and baleen whales stranded along Japanese coastal waters.

    PubMed

    Nomiyama, Kei; Murata, Satoko; Kunisue, Tatsuya; Yamada, Tadasu K; Mizukawa, Hazuki; Takahashi, Shin; Tanabe, Shinsuke

    2010-05-15

    In this study, we determined the residue levels and patterns of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and hydroxylated PCBs (OH-PCBs) in the blood from eight species of toothed whales and three species of baleen whales stranded along the Japanese coast during 1999-2007. Penta- through hepta-chlorinated PCB congeners were the dominant homologue groups in all cetaceans. In contrast, specific differences in the distribution of dominant OH-PCB isomers and homologues were found among the cetacean species. In five species of toothed whales (melon-headed whale, Stejneger's beaked whale, Pacific white-sided dolphin, Blainville's beaked whale, and killer whale), the predominant homologues were OH-penta-PCBs followed by OH-tetra-PCBs and OH-tri-PCBs. The predominant homologues of finless porpoise and beluga whale were OH-penta-PCBs followed by OH-hexa-PCBs and OH-tri-PCBs. The predominant OH-PCB isomers were para-OH-PCBs such as 4OH-CB26, 4'OH-CB25/4'OH-CB26/4OH-CB31, 4OH-CB70, 4'OH-CB72, 4'OH-CB97, 4'OH-CB101/4'OH-CB120, and 4OH-CB107/4'OH-CB108 in toothed whales. In three baleen whales (common minke whale, Bryde's whale, and humpback whale) and in sperm whale (which is a toothed whale), OH-octa-PCB (4OH-CB202) was the predominant homologue group accounting for 40-80% of the total OH-PCB concentrations. The differences in concentrations and profiles of OH-PCBs may suggest species-specific diets, metabolic capability, and the transthyretin (TTR) binding specificity. These results reveal that the accumulation profiles of OH-PCBs in cetacean blood are entirely different from the profiles found in pinnipeds, polar bear, and humans. PMID:20426459

  17. Annotated checklist and fisheries interactions of cetaceans in Togo, with evidence of Antarctic minke whale in the Gulf of Guinea.

    PubMed

    Segniagbeto, Gabriel H; VAN Waerebeek, Koen; Bowessidjaou, Joseph E; Ketoh, Koffivi; Kpatcha, Takouda K; Okoumassou, Kotchikpa; Ahoedo, Kossi

    2014-01-01

    Based on strandings and captures, 9 cetacean species, including 6 odontocetes and 3 mysticetes, are documented (photos and specimens) in Togo's coastal waters (newly-recorded species marked with an asterisk): Antarctic minke whale (Balaenoptera bonaerensis*), Bryde's whale (Balaenoptera brydei or B. edeni), humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae), sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus), pygmy sperm whale (Kogia breviceps*), short-finned pilot whale (Globicephala macrorhynchus*), pantropical spotted dolphin (Stenella attenuata*), common bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) and common dolphin Delphinus sp. An anecdotal sighting record for killer whale (Orcinus orca) is considered reliable. The lack of Sousa teuszii records in Togo is consistent with its apparent contemporaneous absence in Ghana. The B. bonaerensis specimen, entangled in a purse seine set on small pelagics, is a first record for the Gulf of Guinea. The occurrence of this Southern Ocean species north of the equator underscores the severe gaps in our understanding of cetacean distribution off western Africa. The majority of artisanal fishermen operating in Togolese coastal waters are of Ghanaian origin and are thought to promote trade and consumption of cetacean bushmeat. Because captures are illegal, enforced with some success in the main fishing centers, covert landings of cetaceans are exceedingly difficult to monitor, quantify or sample. Concern is expressed about pollution of Togo's coastal waters with heavy metals due to phosphorite mining and export from the coastal basin near Hahotoé and Kpogamé.

  18. Annotated checklist and fisheries interactions of cetaceans in Togo, with evidence of Antarctic minke whale in the Gulf of Guinea.

    PubMed

    Segniagbeto, Gabriel H; VAN Waerebeek, Koen; Bowessidjaou, Joseph E; Ketoh, Koffivi; Kpatcha, Takouda K; Okoumassou, Kotchikpa; Ahoedo, Kossi

    2014-01-01

    Based on strandings and captures, 9 cetacean species, including 6 odontocetes and 3 mysticetes, are documented (photos and specimens) in Togo's coastal waters (newly-recorded species marked with an asterisk): Antarctic minke whale (Balaenoptera bonaerensis*), Bryde's whale (Balaenoptera brydei or B. edeni), humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae), sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus), pygmy sperm whale (Kogia breviceps*), short-finned pilot whale (Globicephala macrorhynchus*), pantropical spotted dolphin (Stenella attenuata*), common bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) and common dolphin Delphinus sp. An anecdotal sighting record for killer whale (Orcinus orca) is considered reliable. The lack of Sousa teuszii records in Togo is consistent with its apparent contemporaneous absence in Ghana. The B. bonaerensis specimen, entangled in a purse seine set on small pelagics, is a first record for the Gulf of Guinea. The occurrence of this Southern Ocean species north of the equator underscores the severe gaps in our understanding of cetacean distribution off western Africa. The majority of artisanal fishermen operating in Togolese coastal waters are of Ghanaian origin and are thought to promote trade and consumption of cetacean bushmeat. Because captures are illegal, enforced with some success in the main fishing centers, covert landings of cetaceans are exceedingly difficult to monitor, quantify or sample. Concern is expressed about pollution of Togo's coastal waters with heavy metals due to phosphorite mining and export from the coastal basin near Hahotoé and Kpogamé. PMID:24447657

  19. Software for real-time localization of baleen whale calls using directional sonobuoys: A case study on Antarctic blue whales.

    PubMed

    Miller, Brian S; Calderan, Susannah; Gillespie, Douglas; Weatherup, Graham; Leaper, Russell; Collins, Kym; Double, Michael C

    2016-03-01

    Directional frequency analysis and recording (DIFAR) sonobuoys can allow real-time acoustic localization of baleen whales for underwater tracking and remote sensing, but limited availability of hardware and software has prevented wider usage. These software limitations were addressed by developing a module in the open-source software PAMGuard. A case study is presented demonstrating that this software provides greater efficiency and accessibility than previous methods for detecting, localizing, and tracking Antarctic blue whales in real time. Additionally, this software can easily be extended to track other low and mid frequency sounds including those from other cetaceans, pinnipeds, icebergs, shipping, and seismic airguns. PMID:27036292

  20. Software for real-time localization of baleen whale calls using directional sonobuoys: A case study on Antarctic blue whales.

    PubMed

    Miller, Brian S; Calderan, Susannah; Gillespie, Douglas; Weatherup, Graham; Leaper, Russell; Collins, Kym; Double, Michael C

    2016-03-01

    Directional frequency analysis and recording (DIFAR) sonobuoys can allow real-time acoustic localization of baleen whales for underwater tracking and remote sensing, but limited availability of hardware and software has prevented wider usage. These software limitations were addressed by developing a module in the open-source software PAMGuard. A case study is presented demonstrating that this software provides greater efficiency and accessibility than previous methods for detecting, localizing, and tracking Antarctic blue whales in real time. Additionally, this software can easily be extended to track other low and mid frequency sounds including those from other cetaceans, pinnipeds, icebergs, shipping, and seismic airguns.

  1. On the communicative significance of whistles in wild killer whales (Orcinus orca)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thomsen, Frank; Franck, Dierk; Ford, John

    2002-08-01

    Killer whales (Orcinus orca) use pulsed calls and whistles in underwater communication. Unlike pulsed calls, whistles have received little study and thus their function is poorly known. In this study, whistle activities of groups of individually known killer whales were compared quantitatively across behavioural categories. Acoustic recordings and simultaneous behavioural observations were made of northern resident killer whales off Vancouver Island in 1996 and 1997. Whistles were produced at greater rates than discrete calls during close-range behavioural activities than during long-range activities. They were the predominant sound-type recorded during socializing. The number of whistles per animal per minute was significantly higher during close-range behavioural activities than during long-range activities. Evidently, whistles play an important role in the close-range acoustic communication in northern resident killer whales.

  2. Sounds produced by Norwegian killer whales, Orcinus orca, during capture

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van Parijs, Sofie M.; Leyssen, Teo; Similä, Tiu

    2004-07-01

    To date very little is still known about the acoustic behavior of Norwegian killer whales, in particular that of individual whales. In this study a unique opportunity was presented to document the sounds produced by five captured killer whales in the Vestfjord area, northern Norway. Individuals produced 14 discrete and 7 compound calls. Two call types were used both by individuals 16178 and 23365 suggesting that they may belong to the same pod. Comparisons with calls documented in Strager (1993) showed that none of the call types used by the captured individuals were present. The lack of these calls in the available literature suggests that call variability within individuals is likely to be large. This short note adds to our knowledge of the vocal repertoire of this population and demonstrates the need for further studies to provide behavioural context to these sounds.

  3. Cytochrome P4501A1 expression in blubber biopsies of endangered false killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens) and nine other odontocete species from Hawai'i.

    PubMed

    Foltz, Kerry M; Baird, Robin W; Ylitalo, Gina M; Jensen, Brenda A

    2014-11-01

    Odontocetes (toothed whales) are considered sentinel species in the marine environment because of their high trophic position, long life spans, and blubber that accumulates lipophilic contaminants. Cytochrome P4501A1 (CYP1A1) is a biomarker of exposure and molecular effects of certain persistent organic pollutants. Immunohistochemistry was used to visualize CYP1A1 expression in blubber biopsies collected by non-lethal sampling methods from 10 species of free-ranging Hawaiian odontocetes: short-finned pilot whale, melon-headed whale, pygmy killer whale, common bottlenose dolphin, rough-toothed dolphin, pantropical spotted dolphin, Blainville's beaked whale, Cuvier's beaked whale, sperm whale, and endangered main Hawaiian Islands insular false killer whale. Significantly higher levels of CYP1A1 were observed in false killer whales and rough-toothed dolphins compared to melon-headed whales, and in general, trophic position appears to influence CYP1A1 expression patterns in particular species groups. No significant differences in CYP1A1 were found based on age class or sex across all samples. However, within male false killer whales, juveniles expressed significantly higher levels of CYP1A1 when compared to adults. Total polychlorinated biphenyl (∑PCBs) concentrations in 84% of false killer whales exceeded proposed threshold levels for health effects, and ∑PCBs correlated with CYP1A1 expression. There was no significant relationship between PCB toxic equivalent quotient and CYP1A1 expression, suggesting that this response may be influenced by agonists other than the dioxin-like PCBs measured in this study. No significant differences were found for CYP1A1 expression among social clusters of false killer whales. This work provides a foundation for future health monitoring of the endangered stock of false killer whales and other Hawaiian odontocetes.

  4. Cytochrome P4501A1 expression in blubber biopsies of endangered false killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens) and nine other odontocete species from Hawai'i.

    PubMed

    Foltz, Kerry M; Baird, Robin W; Ylitalo, Gina M; Jensen, Brenda A

    2014-11-01

    Odontocetes (toothed whales) are considered sentinel species in the marine environment because of their high trophic position, long life spans, and blubber that accumulates lipophilic contaminants. Cytochrome P4501A1 (CYP1A1) is a biomarker of exposure and molecular effects of certain persistent organic pollutants. Immunohistochemistry was used to visualize CYP1A1 expression in blubber biopsies collected by non-lethal sampling methods from 10 species of free-ranging Hawaiian odontocetes: short-finned pilot whale, melon-headed whale, pygmy killer whale, common bottlenose dolphin, rough-toothed dolphin, pantropical spotted dolphin, Blainville's beaked whale, Cuvier's beaked whale, sperm whale, and endangered main Hawaiian Islands insular false killer whale. Significantly higher levels of CYP1A1 were observed in false killer whales and rough-toothed dolphins compared to melon-headed whales, and in general, trophic position appears to influence CYP1A1 expression patterns in particular species groups. No significant differences in CYP1A1 were found based on age class or sex across all samples. However, within male false killer whales, juveniles expressed significantly higher levels of CYP1A1 when compared to adults. Total polychlorinated biphenyl (∑PCBs) concentrations in 84% of false killer whales exceeded proposed threshold levels for health effects, and ∑PCBs correlated with CYP1A1 expression. There was no significant relationship between PCB toxic equivalent quotient and CYP1A1 expression, suggesting that this response may be influenced by agonists other than the dioxin-like PCBs measured in this study. No significant differences were found for CYP1A1 expression among social clusters of false killer whales. This work provides a foundation for future health monitoring of the endangered stock of false killer whales and other Hawaiian odontocetes. PMID:25134676

  5. Source level estimation of two blue whale subspecies in southwestern Indian Ocean.

    PubMed

    Samaran, Flore; Guinet, Christophe; Adam, Olivier; Motsch, Jean-François; Cansi, Yves

    2010-06-01

    Blue whales produce intense, stereotypic low frequency calls that are particularly well suited for transmission over long distances. Because these calls vary geographically, they can be used to gain insight into subspecies distribution. In the Southwestern Indian Ocean, acoustic data from a triad of calibrated hydrophones maintained by the International Monitoring System provided data on blue whale calls from two subspecies: Antarctic and pygmy blue whales. Using time difference of arrival and least-squares hyperbolic methods, the range and location of calling whales were determined. By using received level of calls and propagation modeling, call source levels of both subspecies were estimated. The average call source level was estimated to 179+/-5 dB re 1 microPa(rms) at 1 m over the 17-30 Hz band for Antarctic blue whale and 174+/-1 dB re 1 microPa(rms) at 1 m over the 17-50 Hz band for pygmy blue whale. According to previous estimates, slight variations in the source level could be due to inter-individual differences, inter-subspecies variations and the calculation method. These are the first reported source level estimations for blue whales in the Indian Ocean. Such data are critical to estimate detection ranges of calling blue whales. PMID:20550278

  6. Low-frequency signals produced by Northeast Atlantic killer whales (Orcinus orca).

    PubMed

    Samarra, Filipa I P; Deecke, Volker B; Miller, Patrick J O

    2016-03-01

    Killer whale acoustic behavior has been extensively investigated; however, most studies have focused on pulsed calls and whistles. This study reports the production of low-frequency signals by killer whales at frequencies below 300 Hz. Recordings were made in Iceland and Norway when killer whales were observed feeding on herring and no other marine mammal species were nearby. Low-frequency sounds were identified in Iceland and ranged in duration between 0.14 and 2.77 s and in frequency between 50 and 270 Hz, well below the previously reported lower limit for killer whale tonal sounds of 500 Hz. Low-frequency sounds appeared to be produced close in time to tail slaps, which are indicative of feeding attempts, suggesting that these sounds may be related to a feeding context. However, their precise function is unknown, and they could be the by-product of a non-vocal behavior rather than a vocal signal deliberately produced by the whales. Although killer whales in Norway exhibit similar feeding behavior, this sound has not been detected in recordings from Norway to date. This study suggests that, like other delphinids, killer whales produce low-frequency sounds, but further studies will be required to understand whether similar sounds exist in other killer whale populations. PMID:27036251

  7. Source level estimation of two blue whale subspecies in southwestern Indian Ocean.

    PubMed

    Samaran, Flore; Guinet, Christophe; Adam, Olivier; Motsch, Jean-François; Cansi, Yves

    2010-06-01

    Blue whales produce intense, stereotypic low frequency calls that are particularly well suited for transmission over long distances. Because these calls vary geographically, they can be used to gain insight into subspecies distribution. In the Southwestern Indian Ocean, acoustic data from a triad of calibrated hydrophones maintained by the International Monitoring System provided data on blue whale calls from two subspecies: Antarctic and pygmy blue whales. Using time difference of arrival and least-squares hyperbolic methods, the range and location of calling whales were determined. By using received level of calls and propagation modeling, call source levels of both subspecies were estimated. The average call source level was estimated to 179+/-5 dB re 1 microPa(rms) at 1 m over the 17-30 Hz band for Antarctic blue whale and 174+/-1 dB re 1 microPa(rms) at 1 m over the 17-50 Hz band for pygmy blue whale. According to previous estimates, slight variations in the source level could be due to inter-individual differences, inter-subspecies variations and the calculation method. These are the first reported source level estimations for blue whales in the Indian Ocean. Such data are critical to estimate detection ranges of calling blue whales.

  8. Blue and fin whale call source levels and propagation range in the Southern Ocean.

    PubMed

    Sirović, Ana; Hildebrand, John A; Wiggins, Sean M

    2007-08-01

    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.

  9. Low-frequency signals produced by Northeast Atlantic killer whales (Orcinus orca).

    PubMed

    Samarra, Filipa I P; Deecke, Volker B; Miller, Patrick J O

    2016-03-01

    Killer whale acoustic behavior has been extensively investigated; however, most studies have focused on pulsed calls and whistles. This study reports the production of low-frequency signals by killer whales at frequencies below 300 Hz. Recordings were made in Iceland and Norway when killer whales were observed feeding on herring and no other marine mammal species were nearby. Low-frequency sounds were identified in Iceland and ranged in duration between 0.14 and 2.77 s and in frequency between 50 and 270 Hz, well below the previously reported lower limit for killer whale tonal sounds of 500 Hz. Low-frequency sounds appeared to be produced close in time to tail slaps, which are indicative of feeding attempts, suggesting that these sounds may be related to a feeding context. However, their precise function is unknown, and they could be the by-product of a non-vocal behavior rather than a vocal signal deliberately produced by the whales. Although killer whales in Norway exhibit similar feeding behavior, this sound has not been detected in recordings from Norway to date. This study suggests that, like other delphinids, killer whales produce low-frequency sounds, but further studies will be required to understand whether similar sounds exist in other killer whale populations.

  10. Acoustic effects of oil-production activities on bowhead and white whales visible during spring migration near Pt. Barrow, Alaska-1990 phase: sound propagation and whale responses to playbacks of continuous drilling noise from an ice platform, as studied in pack ice conditions. Final report

    SciTech Connect

    Richardson, W.J.; Greene, C.R.; Koski, W.R.; Smultea, M.A.; Cameron, G.

    1991-10-01

    The report concerns the effects of underwater noise from simulated oil production operations on the movements and behavior of bowhead and white whales migrating around northern Alaska in spring. An underwater sound projector suspended from pack ice was used to introduce recorded drilling noise and other test sounds into leads through the pack ice. These sounds were received and measured at various distances to determine the rate of sound attenuation with distance and frequency. The movements and behavior of bowhead and white whales approaching the operating projector were studied by aircraft- and ice-based observers. Some individuals of both species were observed to approach well within the ensonified area. However, behavioral changes and avoidance reactions were evident when the received sound level became sufficiently high. Reactions to aircraft are also discussed.

  11. Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)

    MedlinePlus

    ... male partner produces too few sperm to do artificial insemination (intrauterine insemination [IUI]) or IVF. • The sperm may ... birth defects may actually be due to the infertility and not the treatments used to overcome the ...

  12. Acoustic Studies of the Effects of Environmental Stresses on Marine Mammals in Large Ocean Basins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sidorovskaia, N.; Ma, B.; Ackleh, A. S.; Tiemann, C.; Ioup, G. E.; Ioup, J. W.

    2014-12-01

    Effects of environmental stresses on deep-diving marine mammal populations have not been studied systematically. Long-term regional passive acoustic monitoring of phonating marine mammals opens opportunities for such studies. This paper presents a unique multi-year study conducted by the Littoral Acoustic Demonstration Center (LADC) in the Northern Gulf of Mexico to understand short-term and long-term effects of anthropogenic stresses on resident populations of endangered sperm and elusive beaked whales. Both species spend many hours each day in deep dives which last about one hour each, so any visual observations for population estimates and behavioral responses are very limited. However, much more cost-efficient acoustic recordings of the phonations during dives on bottom-mounted hydrophones are not skewed by weather conditions or daylight requirements. Broadband passive acoustic data were collected by LADC in 2007 and 2010 at three ranges, 15, 40, and 80 km away from the 2010 Deep Water Horizon oil spill site. Pre-spill and post-spill data processing and comparison allow observing responses of both species to local short-term environmental condition changes and long-term responses to the spill. The short-term effects are studied by correlating daily activity cycles with anthropogenic noise curve daily and weekly cycles at different sites. The strong correlation between the decrease in overall daily activity and the increase in anthropogenic noise level associated with seismic exploration signals can be seen. After streaming raw acoustic data through detection algorithms and detailed assessment of false detection rates, the temporal densities of acoustic phonations are passed into statistical algorithms for resident population estimations. The statistically significant results have shown different regional abundance trends, associated with long-term responses to environmental stresses, for these two species.

  13. Vocalisations of Killer Whales (Orcinus orca) in the Bremer Canyon, Western Australia.

    PubMed

    Wellard, Rebecca; Erbe, Christine; Fouda, Leila; Blewitt, Michelle

    2015-01-01

    To date, there has been no dedicated study in Australian waters on the acoustics of killer whales. Hence no information has been published on the sounds produced by killer whales from this region. Here we present the first acoustical analysis of recordings collected off the Western Australian coast. Underwater sounds produced by Australian killer whales were recorded during the months of February and March 2014 and 2015 in the Bremer Canyon in Western Australia. Vocalisations recorded included echolocation clicks, burst-pulse sounds and whistles. A total of 28 hours and 29 minutes were recorded and analysed, with 2376 killer whale calls (whistles and burst-pulse sounds) detected. Recordings of poor quality or signal-to-noise ratio were excluded from analysis, resulting in 142 whistles and burst-pulse vocalisations suitable for analysis and categorisation. These were grouped based on their spectrographic features into nine Bremer Canyon (BC) "call types". The frequency of the fundamental contours of all call types ranged from 600 Hz to 29 kHz. Calls ranged from 0.05 to 11.3 seconds in duration. Biosonar clicks were also recorded, but not studied further. Surface behaviours noted during acoustic recordings were categorised as either travelling or social behaviour. A detailed description of the acoustic characteristics is necessary for species acoustic identification and for the development of passive acoustic tools for population monitoring, including assessments of population status, habitat usage, migration patterns, behaviour and acoustic ecology. This study provides the first quantitative assessment and report on the acoustic features of killer whales vocalisations in Australian waters, and presents an opportunity to further investigate this little-known population. PMID:26352429

  14. Vocalisations of Killer Whales (Orcinus orca) in the Bremer Canyon, Western Australia.

    PubMed

    Wellard, Rebecca; Erbe, Christine; Fouda, Leila; Blewitt, Michelle

    2015-01-01

    To date, there has been no dedicated study in Australian waters on the acoustics of killer whales. Hence no information has been published on the sounds produced by killer whales from this region. Here we present the first acoustical analysis of recordings collected off the Western Australian coast. Underwater sounds produced by Australian killer whales were recorded during the months of February and March 2014 and 2015 in the Bremer Canyon in Western Australia. Vocalisations recorded included echolocation clicks, burst-pulse sounds and whistles. A total of 28 hours and 29 minutes were recorded and analysed, with 2376 killer whale calls (whistles and burst-pulse sounds) detected. Recordings of poor quality or signal-to-noise ratio were excluded from analysis, resulting in 142 whistles and burst-pulse vocalisations suitable for analysis and categorisation. These were grouped based on their spectrographic features into nine Bremer Canyon (BC) "call types". The frequency of the fundamental contours of all call types ranged from 600 Hz to 29 kHz. Calls ranged from 0.05 to 11.3 seconds in duration. Biosonar clicks were also recorded, but not studied further. Surface behaviours noted during acoustic recordings were categorised as either travelling or social behaviour. A detailed description of the acoustic characteristics is necessary for species acoustic identification and for the development of passive acoustic tools for population monitoring, including assessments of population status, habitat usage, migration patterns, behaviour and acoustic ecology. This study provides the first quantitative assessment and report on the acoustic features of killer whales vocalisations in Australian waters, and presents an opportunity to further investigate this little-known population.

  15. Vocalisations of Killer Whales (Orcinus orca) in the Bremer Canyon, Western Australia

    PubMed Central

    Wellard, Rebecca; Erbe, Christine; Fouda, Leila; Blewitt, Michelle

    2015-01-01

    To date, there has been no dedicated study in Australian waters on the acoustics of killer whales. Hence no information has been published on the sounds produced by killer whales from this region. Here we present the first acoustical analysis of recordings collected off the Western Australian coast. Underwater sounds produced by Australian killer whales were recorded during the months of February and March 2014 and 2015 in the Bremer Canyon in Western Australia. Vocalisations recorded included echolocation clicks, burst-pulse sounds and whistles. A total of 28 hours and 29 minutes were recorded and analysed, with 2376 killer whale calls (whistles and burst-pulse sounds) detected. Recordings of poor quality or signal-to-noise ratio were excluded from analysis, resulting in 142 whistles and burst-pulse vocalisations suitable for analysis and categorisation. These were grouped based on their spectrographic features into nine Bremer Canyon (BC) “call types”. The frequency of the fundamental contours of all call types ranged from 600 Hz to 29 kHz. Calls ranged from 0.05 to 11.3 seconds in duration. Biosonar clicks were also recorded, but not studied further. Surface behaviours noted during acoustic recordings were categorised as either travelling or social behaviour. A detailed description of the acoustic characteristics is necessary for species acoustic identification and for the development of passive acoustic tools for population monitoring, including assessments of population status, habitat usage, migration patterns, behaviour and acoustic ecology. This study provides the first quantitative assessment and report on the acoustic features of killer whales vocalisations in Australian waters, and presents an opportunity to further investigate this little-known population. PMID:26352429

  16. Listening to Whales

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Allchin, Douglas

    2015-01-01

    Playing the sounds of whales during a class period can initiate the awareness of the role of wonder in education. Students are inspired to avidly collect fascinating facts to pique their interest and open the door to learning science. Indeed, when asked, teachers typically identify their foremost practical challenge as trying to motivate…

  17. Whale-Watching

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Lande, Rivian

    1973-01-01

    Describes a program initiated by the Cabrillo Beach Museum (San Pedro, California) and the American Cetacean Society to take students of the fourth grade through high school on half-day cruises to observe gray whales. College students assist in the program with related field projects and presentations in the schools. (JR)

  18. Whales: Incredible Ocean Mammals.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Devona, Henry

    1992-01-01

    Describes an integrated thematic unit for children from kindergarten to third grade. Explains that the unit incorporates reading, speaking, writing, science, mathematics, social studies, and art into the study of whales. Suggests learning activities on echolocation, migration, measurement, scrimshaw, history, and human interaction with the…

  19. Fertilizability and chromosomal integrity of frozen-thawed Bryde's whale (Balaenoptera edeni) spermatozoa intracytoplasmically injected into mouse oocytes.

    PubMed

    Watanabe, H; Tateno, H; Kusakabe, H; Matsuoka, T; Kamiguchi, Y; Fujise, Y; Ishikawa, H; Ohsumi, S; Fukui, Y

    2007-02-01

    Prior to attempting the in vitro production of embryos in the Bryde's whale (Balaenoputera edeni), we investigated whether spermatozoa can retain the capacity for oocyte activation and pronucleus formation as well as chromosomal integrity under cryopreservation by using intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) into mouse oocytes. Regardless of motility and viability, whale spermatozoa efficiently led to the activation of mouse oocytes (90.3-97.4%), and sperm nuclei successfully transformed into male pronucleus within activated ooplasm (87.2-93.6%). Chromosome analysis at the first cleavage metaphase (M) of the hybrid zygotes revealed that a majority (95.2%) of motile spermatozoa had the normal chromosome complement, while the percentage of chromosomal normality was significantly reduced to 63.5% in immotile spermatozoa and 50.0% in dead spermatozoa due to the increase in structural chromosome aberrations. This is the first report showing that motile Bryde's whale spermatozoa are competent to support embryonic development.

  20. Flow cytometry of sperm

    SciTech Connect

    Gledhill, B.L.

    1987-09-21

    This brief paper summarizes automated flow cytometric determination of sperm morphology and flow cytometry/sorting of sperm with application to sex preselection. In the latter context, mention is made of results of karyotypic determination of sex chromosome ratios in albumin-processed human sperm. 23 refs., 1 fig., 1 tab.

  1. Whales Are Big With Little People.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Dommers, John J.

    1981-01-01

    Presented is a discussion on why people should study whales. Background information, learning activities appropriate for different subject areas, and whale-related teaching materials are included. (DC)

  2. Calls reveal population structure of blue whales across the southeast Indian Ocean and the southwest Pacific Ocean

    PubMed Central

    Balcazar, Naysa E.; Tripovich, Joy S.; Klinck, Holger; Nieukirk, Sharon L.; Mellinger, David K.; Dziak, Robert P.; Rogers, Tracey L.

    2015-01-01

    For effective species management, understanding population structure and distribution is critical. However, quantifying population structure is not always straightforward. Within the Southern Hemisphere, the blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) complex is extremely diverse but difficult to study. Using automated detector methods, we identified “acoustic populations” of whales producing region-specific call types. We examined blue whale call types in passive acoustic data at sites spanning over 7,370 km across the southeast Indian Ocean and southwest Pacific Ocean (SWPO) from 2009 to 2012. In the absence of genetic resolution, these acoustic populations offer unique information about the blue whale population complex. We found that the Australian continent acts as a geographic boundary, separating Australia and New Zealand blue whale acoustic populations at the junction of the Indian and Pacific Ocean basins. We located blue whales in previously undocumented locations, including the far SWPO, in the Tasman Sea off the east coast of Australia, and along the Lau Basin near Tonga. Our understanding of population dynamics across this broad scale has significant implications to recovery and conservation management for this endangered species, at a regional and global scale. PMID:26989263

  3. The Relationship between Vessel Traffic and Noise Levels Received by Killer Whales (Orcinus orca).

    PubMed

    Houghton, Juliana; Holt, Marla M; Giles, Deborah A; Hanson, M Bradley; Emmons, Candice K; Hogan, Jeffrey T; Branch, Trevor A; VanBlaricom, Glenn R

    2015-01-01

    Whale watching has become increasingly popular as an ecotourism activity around the globe and is beneficial for environmental education and local economies. Southern Resident killer whales (Orcinus orca) comprise an endangered population that is frequently observed by a large whale watching fleet in the inland waters of Washington state and British Columbia. One of the factors identified as a risk to recovery for the population is the effect of vessels and associated noise. An examination of the effects of vessels and associated noise on whale behavior utilized novel equipment to address limitations of previous studies. Digital acoustic recording tags (DTAGs) measured the noise levels the tagged whales received while laser positioning systems allowed collection of geo-referenced data for tagged whales and all vessels within 1000 m of the tagged whale. The objective of the current study was to compare vessel data and DTAG recordings to relate vessel traffic to the ambient noise received by tagged whales. Two analyses were conducted, one including all recording intervals, and one that excluded intervals when only the research vessel was present. For all data, significant predictors of noise levels were length (inverse relationship), number of propellers, and vessel speed, but only 15% of the variation in noise was explained by this model. When research-vessel-only intervals were excluded, vessel speed was the only significant predictor of noise levels, and explained 42% of the variation. Simple linear regressions (ignoring covariates) found that average vessel speed and number of propellers were the only significant correlates with noise levels. We conclude that vessel speed is the most important predictor of noise levels received by whales in this study. Thus, measures that reduce vessel speed in the vicinity of killer whales would reduce noise exposure in this population. PMID:26629916

  4. The Relationship between Vessel Traffic and Noise Levels Received by Killer Whales (Orcinus orca)

    PubMed Central

    Houghton, Juliana; Holt, Marla M.; Giles, Deborah A.; Hanson, M. Bradley; Emmons, Candice K.; Hogan, Jeffrey T.; Branch, Trevor A.; VanBlaricom, Glenn R.

    2015-01-01

    Whale watching has become increasingly popular as an ecotourism activity around the globe and is beneficial for environmental education and local economies. Southern Resident killer whales (Orcinus orca) comprise an endangered population that is frequently observed by a large whale watching fleet in the inland waters of Washington state and British Columbia. One of the factors identified as a risk to recovery for the population is the effect of vessels and associated noise. An examination of the effects of vessels and associated noise on whale behavior utilized novel equipment to address limitations of previous studies. Digital acoustic recording tags (DTAGs) measured the noise levels the tagged whales received while laser positioning systems allowed collection of geo-referenced data for tagged whales and all vessels within 1000 m of the tagged whale. The objective of the current study was to compare vessel data and DTAG recordings to relate vessel traffic to the ambient noise received by tagged whales. Two analyses were conducted, one including all recording intervals, and one that excluded intervals when only the research vessel was present. For all data, significant predictors of noise levels were length (inverse relationship), number of propellers, and vessel speed, but only 15% of the variation in noise was explained by this model. When research-vessel-only intervals were excluded, vessel speed was the only significant predictor of noise levels, and explained 42% of the variation. Simple linear regressions (ignoring covariates) found that average vessel speed and number of propellers were the only significant correlates with noise levels. We conclude that vessel speed is the most important predictor of noise levels received by whales in this study. Thus, measures that reduce vessel speed in the vicinity of killer whales would reduce noise exposure in this population. PMID:26629916

  5. The relationship between vessel traffic and noise levels received by killer whales (Orcinus orca)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Houghton, Juliana; Holt, Marla M.; Giles, Deborah A.; Hanson, M. Bradley; Emmons, Candice K.; Hogan, Jeffrey T.; Branch, Trevor A.; Vanblaricom, Glenn R.

    2015-01-01

    Whale watching has become increasingly popular as an ecotourism activity around the globe and is beneficial for environmental education and local economies. Southern Resident killer whales (Orcinus orca) comprise an endangered population that is frequently observed by a large whale watching fleet in the inland waters of Washington state and British Columbia. One of the factors identified as a risk to recovery for the population is the effect of vessels and associated noise. An examination of the effects of vessels and associated noise on whale behavior utilized novel equipment to address limitations of previous studies. Digital acoustic recording tags (DTAGs) measured the noise levels the tagged whales received while laser positioning systems allowed collection of geo-referenced data for tagged whales and all vessels within 1000 m of the tagged whale. The objective of the current study was to compare vessel data and DTAG recordings to relate vessel traffic to the ambient noise received by tagged whales. Two analyses were conducted, one including all recording intervals, and one that excluded intervals when only the research vessel was present. For all data, significant predictors of noise levels were length (inverse relationship), number of propellers, and vessel speed, but only 15% of the variation in noise was explained by this model. When research-vessel-only intervals were excluded, vessel speed was the only significant predictor of noise levels, and explained 42% of the variation. Simple linear regressions (ignoring covariates) found that average vessel speed and number of propellers were the only significant correlates with noise levels. We conclude that vessel speed is the most important predictor of noise levels received by whales in this study. Thus, measures that reduce vessel speed in the vicinity of killer whales would reduce noise exposure in this population.

  6. The Relationship between Vessel Traffic and Noise Levels Received by Killer Whales (Orcinus orca).

    PubMed

    Houghton, Juliana; Holt, Marla M; Giles, Deborah A; Hanson, M Bradley; Emmons, Candice K; Hogan, Jeffrey T; Branch, Trevor A; VanBlaricom, Glenn R

    2015-01-01

    Whale watching has become increasingly popular as an ecotourism activity around the globe and is beneficial for environmental education and local economies. Southern Resident killer whales (Orcinus orca) comprise an endangered population that is frequently observed by a large whale watching fleet in the inland waters of Washington state and British Columbia. One of the factors identified as a risk to recovery for the population is the effect of vessels and associated noise. An examination of the effects of vessels and associated noise on whale behavior utilized novel equipment to address limitations of previous studies. Digital acoustic recording tags (DTAGs) measured the noise levels the tagged whales received while laser positioning systems allowed collection of geo-referenced data for tagged whales and all vessels within 1000 m of the tagged whale. The objective of the current study was to compare vessel data and DTAG recordings to relate vessel traffic to the ambient noise received by tagged whales. Two analyses were conducted, one including all recording intervals, and one that excluded intervals when only the research vessel was present. For all data, significant predictors of noise levels were length (inverse relationship), number of propellers, and vessel speed, but only 15% of the variation in noise was explained by this model. When research-vessel-only intervals were excluded, vessel speed was the only significant predictor of noise levels, and explained 42% of the variation. Simple linear regressions (ignoring covariates) found that average vessel speed and number of propellers were the only significant correlates with noise levels. We conclude that vessel speed is the most important predictor of noise levels received by whales in this study. Thus, measures that reduce vessel speed in the vicinity of killer whales would reduce noise exposure in this population.

  7. Matched-field processing, geoacoustic inversion, and source signature recovery of blue whale vocalizations.

    PubMed

    Thode, A M; D'Spain, G L; Kuperman, W A

    2000-03-01

    Matched-field processing (MFP) and global inversion techniques have been applied to vocalizations from four whales recorded on a 48-element tilted vertical array off the Channel Islands in 1996. Global inversions from selected whale calls using as few as eight elements extracted information about the surrounding ocean bottom composition, array shape, and the animal's position. These inversion results were then used to conduct straightforward MFP on other calls. The sediment sound-speed inversion estimates are consistent with those derived from sediment samples collected in the area. In general, most animals swam from the east to west, but one animal remained within approximately 500 m of its original position over 45 min. All whales vocalized between 10 and 40 m depth. Three acoustic sequences are discussed in detail: the first illustrating a match between an acoustic track and visual sighting, the second tracking two whales to ranges out to 8 km, and the final sequence demonstrating high-resolution dive profiles from an animal that changed its course to avoid the research platform FLIP (floating instrument platform). This last whale displayed an unusual diversity of signals that include three strong frequency-modulated (FM) downsweeps which contain possible signs of an internal resonance. The arrival of this same whale coincided with a sudden change in oceanographic conditions.

  8. Difference in Simulated Low-Frequency Sound Propagation in the Various Species of Baleen Whale

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tsuchiya, Toshio; Naoi, Jun; Futa, Koji; Kikuchi, Toshiaki

    2004-05-01

    Whales found in the north Pacific are known to migrate over several thousand kilometers, from the Alaskan coast where they heartily feed during the summer to low latitude waters where they breed during the winter. Therefore, it is assumed that whales are using the “deep sound channel” for their long-distance communication. The main objective of this study is to clarify the behaviors of baleen whales from the standpoint of acoustical oceanography. Hence, authors investigated the possibility of long distance communication in various species of baleen whales, by simulating the long-distance propagation of their sound transmission, by applying the mode theory to actual sound speed profiles and by simulating their transmission frequencies. As a result, the possibility of long distance communication among blue whales using the deep sound channel was indicated. It was also indicated that communication among fin whales and blue whales can be made possible by coming close to shore slopes such as the Island of Hawaii.

  9. Whales from space: counting southern right whales by satellite.

    PubMed

    Fretwell, Peter T; Staniland, Iain J; Forcada, Jaume

    2014-01-01

    We describe a method of identifying and counting whales using very high resolution satellite imagery through the example of southern right whales breeding in part of the Golfo Nuevo, Península Valdés in Argentina. Southern right whales have been extensively hunted over the last 300 years and although numbers have recovered from near extinction in the early 20(th) century, current populations are fragmented and are estimated at only a small fraction of pre-hunting total. Recent extreme right whale calf mortality events at Península Valdés, which constitutes the largest single population, have raised fresh concern for the future of the species. The WorldView2 satellite has a maximum 50 cm resolution and a water penetrating coastal band in the far-blue part of the spectrum that allows it to see deeper into the water column. Using an image covering 113 km², we identified 55 probable whales and 23 other features that are possibly whales, with a further 13 objects that are only detected by the coastal band. Comparison of a number of classification techniques, to automatically detect whale-like objects, showed that a simple thresholding technique of the panchromatic and coastal band delivered the best results. This is the first successful study using satellite imagery to count whales; a pragmatic, transferable method using this rapidly advancing technology that has major implications for future surveys of cetacean populations. PMID:24533131

  10. Whales from space: counting southern right whales by satellite.

    PubMed

    Fretwell, Peter T; Staniland, Iain J; Forcada, Jaume

    2014-01-01

    We describe a method of identifying and counting whales using very high resolution satellite imagery through the example of southern right whales breeding in part of the Golfo Nuevo, Península Valdés in Argentina. Southern right whales have been extensively hunted over the last 300 years and although numbers have recovered from near extinction in the early 20(th) century, current populations are fragmented and are estimated at only a small fraction of pre-hunting total. Recent extreme right whale calf mortality events at Península Valdés, which constitutes the largest single population, have raised fresh concern for the future of the species. The WorldView2 satellite has a maximum 50 cm resolution and a water penetrating coastal band in the far-blue part of the spectrum that allows it to see deeper into the water column. Using an image covering 113 km², we identified 55 probable whales and 23 other features that are possibly whales, with a further 13 objects that are only detected by the coastal band. Comparison of a number of classification techniques, to automatically detect whale-like objects, showed that a simple thresholding technique of the panchromatic and coastal band delivered the best results. This is the first successful study using satellite imagery to count whales; a pragmatic, transferable method using this rapidly advancing technology that has major implications for future surveys of cetacean populations.

  11. Characteristics of gunshot sound displays by North Atlantic right whales in the Bay of Fundy.

    PubMed

    Parks, Susan E; Hotchkin, Cara F; Cortopassi, Kathryn A; Clark, Christopher W

    2012-04-01

    North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis) produce a loud, broadband signal referred to as the gunshot sound. These distinctive sounds may be suitable for passive acoustic monitoring and detection of right whales; however, little is known about the prevalence of these sounds in important right whale habitats, such as the Bay of Fundy. This study investigates the timing and distribution of gunshot sound production on the summer feeding grounds using an array of five marine acoustic recording units deployed in the Bay of Fundy, Canada in mid-summer 2004 and 2005. Gunshot sounds were common, detected on 37 of 38 recording days. Stereotyped gunshot bouts averaged 1.5 h, with some bouts exceeding 7 h in duration with up to seven individuals producing gunshots at any one time. Bouts were more commonly detected in the late afternoon and evening than during the morning hours. Locations of gunshots in bouts indicated that whales producing the sounds were either stationary or showed directional travel, suggesting gunshots have different communication functions depending on behavioral context. These results indicate that gunshots are a common right whale sound produced during the summer months and are an important component in the acoustic communication system of this endangered species.

  12. A scattering analysis of echoes due to biosonar signals emitted by foraging beaked whales

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jones, Benjamin A.; Stanton, Timothy K.; Lavery, Andone C.; Johnson, Mark P.; Madsen, Peter T.; Tyack, Peter L.

    2005-09-01

    Blainville's beaked whales (Mesoplodon densirostris) hunt their prey by echolocation at depths of more than 500 meters. These whales use a FM upswept, ultrasonic click, of greater than an octave bandwidth to search for, localize, and close on individual prey which generally consist of mesopelagic fishes and squid. It is well known that acoustic scattering from organisms of varying morphology (e.g., swimbladder-bearing or fluidlike) is strongly frequency dependent. However, it is unknown if the broadband nature of the whales' outgoing signal, and the frequency dependence of the echoes, is a key component in the classification and selection of their prey. Non-invasive, acoustic ``Dtags,'' which sample stereo acoustic data at a rate which satisfies the high-frequency Nyquist criterion for the animal's transmit signal, were affixed to beaked whales. The Dtags successfully recorded transmitted signals and associated echoes. Structure was observed in the frequency content of echoes from isolated targets in the water column which may be used for classification by the whales. An analysis of the echoes identified as possibly due to prey has demonstrated that multiple classes of frequency responses are present. These results will be compared with the frequency responses of possible prey types.

  13. Behavioral responses of gray whales to industrial noise: feeding observations and predictive modeling

    SciTech Connect

    Malme, C.I.; Wuersig, B.; Bird, J.E.; Tyack, P.

    1986-08-01

    An investigation was made of the potential effects of underwater noise from petroleum-industry activities on feeding gray whales. The investigation consisted of two components, a field study and an acoustic model study. The field study was performed near Southeast Cape, St. Lawrence Island in August, 1985, using a 100 cu. in. air gun source and playback of drillship noise. Sound-source levels and acoustic-propagation losses were measured to permit estimation of sound exposure levels at whale-sighting positions. For the air-gun source there was a 0.5 probability that the whales would stop feeding and move away from the area when the average pulse levels reached 173 dB.

  14. Investigation of the potential effects of underwater noise from petroleum-industry activities on feeding humpback whale behavior. Final report

    SciTech Connect

    Malme, C.I.; Miles, P.R.; Tyack, P.; Clark, C.W.; Bird, J.E.

    1985-06-01

    An investigation was made of the potential effects of underwater noise from petroleum-industry activities on the behavior of feeding humpback whales in Frederick Sound and Stephens Passage, Alaska in August, 1984. Test sounds were a 100 cu. in. air gun and playbacks of recorded drillship, drilling platform, production platform, semi-submersible drill rig, and helicopter fly-over noise. Sound source levels and acoustic propagation losses were measured. The movement patterns of whales were determined by observations of whale-surfacing positions.

  15. The Origin(s) of Whales

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Uhen, Mark D.

    2010-05-01

    Whales are first found in the fossil record approximately 52.5 million years ago (Mya) during the early Eocene in Indo-Pakistan. Our knowledge of early and middle Eocene whales has increased dramatically during the past three decades to the point where hypotheses of whale origins can be supported with a great deal of evidence from paleontology, anatomy, stratigraphy, and molecular biology. Fossils also provide preserved evidence of behavior and habitats, allowing the reconstruction of the modes of life of these semiaquatic animals during their transition from land to sea. Modern whales originated from ancient whales at or near the Eocene/Oligocene boundary, approximately 33.7 Mya. During the Oligocene, ancient whales coexisted with early baleen whales and early toothed whales. By the end of the Miocene, most modern families had originated, and most archaic forms had gone extinct. Whale diversity peaked in the late middle Miocene and fell thereafter toward the Recent, yielding our depauperate modern whale fauna.

  16. Humpback whale song: A new review

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Frankel, Adam S.

    2003-04-01

    The humpback whale song has been described and investigated since the early 1970s. Much has been learned about the humpback whale social structure, but the understanding of the song and its function remains elusive. The hierarchical nature of the song structure was described early on: Songs can be sung for a long period, apparently by males, and primarily during the mating season. However, singers also become physically competitive, suggesting alternative mating strategies. There are a number of unique structural features of song. Its structure evolves over time and combination. The nature of song evolution strongly implies cultural transmission. Song structure appears to be shared within an entire population, even though there appears to be little interchange of individuals between sub populations. Despite over thirty years of inquiry there are still numerous unanswered questions: Why is the song structure so complex? Is song a sexual advertisement, an acoustic space mediation mechanism, or both? How do females choose mates, or do they? What drives song evolution, and why is there so much variation in the rate of change? Are there nonreproductive functions of song? What prompts a male to begin or end singing? Our current understanding and the outstanding questions yet to be answered will be reviewed.

  17. Rheotaxis guides mammalian sperm

    PubMed Central

    Miki, Kiyoshi; Clapham, David E

    2013-01-01

    Background In sea urchins, spermatozoan motility is altered by chemotactic peptides, giving rise to the assumption that mammalian eggs also emit chemotactic agents that guide spermatozoa through the female reproductive tract to the mature oocyte. Mammalian spermatozoa indeed undergo complex adaptations within the female (the process of capacitation) that are initiated by agents ranging from pH to progesterone, but these factors are not necessarily taxic. Currently, chemotaxis, thermotaxis, and rheotaxis have not been definitively established in mammals. Results Here, we show that positive rheotaxis, the ability of organisms to orient and swim against the flow of surrounding fluid, is a major taxic factor for mouse and human sperm. This flow is generated within 4 hours of sexual stimulation and coitus in female mice; prolactin-triggered oviductal fluid secretion clears the oviduct of debris, lowers viscosity, and generates the stream that guides sperm migration in the oviduct. Rheotaxic movement is demonstrated in capacitated and uncapacitated spermatozoa in low and high viscosity medium. Finally, we show that a unique sperm motion we quantify using the sperm head's rolling rate reflects sperm rotation that generates essential force for positioning the sperm in the stream. Rotation requires CatSper channels, presumably by enabling Ca2+ influx. Conclusions We propose that rheotaxis is a major determinant of sperm guidance over long distances in the mammalian female reproductive tract. Coitus induces fluid flow to guide sperm in the oviduct. Sperm rheotaxis requires rotational motion during CatSper channel-dependent hyperactivated motility. PMID:23453951

  18. Characterizing a Foraging Hotspot for Short-Finned Pilot Whales and Blainville's Beaked Whales Located off the West Side of Hawai'i Island by Using Tagging and Oceanographic Data.

    PubMed

    Abecassis, Melanie; Polovina, Jeffrey; Baird, Robin W; Copeland, Adrienne; Drazen, Jeffrey C; Domokos, Reka; Oleson, Erin; Jia, Yanli; Schorr, Gregory S; Webster, Daniel L; Andrews, Russel D

    2015-01-01

    Satellite tagging data for short-finned pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus) and Blainville's beaked whales (Mesoplodon densirostris) were used to identify core insular foraging regions off the Kona (west) Coast of Hawai'i Island. Ship-based active acoustic surveys and oceanographic model output were used in generalized additive models (GAMs) and mixed models to characterize the oceanography of these regions and to examine relationships between whale density and the environment. The regions of highest density for pilot whales and Blainville's beaked whales were located between the 1000 and 2500 m isobaths and the 250 and 2000 m isobaths, respectively. Both species were associated with slope waters, but given the topography of the area, the horizontal distribution of beaked whales was narrower and located in shallower waters than that of pilot whales. The key oceanographic parameters characterizing the foraging regions were bathymetry, temperature at depth, and a high density of midwater micronekton scattering at 70 kHz in 400-650 m depths that likely represent the island-associated deep mesopelagic boundary community and serve as prey for the prey of the whales. Thus, our results suggest that off the Kona Coast, and potentially around other main Hawaiian Islands, the deep mesopelagic boundary community is key to a food web that supports insular cetacean populations.

  19. Characterizing a Foraging Hotspot for Short-Finned Pilot Whales and Blainville’s Beaked Whales Located off the West Side of Hawai‘i Island by Using Tagging and Oceanographic Data

    PubMed Central

    Abecassis, Melanie; Polovina, Jeffrey; Baird, Robin W.; Copeland, Adrienne; Drazen, Jeffrey C.; Domokos, Reka; Oleson, Erin; Jia, Yanli; Schorr, Gregory S.; Webster, Daniel L.; Andrews, Russel D.

    2015-01-01

    Satellite tagging data for short-finned pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus) and Blainville’s beaked whales (Mesoplodon densirostris) were used to identify core insular foraging regions off the Kona (west) Coast of Hawai‘i Island. Ship-based active acoustic surveys and oceanographic model output were used in generalized additive models (GAMs) and mixed models to characterize the oceanography of these regions and to examine relationships between whale density and the environment. The regions of highest density for pilot whales and Blainville’s beaked whales were located between the 1000 and 2500 m isobaths and the 250 and 2000 m isobaths, respectively. Both species were associated with slope waters, but given the topography of the area, the horizontal distribution of beaked whales was narrower and located in shallower waters than that of pilot whales. The key oceanographic parameters characterizing the foraging regions were bathymetry, temperature at depth, and a high density of midwater micronekton scattering at 70 kHz in 400–650 m depths that likely represent the island-associated deep mesopelagic boundary community and serve as prey for the prey of the whales. Thus, our results suggest that off the Kona Coast, and potentially around other main Hawaiian Islands, the deep mesopelagic boundary community is key to a food web that supports insular cetacean populations. PMID:26605917