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. Tracking sperm whales with a towed acoustic vector sensor.

    PubMed

    Thode, Aaron; Skinner, Jeff; Scott, Pam; Roswell, Jeremy; Straley, Janice; Folkert, Kendall

    2010-11-01

    Passive acoustic towed linear arrays are increasingly used to detect marine mammal sounds during mobile anthropogenic activities. However, these arrays cannot resolve between signals arriving from the port or starboard without vessel course changes or multiple cable deployments, and their performance is degraded by vessel self-noise and non-acoustic mechanical vibration. In principle acoustic vector sensors can resolve these directional ambiguities, as well as flag the presence of non-acoustic contamination, provided that the vibration-sensitive sensors can be successfully integrated into compact tow modules. Here a vector sensor module attached to the end of a 800 m towed array is used to detect and localize 1813 sperm whale "clicks" off the coast of Sitka, AK. Three methods were used to identify frequency regimes relatively free of non-acoustic noise contamination, and then the active intensity (propagating energy) of the signal was computed between 4-10 kHz along three orthogonal directions, providing unambiguous bearing estimates of two sperm whales over time. These bearing estimates are consistent with those obtained via conventional methods, but the standard deviations of the vector sensor bearing estimates are twice those of the conventionally-derived bearings. The resolved ambiguities of the bearings deduced from vessel course changes match the vector sensor predictions. PMID:21110564

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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. PMID:22423725

  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. Observations of potential acoustic cues that attract sperm whales to longline fishing in the Gulf of Alaska.

    PubMed

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

    2007-08-01

    Sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) have learned to remove fish from demersal longline gear deployments off the eastern Gulf of Alaska, and are often observed to arrive at a site after a haul begins, suggesting a response to potential acoustic cues like fishing-gear strum, hydraulic winch tones, and propeller cavitation. Passive acoustic recorders attached to anchorlines have permitted continuous monitoring of the ambient noise environment before and during fishing hauls. Timing and tracking analyses of sperm whale acoustic activity during three encounters indicate that cavitation arising from changes in ship propeller speeds is associated with interruptions in nearby sperm whale dive cycles and changes in acoustically derived positions. This conclusion has been tested by cycling a vessel engine and noting the arrival of whales by the vessel, even when the vessel is not next to fishing gear. No evidence of response from activation of ship hydraulics or fishing gear strum has been found to date. PMID:17672672

  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 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

  11. 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.

  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. 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

  14. 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. PMID:22779498

  15. 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

  16. 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.

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

    PubMed

    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. PMID:15295984

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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. PMID:23363108

  1. 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. PMID:23968042

  2. 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.

  3. Quantitative measures of air-gun pulses recorded on sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) using acoustic tags during controlled exposure experiments.

    PubMed

    Madsen, P T; Johnson, M; Miller, P J O; Aguilar Soto, N; Lynch, J; Tyack, P

    2006-10-01

    The widespread use of powerful, low-frequency air-gun pulses for seismic seabed exploration has raised concern about their potential negative effects on marine wildlife. Here, we quantify the sound exposure levels recorded on acoustic tags attached to eight sperm whales at ranges between 1.4 and 12.6 km from controlled air-gun array sources operated in the Gulf of Mexico. Due to multipath propagation, the animals were exposed to multiple sound pulses during each firing of the array with received levels of analyzed pulses falling between 131-167 dB re. 1 microPa (pp) [111-147 dB re. 1 microPa (rms) and 100-135 dB re. 1 microPa2 s] after compensation for hearing sensitivity using the M-weighting. Received levels varied widely with range and depth of the exposed animal precluding reliable estimation of exposure zones based on simple geometric spreading laws. When whales were close to the surface, the first arrivals of air-gun pulses contained most energy between 0.3 and 3 kHz, a frequency range well beyond the normal frequencies of interest in seismic exploration. Therefore air-gun arrays can generate significant sound energy at frequencies many octaves higher than the frequencies of interest for seismic exploration, which increases concern of the potential impact on odontocetes with poor low frequency hearing. PMID:17069331

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. Sperm whale identification using self-organizing maps

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ioup, Juliette W.; Ioup, George E.

    2001-05-01

    Self-organizing maps (SOMs) are a neural network technique for clustering data with similar features. Sperm whale phonations are among the many sounds that can be heard in the Littoral Acoustic Demonstration Center underwater acoustic data from three bottom-mounted hydrophones in the northern Gulf of Mexico during the summer of 2001. When more than one whale is present, it would be useful to associate particular clicks or click trains with specific whales. SOMs are employed using various features including the time series itself, Fourier transform coefficients, and wavelet transform coefficients. Preliminary results with a relatively small data set will be presented. [Research supported by ONR.

  7. Propagation modeling for sperm whale acoustic clicks in the northern Gulf of Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sidorovskaia, Natalia A.; Udovydchenkov, Ilya A.; Rypina, Irina I.; Ioup, George E.; Ioup, Juliette W.; Caruthers, Jerald W.; Newcomb, Joal; Fisher, Robert

    2001-05-01

    Simulations of acoustic broadband (500-6000 Hz) pulse propagation in the northern Gulf of Mexico, based on environmental data collected as a part of the Littoral Acoustic Demonstration Center (LADC) experiments in the summers of 2001 and 2002, are presented. The results of the modeling support the hypothesis that consistent spectrogram interference patterns observed in the LADC marine mammal phonation data cannot be explained by the propagation effects for temporal analysis windows corresponding to the duration of an animal click, and may be due to a uniqueness of an individual animal phonation apparatus. The utilization of simulation data for the development of an animal tracking algorithm based on the acoustic recordings of a single bottom-moored hydrophone is discussed. The identification of the bottom and surface reflected clicks from the same animal is attempted. The critical ranges for listening to a deep-water forging animal by a surface receiving system are estimated. [Research supported by ONR.

  8. 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. PMID:23087648

  9. 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

  10. Does acoustic testing strand whales?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Frantzis, A.

    1998-03-01

    Mass strandings of live whales have been explained by proposing many `natural' or human-related causes. I found that a recent stranding of Cuvier's beaked whale coincided closely in time and location with military tests of an acoustic system for submarine detection being carried out by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

  11. 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.

  12. 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…

  13. 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

  14. 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. PMID:19425683

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. A Simulation Study of Acoustic-Assisted Tracking of Whales for Mark-Recapture Surveys

    PubMed Central

    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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  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. PMID:16334703

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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). PMID:24063105

  9. 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.

  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 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

  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. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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).

  19. 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.

  20. 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. PMID:10641672

  1. Time patterns of sperm whale codas recorded in the Mediterranean Sea 1985-1996.

    PubMed

    Pavan, G; Hayward, T J; Borsani, J F; Priano, M; Manghi, M; Fossati, C; Gordon, J

    2000-06-01

    A distinctive vocalization of the sperm whale, Physeter macrocephalus (=P. catodon), is the coda: a short click sequence with a distinctive stereotyped time pattern [Watkins and Schevill, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 62, 1485-1490 (1977)]. Coda repertoires have been found to vary both geographically and with group affiliation [Weilgart and Whitehead, Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 40, 277-285 (1997)]. In this work, the click timings and repetition patterns of sperm whale codas recorded in the Mediterranean Sea are characterized statistically, and the context in which the codas occurred are also taken into consideration. A total of 138 codas were recorded in the central Mediterranean in the years 1985-1996 by several research groups using a number of different detection instruments, including stationary and towed hydrophones, sonobuoys and passive sonars. Nearly all (134) of the recorded codas share the same "3+1" (/// /) click pattern. Coda durations ranged from 456 to 1280 ms, with an average duration of 908 ms and a standard deviation of 176 ms. Most of the codas (a total of 117) belonged to 20 coda series. Each series was produced by an individual, in most cases by a mature male in a small group, and consisted of between 2 and 16 codas, emitted in one or more "bursts" of 1 to 13 codas spaced fairly regularly in time. The mean number of codas in a burst was 3.46, and the standard deviation was 2.65. The time interval ratios within a coda are parameterized by the coda duration and by the first two interclick intervals normalized by coda duration. These three parameters remained highly stable within each coda series, with coefficients of variation within the series averaging less than 5%. The interval ratios varied somewhat across the data sets, but were highly stable over 8 of the 11 data sets, which span 11 years and widely dispersed geographic locations. Somewhat different interval ratios were observed in the other three data sets; in one of these data sets, the variant codas

  2. 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. PMID:24116407

  3. 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

  4. 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. PMID:16521791

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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. PMID:23545484

  8. 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. PMID:23827352

  9. Magnetic resonance images of the brain of a dwarf sperm whale (Kogia simus).

    PubMed

    Marino, L; Sudheimer, K; Pabst, D A; McLellan, W A; Johnson, J I

    2003-07-01

    Cetacean (dolphin, whale and porpoise) brains are among the least studied mammalian brains because of the difficulty of collecting and histologically preparing such relatively rare and large specimens. Among cetaceans, there exist relatively few studies of the brain of the dwarf sperm whale (Kogia simus). Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) offers a means of observing the internal structure of the brain when traditional histological procedures are not practical. Therefore, MRI has become a critical tool in the study of the brain of cetaceans and other large species. This paper represents the first MRI-based anatomically labelled three-dimensional description of the dwarf sperm whale brain. Coronal plane sections of the brain of a sub-adult dwarf sperm whale were originally acquired and used to produce virtual digital scans in the other two orthogonal spatial planes. A sequential set of images in all three planes has been anatomically labelled and displays the proportions and positions of major neuroanatomical features. PMID:12892406

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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. PMID:23363092

  13. 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

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

    PubMed Central

    Ivashchenko, Yulia V.; Clapham, Phillip J.

    2015-01-01

    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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. Exposure to seismic survey alters blue whale acoustic communication

    PubMed Central

    Di Iorio, Lucia; Clark, Christopher W.

    2010-01-01

    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

  20. 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.

  1. Passive tracking of multiple diving sperm whales using single hydrophones at two mobile locations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bahl, Rajendar; Nakatani, Takeshi; Ura, Tamaki; Kojima, Junichi; Fukuchi, Tetsuo; Sakata, Masao; Nose, Yoshiaki; Ura, Junya; Mori, Kyoichi; Sugimatsu, Harumi; Yanagisawa, Masao; Suzuki, Hideyuki

    2001-05-01

    A simple method using only two hydrophones, each loosely deployed from separate mobile platforms, has been developed to simultaneously track several vocalizing sperm whales. The separation distance of several hundred meters between the hydrophones implies that a particular whale could present vastly different beam orientations towards them, thus precluding use of any specific relationship between the click signal levels at the two locations for the purpose of whale localization. This method utilizes time-of-arrival of the direct clicks and their surface reflections and matches them at the two hydrophone locations. Whales are segregated on the basis of the set of observed time delays. Click parameters such as interpulse interval and average click frequency are proposed to be used as secondary data for the purpose of track refinement. Depth profile of the whales is obtained independent of the separation distance between the two hydrophones. However, knowledge of the separation distance between the hydrophones provides the 3D coordinates of the whales within a left-right ambiguity. Whale tracks have been obtained using actual data collected off Ogasawara Islands in Japan. These results demonstrate the utility of this method for studying the bioacoustics and behavior of deep diving sperm whales.

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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. PMID:19045770

  6. 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.

  7. 75 FR 81584 - Endangered and Threatened Species; Recovery Plan for the Sperm Whale

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2010-12-28

    ... endangered species under the ESA on December 2, 1970 (35 FR 18319). Sperm whales have a global distribution... comments from the public on July 6, 2006 (71 FR 38385). A summary of comments and NMFS responses to... of extinction in 100 years) and the global population has at least 1,500 mature,...

  8. 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

  9. 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. PMID:20839228

  10. 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. PMID:20596020

  11. 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. PMID:23654416

  12. 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

  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. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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. PMID:21496896

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

    PubMed Central

    Gero, Shane; Gordon, Jonathan; Whitehead, Hal

    2013-01-01

    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. PMID:23740785

  1. 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. PMID:22015469

  2. 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. PMID:23740785

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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%). PMID:25669266

  7. Acoustic detections of singing humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in the eastern North Pacific during their northbound migration.

    PubMed

    Norris, T F; McDonald, M; Barlow, J

    1999-07-01

    Numerous (84) acoustic detections of singing humpback whales were made during a spring (08 March-09 June 1997) research cruise to study sperm whales in the central and eastern North Pacific. Over 15,000 km of track-line was surveyed acoustically using a towed hydrophone array. Additionally, 83 sonobuoys were deployed throughout the study area. Detection rates were greatest in late March, near the Hawaiian Islands, and in early April, northeast of the islands. Only one detection was made after April. Detection rates for sonobuoys were unequal in three equally divided longitudinal regions of the study area. Two high density clusters of detections occurred approximately 1200-2000 km northeast of the Hawaiian Islands and were attributed to a large aggregation of migrating animals. The distribution of these detections corroborates findings of previous studies. It is possible that these animals were maintaining acoustic contact during migration. Two unexpected clusters of singing whales were detected approximately 900 to 1000 km west of central and southern California. The location of these detections may indicate a previously undocumented migration route between an offshore breeding area, such as the Revillagigedo Islands, Mexico, and possible feeding areas in the western North Pacific or Bering Sea. PMID:10420640

  8. 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

  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. PMID:24324782

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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. PMID:24361115

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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. PMID:11325141

  2. 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

  3. 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. PMID:25832816

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  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. 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

  8. 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.

  9. Body fat and condition in sperm whales, Physeter macrocephalus, from southern Australian waters.

    PubMed

    Evans, Karen; Hindell, Mark A; Thiele, Deborah

    2003-04-01

    Blubber thickness (n=102) and lipid content (n=37) were measured in sperm whales from three mass stranding events on the west and north-west coasts of Tasmania, Australia in February 1998. Blubber thickness was highly variable, ranging from 43.0 to 168.0 mm (mean 98.4+/-18.4 mm) while lipid fat content, also highly variable, ranged from 16.19 to 89.34% (mean 49.2+/-17.9%). Blubber thickness was significantly and positively related to total length, but a blubber thickness index based on the residuals of this relationship was not related to age, sex or reproductive condition. No relationship was found between blubber thickness index and blubber lipid content, indicating that blubber thickness may not provide a comprehensive indication of body fat condition in sperm whales when only measured at a single site. Blubber lipid content was not related to total length, age or sex. Blubber lipid content was stratified vertically throughout the blubber layer, suggesting that the inner blubber layer may be a more active site for lipid deposition and mobilisation, while the outer blubber layer may serve in a structural or thermoregulatory role. The social structure and foraging ecology of this species may serve to minimise the need to rely on stored energy reserves to meet reproductive energy requirements. In addition, the broader role of blubber for structural, buoyancy and insulative functions coupled with high individual variability may cause a lack of obvious relationships between these variables and body size, age, sex and reproductive state in this species. PMID:12814793

  10. 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

    2013-01-01

    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

  11. 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. PMID:9857519

  12. 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. PMID:23467177

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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. PMID:22620490

  17. 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. PMID:23968046

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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. PMID:26581104

  1. 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

  2. Detecting sperm whale clicks in the presence of ambient and shipping noise using higher order moments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Larue, James P.; Ioup, George E.; Ioup, Juliette W.

    2001-05-01

    The single-receiver detection of various sources using higher order moments is demonstrated. The data for this study come from the Littoral Acoustic Demonstration Center experiment in the northern Gulf of Mexico in the summer of 2001. Results show that in a time-varying environment it may be more meaningful to use non-normalized statistics (e.g., using the fourth central moment rather than the kurtosis). A whale click is detected over a 35-ms window, i.e., with a sampling rate of 11718 samples per second, 40 samples are used to produce a statistic. In the past, energy and related detectors have been used for the single receiver detection of broadband signals produced by whale clicks. The presence of loud shipping noise, which is also broadband, tends to mask the clicks and make their detection difficult. Using short-time statistics may help mitigate this problem. Analysis with fractal exponents will be shown as well. [Research supported by ONR.

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. Effective beam pattern of the Blainville's beaked whale (Mesoplodon densirostris) and implications for passive acoustic monitoring.

    PubMed

    Shaffer, Jessica Ward; Moretti, David; Jarvis, Susan; Tyack, Peter; Johnson, Mark

    2013-03-01

    The presence of beaked whales in mass-strandings coincident with navy maneuvers has prompted the development of methods to detect these cryptic animals. Blainville's beaked whales, Mesoplodon densirostris, produce distinctive echolocation clicks during long foraging dives making passive acoustic detection a possibility. However, performance of passive acoustic monitoring depends upon the source level, beam pattern, and clicking behavior of the whales. In this study, clicks recorded from Digital acoustic Tags (DTags) attached to four M. densirostris were linked to simultaneous recordings from an 82-hydrophone bottom-mounted array to derive the source level and beam pattern of the clicks, as steps towards estimating their detectability. The mean estimated on-axis apparent source level for the four whales was 201 dBrms97. The mean 3 dB beamwidth and directivity index, estimated from sequences of clicks directed towards the far-field hydrophones, were 13° and 23 dB, respectively. While searching for prey, Blainville's beaked whales scan their heads horizontally at a mean rate of 3.6°/s over an angular range of some +/-10°. Thus, while the DI indicates a narrow beam, the area of ensonification over a complete foraging dive is large given the combined effects of body and head movements associated with foraging. PMID:23464046

  6. 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

  7. 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. PMID:23300613

  8. Concentrations of organochlorines in sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) from Southern Australian waters.

    PubMed

    Evans, Karen; Hindell, Mark; Hince, Greg

    2004-03-01

    Concentrations of DDTs, PCBs and HCHs were measured in sperm whales involved in two mass stranding events on the west coast of Tasmania, Australia in February 1998. DDTs and PCBs were present in all samples analysed, while only three contained HCHs. The relationships between organochlorines, sex, age and reproductive groups were marked by high variability. Differences in organochlorine concentrations were observed between animals from the two stranding sites and discussed in light of the ecology of this species. Concentrations of all pollutants were stratified throughout the vertical aspect of the blubber and possible reasons for and the implications of this are discussed. Concentrations of compounds were higher than those documented in this species in the Southern Hemisphere previously, although were relatively lower than those documented in the Northern Hemisphere. However, comparisons were confounded by spatial and temporal differences. Continued monitoring of marine mammals throughout this region in a co-coordinated, standardized manner is essential for establishing definite temporal and spatial variations in pollutant concentrations. PMID:14980465

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  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. Acoustic detection and satellite-tracking leads to discovery of rare concentration of endangered North Pacific right whales

    PubMed Central

    Wade, Paul; Heide-Jørgensen, Mads Peter; Shelden, Kim; Barlow, Jay; Carretta, James; Durban, John; LeDuc, Rick; Munger, Lisa; Rankin, Shannon; Sauter, Allan; Stinchcomb, Charles

    2006-01-01

    The North Pacific right whale, Eubalaena japonica, is one of the most endangered species of whale in the world. On 10 August 2004, two right whales were located in the Bering Sea using headings to right whale calls provided by directional sonobuoys. A satellite-monitored radio tag attached to one of these whales functioned for 40 days. Over the 40-day period, this whale moved throughout a large part of the southeast Bering Sea shelf, including areas of the outer-shelf where right whales have not been seen in decades. In September, multiple right whales were acoustically located and subsequently sighted by another survey vessel approaching a near-real-time position from the tag. An analysis of photographs confirmed at least 17 individual whales (not including the tagged whales). Genetic analysis of biopsy samples identified 17 individuals: 10 males and 7 females. The discovery of seven females was significant, as only one female had been identified in the past. Genetics also confirmed the presence of at least two calves. Although the future of this population is highly uncertain, the discovery of additional females and calves gives some hope that this most critically endangered of all whale populations may still possess the capacity to recover. PMID:17148419

  15. Acoustic detection and satellite-tracking leads to discovery of rare concentration of endangered North Pacific right whales.

    PubMed

    Wade, Paul; Heide-Jørgensen, Mads Peter; Shelden, Kim; Barlow, Jay; Carretta, James; Durban, John; LeDuc, Rick; Munger, Lisa; Rankin, Shannon; Sauter, Allan; Stinchcomb, Charles

    2006-09-22

    The North Pacific right whale, Eubalaena japonica, is one of the most endangered species of whale in the world. On 10 August 2004, two right whales were located in the Bering Sea using headings to right whale calls provided by directional sonobuoys. A satellite-monitored radio tag attached to one of these whales functioned for 40 days. Over the 40-day period, this whale moved throughout a large part of the southeast Bering Sea shelf, including areas of the outer-shelf where right whales have not been seen in decades. In September, multiple right whales were acoustically located and subsequently sighted by another survey vessel approaching a near-real-time position from the tag. An analysis of photographs confirmed at least 17 individual whales (not including the tagged whales). Genetic analysis of biopsy samples identified 17 individuals: 10 males and 7 females. The discovery of seven females was significant, as only one female had been identified in the past. Genetics also confirmed the presence of at least two calves. Although the future of this population is highly uncertain, the discovery of additional females and calves gives some hope that this most critically endangered of all whale populations may still possess the capacity to recover. PMID:17148419

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  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. 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

  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. PMID:24180759

  5. 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

  6. Changes in humpback whale song occurrence in response to an acoustic source 200 km away.

    PubMed

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

    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. Passive Acoustic Tracking of Singing Humpback Whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) on a Northwest Atlantic Feeding Ground

    PubMed Central

    Stanistreet, Joy E.; Risch, Denise; Van Parijs, Sofie M.

    2013-01-01

    Passive acoustic tracking provides an unobtrusive method of studying the movement of sound-producing animals in the marine environment where traditional tracking methods may be costly or infeasible. We used passive acoustic tracking to characterize the fine-scale movements of singing humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) on a northwest Atlantic feeding ground. Male humpback whales produce complex songs, a phenomenon that is well documented in tropical regions during the winter breeding season, but also occurs at higher latitudes during other times of year. Acoustic recordings were made throughout 2009 using an array of autonomous recording units deployed in the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. Song was recorded during spring and fall, and individual singing whales were localized and tracked throughout the array using a correlation sum estimation method on the time-synchronized recordings. Tracks were constructed for forty-three song sessions, revealing a high level of variation in movement patterns in both the spring and fall seasons, ranging from slow meandering to faster directional movement. Tracks were 30 min to 8 h in duration, and singers traveled distances ranging from 0.9 to 20.1 km. Mean swimming speed was 2.06 km/h (SD 0.95). Patterns and rates of movement indicated that most singers were actively swimming. In one case, two singers were tracked simultaneously, revealing a potential acoustic interaction. Our results provide a first description of the movements of singers on a northwest Atlantic feeding ground, and demonstrate the utility of passive acoustic tracking for studying the fine-scale movements of cetaceans within the behavioral context of their calls. These methods have further applications for conservation and management purposes, particularly by enhancing our ability to estimate cetacean densities using passive acoustic monitoring. PMID:23593447

  8. 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. PMID:23968056

  9. 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

  10. 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. PMID:22880022

  11. 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. PMID:21361425

  12. [Comparison of the structures of different forms of sperm whale myoglobin in solution using wide angle x-ray scattering].

    PubMed

    Dolgikh, D A; Denesiuk, A I; Fedorov, B A; Postnikova, G B

    1980-01-01

    Experimental X-ray diffuse scattering curves in a wide range of angles for oxy-, deoxy-, met- and cyan-forms of sperm whale myoglobin in solution have been obtained. It has been found that scattering indicatrices of these ligand forms of myoglobin are well compatible with each other and differ from the theoretical scattering curve of met-myoglobin, calculated from the structure of this protein in crystal. The conclusions have been drawn: (1) on the similarity of myoglobin structures in solution for all the protein forms studied; (2) on the difference in the structure of the above ligand forms of myoglobin in solution from the structure of the protein in crystal by a slight shift (about 2 A) of the "hairpin" GH. PMID:7189418

  13. 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.}

  14. 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. PMID:23968053

  15. Using Models of Social Transmission to Examine the Spread of Longline Depredation Behavior among Sperm Whales in the Gulf of Alaska

    PubMed Central

    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 (r2 = 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. 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

  17. 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

  18. Killer whales and whaling: the scavenging hypothesis

    PubMed Central

    Whitehead, Hal; Reeves, Randall

    2005-01-01

    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. PMID:17148221

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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. PMID:23786786

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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. PMID:21501697

  12. 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

  13. 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. PMID:24181982

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  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. PMID:18537362

  17. Bowhead whale acoustic activity in the southeast Beaufort Sea during late summer 2008-2010.

    PubMed

    Charif, Russell A; Rahaman, Ashakur; Muirhead, Charles A; Pitzrick, Michael S; Warde, Ann M; Hall, James; Pyć, Cynthia; Clark, Christopher W

    2013-12-01

    Autonomous passive acoustic recorders were deployed to record sounds of bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus) in the southeast Beaufort Sea for periods of 30-55 days during the late summer, open-water seasons of 2008-2010. Recordings were made in three areas licensed for hydrocarbon exploration, spanning the continental slope and adjacent outer shelf, and in a shallow inner-shelf area where bowheads have been observed congregating to feed in recent decades. Bowhead sounds were counted in samples comprising 10% of each recorded hour. In mid-August and September in all 3 years, the rate of bowhead calling at outer shelf sites exceeded that at adjacent continental slope sites by one to two orders of magnitude. Higher rates of calling occurred on the slope in late July and early August than at later dates. Calling rates varied by an order of magnitude between years in the one area that was monitored in different years. The highest rates of calling occurred on the inner shelf, offshore of the northern Tuktoyaktuk Peninsula. These trends are consistent with patterns of habitat use previously reported from aerial surveys in this and nearby areas of the Beaufort Sea and with the results of satellite tagging studies. PMID:25669244

  18. Passive acoustic location of bowhead whales in a population census off Point Barrow, Alaska.

    PubMed

    Cummings, W C; Holliday, D V

    1985-10-01

    A sonobuoy array placed in the nearshore lead was used for locating bowhead whale sounds to determine if whales migrated past census stations beyond visual range and were uncounted. Based on a sample of 182 whale sounds (over 48 h) from closest point of approach (CPA) distances out to more than 10 km, 68% originated beyond 2 km (CPA), where only 1% of the 242 whales were sighted. No whales were sighted beyond 3 km during this time, but 53% of the located sounds originated that far and beyond. Thirty-seven other bowhead sounds over 15 h were distributed out to 6 km. Two tracked whales moved at average speeds of 1.5 and 1.8 kn. Maximum location error was 1%-25% in a sector of 120 degrees X 5-10 km, depending upon bearing and range. Most whale sounds were low-frequency moans, trumpeting roars, and repetitive sequences (songs) with peak spectrum source level up to 189 dB re: 1 microPa, 1 m. Lack of correlations between numbers of sounds and sighted whales precluded using bowhead sounds to count individuals or even to extrapolate ratios of unseen to observed whales. PMID:4056210

  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. 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

  1. 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%.

  2. 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

  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. 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

  6. Automated acoustic localization and call association for vocalizing humpback whales on the Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility.

    PubMed

    Helble, Tyler A; Ierley, Glenn R; D'Spain, Gerald L; Martin, Stephen W

    2015-01-01

    Time difference of arrival (TDOA) methods for acoustically localizing multiple marine mammals have been applied to recorded data from the Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility in order to localize and track humpback whales. Modifications to established methods were necessary in order to simultaneously track multiple animals on the range faster than real-time and in a fully automated way, while minimizing the number of incorrect localizations. The resulting algorithms were run with no human intervention at computational speeds faster than the data recording speed on over forty days of acoustic recordings from the range, spanning multiple years. Spatial localizations based on correlating sequences of units originating from within the range produce estimates having a standard deviation typically 10 m or less (due primarily to TDOA measurement errors), and a bias of 20 m or less (due primarily to sound speed mismatch). An automated method for associating units to individual whales is presented, enabling automated humpback song analyses to be performed. PMID:25618034

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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)

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

    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. PMID:21501697

  16. Solution and crystal structures of a sperm whale myoglobin triple mutant that mimics the sulfide-binding hemoglobin from Lucina pectinata.

    PubMed

    Nguyen, B D; Zhao, X; Vyas, K; La Mar, G N; Lile, R A; Brucker, E A; Phillips, G N; Olson, J S; Wittenberg, J B

    1998-04-17

    The bivalve mollusc Lucina pectinata harbors sulfide-oxidizing chemoautotrophic bacteria and expresses a monomeric hemoglobin I, HbI, with normal O2, but extraordinarily high sulfide affinity. The crystal structure of aquomet Lucina HbI has revealed an active site with three residues not commonly found in vertebrate globins: Phe(B10), Gln(E7), and Phe(E11) (Rizzi, M., Wittenberg, J. B., Coda, A., Fasano, M., Ascenzi, P., and Bolognesi, M. (1994) J. Mol. Biol. 244, 86-89). Engineering these three residues into sperm whale myoglobin results in a triple mutant with approximately 700-fold higher sulfide affinity than for wild-type. The single crystal x-ray structure of the aquomet derivative of the myoglobin triple mutant and the solution 1H NMR active site structures of the cyanomet derivatives of both the myoglobin mutant and Lucina HbI have been determined to examine further the structural origin of their unusually high sulfide affinities. The major differences in the distal pocket is that in the aquomet form the carbonyl of Gln64(E7) serves as a H-bond acceptor, whereas in the cyanomet form the amido group acts as H-bond donor to the bound ligand. Phe68(E11) is rotated approximately 90 degrees about chi2 and located approximately 1-2 A closer to the iron atom in the myoglobin triple mutant relative to its conformation in Lucina HbI. The change in orientation potentially eliminates the stabilizing interaction with sulfide and, together with the decrease in size of the distal pocket, accounts for the 7-fold lower sulfide affinity of the myoglobin mutant compared with that of Lucina HbI. PMID:9545280

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. Assessing responses of humpback whales to North Pacific Acoustic Laboratory (NPAL) transmissions: results of 2001--2003 aerial surveys north of Kauai.

    PubMed

    Mobley, Joseph R

    2005-03-01

    Eight aerial surveys were flown north of the Hawaiian island of Kauai during 2001 when the North Pacific Acoustic Laboratory (NPAL) source was not transmitting, and during 2002 and 2003 when it was. All surveys were performed during the period of peak residency of humpback whales (Feb-Mar). During 2002 and 2003, surveys commenced immediately upon cessation of a 24-h cycle of transmissions. Numbers and distribution of whales observed within 40 km of the NPAL source during 2001 (source off) were compared with those observed during 2002 and 2003 (source on). A total of 75 sightings was noted during 2001, as compared with 81 and 55 during 2002 and 2003, respectively. Differences in sighting rates (sightings/km) across years were not statistically significant. Assessment of distributional changes relied upon comparisons of three measures: (a) location depths; (b) distance from the NPAL source; and (c) distance offshore. None of the distributional comparisons revealed statistically significant differences across years. Several possible interpretations are examined: (a) whales have habituated to the NPAL signal; (b) insufficient statistical power exists in the present design to detect any effects; and (c) the effects are short-lived and become undetectable shortly after the cessation of transmissions. PMID:15810697

  2. 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. PMID:18247780

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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

  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. 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

  11. 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. PMID:15801582

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  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. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. 1H NMR study of the dynamics of the pH modulation of axial coordination in Aplysia limacina (Val(E7)) and sperm whale double mutant His(E7)-->Val,Thr(E10)-->Arg metmyoglobin.

    PubMed

    Qin, J; Pande, U; La Mar, G N; Ascoli, F; Ascenzi, P; Cutruzzolá, F; Travaglini-Allocatelli, C; Brunori, M

    1993-11-15

    The molecular and electronic structure, thermodynamics, dynamics, and mechanism of interconversion of the pH-modulated reversible equilibria of Aplysia limacina metmyoglobin, (metMb), have been investigated by 1H NMR spectroscopy. The four identified species which interconvert slowly on the NMR time scale (lifetime > 1 ms) are metMbOH (B) at alkaline pH, five coordinate metMb (N) at acidic to neutral pH, an acidic form, A, near pH approximately 4 and an extremely low pH form, D, attributed to an equilibrium unfolded species. The presence of strong distal hydrogen bonding by Arg (E10) to bound hydroxide is detected via a significant solvent isotope effect on the metMbOH (B) hyperfine shifts. Integration of the peak intensities yields pK values of 7.7 and approximately 4 for the B<-->N and N<-->A equilibria, respectively. Saturation transfer via chemical exchange is observed for B<-->N and N<-->A, where the rates for forming metMbOH (B) and the acidic form A from N are base- and acid-catalyzed, respectively, while the reverse rates are first-order. The much slower interconversion rate for N<-->B in A. limacina metMb than His(E7) containing mammalian metMb is attributed to the fact that a ligand bond is broken rather than just proton transferred and that the equilibrium involves a major rearrangement of the orientation of Arg(E10). This conclusion is supported by 1H NMR data for the sperm whale double mutant His(E7)-->Val/Thr(E10)-->Arg metMb, which exhibits a pK approximately 8.7 for the equilibrium between five-coordinate metMb (N) and metMbOH (B) with an even slower interconversion rate than in A. limacina metMb. This double mutant metMbOH (B) exhibits hydrogen bonding by Arg (E10) with coordinated hydroxide similar to that in A. limacina metMbOH. The slow but acid-catalyzed rates of conversion of A. limacina metMb (N) to the acid species A with significantly weakened bonding of the heme iron to the axial His(F8) residue is consistent with protonation of an

  2. 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

  3. Killer whales (Orcinus orca) produce ultrasonic whistles.

    PubMed

    Samarra, Filipa I P; Deecke, Volker B; Vinding, Katja; Rasmussen, Marianne H; Swift, René J; Miller, Patrick J O

    2010-11-01

    This study reports that killer whales, the largest dolphin, produce whistles with the highest fundamental frequencies ever reported in a delphinid. Using wide-band acoustic sampling from both animal-attached (Dtag) and remotely deployed hydrophone arrays, ultrasonic whistles were detected in three Northeast Atlantic populations but not in two Northeast Pacific populations. These results are inconsistent with analyses suggesting a correlation of maximum frequency of whistles with body size in delphinids, indicate substantial intraspecific variation in whistle production in killer whales, and highlight the importance of appropriate acoustic sampling techniques when conducting comparative analyses of sound repertoires. PMID:21110527

  4. 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. PMID:23967959

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. Sound production by singing humpback whales.

    PubMed

    Mercado, Eduardo; Schneider, Jennifer N; Pack, Adam A; Herman, Louis M

    2010-04-01

    Sounds from humpback whale songs were analyzed to evaluate possible mechanisms of sound production. Song sounds fell along a continuum with trains of discrete pulses at one end and continuous tonal signals at the other. This graded vocal repertoire is comparable to that seen in false killer whales [Murray et al. (1998). J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 104, 1679-1688] and human singers, indicating that all three species generate sounds by varying the tension of pneumatically driven, vibrating membranes. Patterns in the spectral content of sounds and in nonlinear sound features show that resonating air chambers may also contribute to humpback whale sound production. Collectively, these findings suggest that categorizing individual units within songs into discrete types may obscure how singers modulate song features and illustrate how production-based characterizations of vocalizations can provide new insights into how humpback whales sing. PMID:20370048

  9. 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. PMID:19894806

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. Acoustics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    The acoustics research activities of the DLR fluid-mechanics department (Forschungsbereich Stroemungsmechanik) during 1988 are surveyed and illustrated with extensive diagrams, drawings, graphs, and photographs. Particular attention is given to studies of helicopter rotor noise (high-speed impulsive noise, blade/vortex interaction noise, and main/tail-rotor interaction noise), propeller noise (temperature, angle-of-attack, and nonuniform-flow effects), noise certification, and industrial acoustics (road-vehicle flow noise and airport noise-control installations).

  15. 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.

  16. 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…

  17. 78 FR 13028 - Whaling Provisions; Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling Quotas

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2013-02-26

    ... Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice; notification of quota for bowhead whales. SUMMARY: NMFS notifies the public of the aboriginal subsistence whaling quota for bowhead whales that it has assigned to the... regulations of the International Whaling Commission (IWC). For 2013, the quota is 75 bowhead whales...

  18. 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)

  19. Baird's beaked whale echolocation signals.

    PubMed

    Baumann-Pickering, Simone; Yack, Tina M; Barlow, Jay; Wiggins, Sean M; Hildebrand, John A

    2013-06-01

    Echolocation signals from Baird's beaked whales were recorded during visual and acoustic shipboard surveys of cetaceans in the California Current ecosystem and with autonomous, long-term recorders in the Southern California Bight. The preliminary measurement of the visually validated Baird's beaked whale echolocation signals from towed array data were used as a basis for identifying Baird's signals in the autonomous recorder data. Two distinct signal types were found, one being a beaked whale-like frequency modulated (FM) pulse, the other being a dolphin-like broadband click. The median FM inter-pulse interval was 230 ms. Both signal types showed a consistent multi-peak structure in their spectra with peaks at ~9, 16, 25, and 40 kHz. Depending on signal type, as well as recording aspect and distance to the hydrophone, these peaks varied in relative amplitude. The description of Baird's echolocation signals will allow for studies of their distribution and abundance using towed array data without associated visual sightings and from autonomous seafloor hydrophones. PMID:23742381

  20. 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.

  1. 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. PMID:15085881

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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. PMID:25994686

  5. 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

  6. 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. PMID:22319129

  7. 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.

  8. Localization and visual verification of a complex minke whale vocalization.

    PubMed

    Gedamke, J; Costa, D P; Dunstan, A

    2001-06-01

    A recently described population of minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) offered a unique opportunity to study its acoustic behavior. The often-inquisitive dwarf minke whale is seen on the Great Barrier Reef nearly coincident with its suspected calving and breeding seasons. During drifting encounters with whales, a towed hydrophone array was used to record sounds for subsequent localization of sound sources. Shipboard and in-water observers linked these sounds to the closely circling minke whale. A complex and stereotyped sound sequence, the "star-wars" (SW) vocalization, was recorded during a series of visual and acoustic observations. The SW vocalization spanned a wide frequency range (50 Hz-9.4 kHz) and was composed of distinct and stereotypically repeated units with both amplitude and frequency-modulated components. Broadband source levels between 150 and 165 dB re 1 microPa at 1 m were calculated. Passive acoustic studies can utilize this distinct vocalization to help determine the behavior, distribution, and movements of this animal. While the SW vocalization's function remains unknown, the regularly repeated and complex sound sequence was common in low latitude, winter month aggregations of minke whales. At this early stage, the SW vocalization appears similar to the songs of other whale species and has characteristics consistent with those of reproductive advertisement displays. PMID:11425146

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 75 FR 10223 - Whaling Provisions; Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling Quotas

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2010-03-05

    ... Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice; notification of quota for bowhead whales. SUMMARY: NMFS provides notification of the aboriginal subsistence whaling quota for bowhead whales that it has assigned to the Alaska... Annual Meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC). For 2010, the quota is 75 bowhead...

  15. 77 FR 21540 - Whaling Provisions; Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling Quotas

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2012-04-10

    ... Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice; notification of quota for bowhead whales. SUMMARY: NMFS notifies the public of the aboriginal subsistence whaling quota for bowhead whales that it has assigned to the... quota is 75 bowhead whales struck. This quota and other applicable limitations govern the harvest...

  16. 76 FR 16388 - Whaling Provisions; Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling Quotas

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2011-03-23

    ... Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice; notification of quota for bowhead whales. SUMMARY: NMFS provides notification of the aboriginal subsistence whaling quota for bowhead whales that it has assigned to the Alaska... Annual Meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC). For 2011, the quota is 75 bowhead...

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. Sei whale sounds recorded in the Antarctic.

    PubMed

    McDonald, Mark A; Hildebrand, John A; Wiggins, Sean M; Thiele, Deborah; Glasgow, Deb; Moore, Sue E

    2005-12-01

    Sei whales are the least well known acoustically of all the rorquals, with only two brief descriptions of their calls previously reported. Recordings of low-frequency tonal and frequency swept calls were made near a group of four or five sei whales in waters west of the Antarctic Peninsula on 19 February 2003. These whales also produced broadband sounds which can be described as growls or whooshes. Many of the tonal and frequency swept calls (30 out of 68) consist of multiple parts with a frequency step between the two parts, this being the most unique characteristic of the calls, allowing them to be distinguished from the calls of other whale species. The average duration of the tonal calls is 0.45 +/- 0.3 s and the average frequency is 433 +/- 192 Hz. Using a calibrated seafloor recorder to determine the absolute calibration of a sonobuoy system, the maximum source level of the tonal calls was 156 +/- 3.6 dB re 1 microPa at 1 m. Each call had different character and there was no temporal pattern in the calling. PMID:16419837

  4. Sei whale sounds recorded in the Antarctic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McDonald, Mark A.; Hildebrand, John A.; Wiggins, Sean M.; Thiele, Deborah; Glasgow, Deb; Moore, Sue E.

    2005-12-01

    Sei whales are the least well known acoustically of all the rorquals, with only two brief descriptions of their calls previously reported. Recordings of low-frequency tonal and frequency swept calls were made near a group of four or five sei whales in waters west of the Antarctic Peninsula on 19 February 2003. These whales also produced broadband sounds which can be described as growls or whooshes. Many of the tonal and frequency swept calls (30 out of 68) consist of multiple parts with a frequency step between the two parts, this being the most unique characteristic of the calls, allowing them to be distinguished from the calls of other whale species. The average duration of the tonal calls is 0.45+/-0.3 s and the average frequency is 433+/-192 Hz. Using a calibrated seafloor recorder to determine the absolute calibration of a sonobuoy system, the maximum source level of the tonal calls was 156+/-3.6 dB re 1 μPa at 1 m. Each call had different character and there was no temporal pattern in the calling.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Recurring patterns in the songs of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae).

    PubMed

    Green, Sean R; Mercado, Eduardo; Pack, Adam A; Herman, Louis M

    2011-02-01

    Humpback whales, unlike most mammalian species, learn new songs as adults. Populations of singers progressively and collectively change the sounds and patterns within their songs throughout their lives and across generations. In this study, humpback whale songs recorded in Hawaii from 1985 to 1995 were analyzed using self-organizing maps (SOMs) to classify the sounds within songs, and to identify sound patterns that were present across multiple years. These analyses supported the hypothesis that recurring, persistent patterns exist within whale songs, and that these patterns are defined at least in part by acoustic relationships between adjacent sounds within songs. Sound classification based on acoustic differences between adjacent sounds yielded patterns within songs that were more consistent from year to year than classifications based on the properties of single sounds. Maintenance of fixed ratios of acoustic modulation across sounds, despite large variations in individual sounds, suggests intrinsic constraints on how sounds change within songs. Such acoustically invariant cues may enable whales to recognize and assess variations in songs despite propagation-related distortion of individual sounds and yearly changes in songs. PMID:21215306

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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...

  16. 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

  17. Comparative sensitivity analysis of transmission loss in beaked whale environments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wezensky, Eryn M.; Miller, James H.; Tyce, Robert C.

    2001-05-01

    Scientific literature states that anthropogenic sound, such as mid-frequency sonar, may cause a behavioral response in marine mammals. The degree of response is highly variable and dependent upon many factors, including how sound transmission is influenced by environmental features. The physical parameters of the ocean medium, such as sound speed profile and bathymetry, are important controls of underwater acoustic propagation. Determining the acoustic propagation loss of the ocean environment is an application used to identify and correlate influential environmental factors. This study investigates the sensitivity of acoustic propagation loss based on specific physical characteristics found in five different sites representing beaked whale environments. These sites were chosen with regards to existing data on beaked whale distribution, historical mass stranding records, and presence of mid-frequency sonar activity. A range-independent, ray-tracing acoustic propagation model was used to generate a two-dimensional sound field over a range of 30 km. From the results of this experiment, the acoustic importance of bathymetry and sound speed profile of the five beaked whale environments were identified. Preliminary results from the experimental study will be presented.

  18. Molecular characterization of a novel gammaretrovirus in killer whales (Orcinus orca).

    PubMed

    Lamere, Sarah A; St Leger, Judy A; Schrenzel, Mark D; Anthony, Simon J; Rideout, Bruce A; Salomon, Daniel R

    2009-12-01

    There are currently no published data documenting the presence of retroviruses in cetaceans, though the occurrences of cancers and immunodeficiency states suggest the potential. We examined tissues from adult killer whales and detected a novel gammaretrovirus by degenerate PCR. Reverse transcription-PCR also demonstrated tissue and serum expression of retroviral mRNA. The full-length sequence of the provirus was obtained by PCR, and a TaqMan-based copy number assay did not demonstrate evidence of productive infection. PCR on blood samples from 11 healthy captive killer whales and tissues from 3 free-ranging animals detected the proviral DNA in all tissues examined from all animals. A survey of multiple cetacean species by PCR for gag, pol, and env sequences showed homologs of this virus in the DNA of eight species of delphinids, pygmy and dwarf sperm whales, and harbor porpoises, but not in beluga or fin whales. Analysis of the bottlenose dolphin genome revealed two full-length proviral sequences with 97.4% and 96.9% nucleotide identity to the killer whale gammaretrovirus. The results of single-cell PCR on killer whale sperm and Southern blotting are also consistent with the conclusion that the provirus is endogenous. We suggest that this gammaretrovirus entered the delphinoid ancestor's genome before the divergence of modern dolphins or that an exogenous variant existed following divergence that was ultimately endogenized. However, the transcriptional activity demonstrated in tissues and the nearly intact viral genome suggest a more recent integration into the killer whale genome, favoring the latter hypothesis. The proposed name for this retrovirus is killer whale endogenous retrovirus. PMID:19812152

  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. 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.

  1. Calls of Bryde's whale (Balaenoptera edeni) recorded in the Gulf of California (L).

    PubMed

    Viloria-Gómora, Lorena; Romero-Vivas, Eduardo; Urbán, Jorge R

    2015-11-01

    A total of 109 recordings aiming to identify Bryde's whale calls were collected from the Gulf of California, Mexico, during field trips performed from January 2010 to June 2014. Vocalizations were recorded only when no calves were observed. Four types of calls were identified. Calls similar to the Be4 call type previously reported for the Eastern Tropical Pacific region and South of California were recorded. In addition, three calls, not reported in previous studies of the Bryde's whale, have also been identified. The identification of these calls, which were labeled Be10, Be11, and Be12, enables expansion of the known acoustic repertoire of this species, which is currently poorly documented. The identification of three previously unreported calls and the confidence given by careful visual confirmation of the whale species and number of individuals contribute to make this study a significant contribution toward the acoustic monitoring of Bryde's whale. PMID:26627748

  2. 50 CFR 230.4 - Aboriginal subsistence whaling.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-10-01

    ... whale accompanied by a calf. (d) No whaling captain shall engage in whaling without an adequate crew or... subsistence whaling. (f) No person may sell or offer for sale whale products from whales taken in an... sale. (g) No whaling captain shall continue to whale after: (1) The quota set for his/her village...

  3. 50 CFR 230.4 - Aboriginal subsistence whaling.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-10-01

    ... whale accompanied by a calf. (d) No whaling captain shall engage in whaling without an adequate crew or... subsistence whaling. (f) No person may sell or offer for sale whale products from whales taken in an... sale. (g) No whaling captain shall continue to whale after: (1) The quota set for his/her village...

  4. 50 CFR 230.4 - Aboriginal subsistence whaling.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-10-01

    ... whale accompanied by a calf. (d) No whaling captain shall engage in whaling without an adequate crew or... subsistence whaling. (f) No person may sell or offer for sale whale products from whales taken in an... sale. (g) No whaling captain shall continue to whale after: (1) The quota set for his/her village...

  5. 50 CFR 230.4 - Aboriginal subsistence whaling.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-10-01

    ... whale accompanied by a calf. (d) No whaling captain shall engage in whaling without an adequate crew or... subsistence whaling. (f) No person may sell or offer for sale whale products from whales taken in an... sale. (g) No whaling captain shall continue to whale after: (1) The quota set for his/her village...

  6. 50 CFR 230.4 - Aboriginal subsistence whaling.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-10-01

    ... whale accompanied by a calf. (d) No whaling captain shall engage in whaling without an adequate crew or... subsistence whaling. (f) No person may sell or offer for sale whale products from whales taken in an... sale. (g) No whaling captain shall continue to whale after: (1) The quota set for his/her village...

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  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. PMID:27036251

  10. 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

  11. 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. PMID:17672667

  12. 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)

  13. 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…

  14. 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…

  15. 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.

  16. 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 ...

  17. 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)

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  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. 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

  5. Gamete evolution and sperm numbers: sperm competition versus sperm limitation.

    PubMed

    Parker, Geoff A; Lehtonen, Jussi

    2014-09-22

    Both gamete competition and gamete limitation can generate anisogamy from ancestral isogamy, and both sperm competition (SC) and sperm limitation (SL) can increase sperm numbers. Here, we compare the marginal benefits due to these two components at any given population level of sperm production using the risk and intensity models in sperm economics. We show quite generally for the intensity model (where N males compete for each set of eggs) that however severe the degree of SL, if there is at least one competitor for fertilization (N - 1 ≥ 1), the marginal gains through SC exceed those for SL, provided that the relationship between the probability of fertilization (F) and increasing sperm numbers (x) is a concave function. In the risk model, as fertility F increases from 0 to 1.0, the threshold SC risk (the probability q that two males compete for fertilization) for SC to be the dominant force drops from 1.0 to 0. The gamete competition and gamete limitation theories for the evolution of anisogamy rely on very similar considerations: our results imply that gamete limitation could dominate only if ancestral reproduction took place in highly isolated, small spawning groups. PMID:25100694

  6. Whales from Space: Counting Southern Right Whales by Satellite

    PubMed Central

    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 20th 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

  7. 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

  8. Calling under pressure: short-finned pilot whales make social calls during deep foraging dives

    PubMed Central

    Jensen, Frants H.; Perez, Jacobo Marrero; Johnson, Mark; Soto, Natacha Aguilar; Madsen, Peter T.

    2011-01-01

    Toothed whales rely on sound to echolocate prey and communicate with conspecifics, but little is known about how extreme pressure affects pneumatic sound production in deep-diving species with a limited air supply. The short-finned pilot whale (Globicephala macrorhynchus) is a highly social species among the deep-diving toothed whales, in which individuals socialize at the surface but leave their social group in pursuit of prey at depths of up to 1000 m. To investigate if these animals communicate acoustically at depth and test whether hydrostatic pressure affects communication signals, acoustic DTAGs logging sound, depth and orientation were attached to 12 pilot whales. Tagged whales produced tonal calls during deep foraging dives at depths of up to 800 m. Mean call output and duration decreased with depth despite the increased distance to conspecifics at the surface. This shows that the energy content of calls is lower at depths where lungs are collapsed and where the air volume available for sound generation is limited by ambient pressure. Frequency content was unaffected, providing a possible cue for group or species identification of diving whales. Social calls may be important to maintain social ties for foraging animals, but may be impacted adversely by vessel noise. PMID:21345867

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Whales Localization Using a Large Hydrophone Array: Performance Relative to Cramer-Rao Bounds and Confidence Regions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Caudal, Frédéric; Glotin, Hervé

    This paper provides a real-time passive underwater acoustic method to track multiple emitting whales using four or more omni-directional widely-spaced bottom-mounted hydrophones and to evaluate the performance of the system via the Cramér-Rao Lower Bound (CRLB) and Monte Carlo simulations. After a non-parametric Teager-Kaiser-Mallat signal filtering, rough Time Delays Of Arrival are calculated, selected and filtered, and used to estimate the positions of whales for a linear sound speed profile. The complete algorithm is tested on real data from the NUWC and the AUTEC. The CRLB and Monte Carlo simulations are computed and compared with the tracking results. Our model is validated by similar results from the US Navy and Hawaii univ labs in the case of one whale, and by similar whales counting from the Columbia univ. ROSA lab in the case of multiple whales.

  12. Low-frequency vocalizations of sei whales (Balaenoptera borealis) in the Southern Ocean.

    PubMed

    Calderan, Susannah; Miller, Brian; Collins, Kym; Ensor, Paul; Double, Michael; Leaper, Russell; Barlow, Jay

    2014-12-01

    Simultaneous sightings and acoustic detections of sei whales (Balaenoptera borealis) are scarce, and there are few published data describing their vocalizations. Analysis of recordings from directional frequency analysis and recording sonobuoys in the presence of sei whales in the Southern Ocean in March 2013 identified both downsweep and upsweep calls. Sound frequencies within all calls were between 34 and 87 Hz with an average call duration of 1.1 s. These very low-frequency sounds share characteristics with sei whale calls recorded near the Hawaiian Islands and off Cape Cod in winter and summer, respectively, but are the first documented sei whale calls in the Southern Ocean that are clearly less than 100 Hz. PMID:25480092

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  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. 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.

  18. The effect of depth on the target strength of a humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae).

    PubMed

    Bernasconi, M; Patel, R; Nøttestad, L; Pedersen, G; Brierley, A S

    2013-12-01

    Marine mammals are very seldom detected and tracked acoustically at different depths. The air contained in body cavities, such as lungs or swimbladders, has a significant effect on the acoustic energy backscattered from whale and fish species. Target strength data were obtained while a humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) swam at the surface and dove underneath a research vessel, providing valuable multi-frequency echosounder recordings of its scattering characteristics from near surface to a depth of about 240 m. Increasing depth dramatically influenced the backscattered energy coming from the large cetacean. This study is tightly linked to the ultimate goal of developing an automated whale detection system for mitigation purposes. PMID:25669243

  19. Whole-lung resonance in a bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) and white whale (Delphinapterus leucas).

    PubMed

    Finneran, James J

    2003-07-01

    An acoustic backscatter technique was used to estimate in vivo whole-lung resonant frequencies in a bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) and white whale (Delphinapterus leucas). Subjects were trained to submerge and position themselves near an underwater sound projector and a receiving hydrophone. Acoustic pressure measurements were made near the thorax while the subject was insonified with pure tones at frequencies from 16 to 100 Hz. Whole-lung resonant frequencies were estimated by comparing pressures measured near the subject's thorax to those measured from the same location without the subject present. Experimentally measured resonant frequencies for the white whale and dolphin lungs were 30 and 36 Hz, respectively. These values were significantly higher than those predicted using a free-spherical air bubble model. Experimentally measured damping ratios and quality factors at resonance were 0.20 and 2.5, respectively, for the white whale, and 0.16 and 3.1, respectively, for the dolphin. PMID:12880064

  20. 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

  1. 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. PMID:26605917

  2. Target Strength of Southern Resident Killer Whales (Orcinus orca): Measurement and Modeling

    SciTech Connect

    Xu, Jinshan; Deng, Zhiqun; Carlson, Thomas J.; Moore, Brian

    2012-04-04

    A major criterion for tidal power licensing in Washington’s Puget Sound is the management of the risk of injury to killer whales due to collision with moving turbine blades. An active monitoring system is being proposed for killer whale detection, tracking, and alerting that links to and triggers temporary turbine shutdown when there is risk of collision. Target strength (TS) modeling of the killer whale is critical to the design and application of any active monitoring system. A 1996 study performed a high-resolution measurement of acoustic reflectivity as a function of frequency of a female bottlenose dolphin (2.2 m length) at broadside aspect and TS as a function of incident angle at 67 kHz frequency. Assuming that killer whales share similar morphology structure with the bottlenose dolphin, we extrapolated the TS of an adult killer whale 7.5 m in length at 67 kHz frequency with -8 dB at broadside aspect and -28 dB at tail side. The backscattering data from three Southern Resident killer whales were analyzed to obtain the TS measurement. These data were collected at Lime Kiln State Park using a split-beam system deployed from a boat. The TS of the killer whale at higher frequency (200 kHz) was estimated based on a three-layer model for plane wave reflection from the lung of the whale. The TS data of killer whales were in good agreement with our model. In this paper, we also discuss and explain possible causes for measurement estimation error.

  3. 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

  4. Directional frequency and recording (DIFAR) sensors in seafloor recorders to locate calling bowhead whales during their fall migration

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Greene, Charles R.; McLennan, Miles Wm.; Norman, Robert G.; McDonald, Trent L.; Jakubczak, Ray S.; Richardson, W. John

    2004-08-01

    Bowhead whales, Balaena mysticetus, migrate west during fall ~10-75 km off the north coast of Alaska, passing the petroleum developments around Prudhoe Bay. Oil production operations on an artificial island 5 km offshore create sounds heard by some whales. As part of an effort to assess whether migrating whales deflect farther offshore at times with high industrial noise, an acoustical approach was selected for localizing calling whales. The technique incorporated DIFAR (directional frequency and recording) sonobuoy techniques. An array of 11 DASARs (directional autonomous seafloor acoustic recorders) was built and installed with unit-to-unit separation of 5 km. When two or more DASARs detected the same call, the whale location was determined from the bearing intersections. This article describes the acoustic methods used to determine the locations of the calling bowhead whales and shows the types and precision of the data acquired. Calibration transmissions at GPS-measured times and locations provided measures of the individual DASAR clock drift and directional orientation. The standard error of the bearing measurements at distances of 3-4 km was ~1.35° after corrections for gain imbalance in the two directional sensors. During 23 days in 2002, 10 587 bowhead calls were detected and 8383 were localized.

  5. Directional frequency and recording (DIFAR) sensors in seafloor recorders to locate calling bowhead whales during their fall migration.

    PubMed

    Greene, Charles R; McLennan, Miles Wm; Norman, Robert G; McDonald, Trent L; Jakubczak, Ray S; Richardson, W John

    2004-08-01

    Bowhead whales, Balaena mysticetus, migrate west during fall approximately 10-75 km off the north coast of Alaska, passing the petroleum developments around Prudhoe Bay. Oil production operations on an artificial island 5 km offshore create sounds heard by some whales. As part of an effort to assess whether migrating whales deflect farther offshore at times with high industrial noise, an acoustical approach was selected for localizing calling whales. The technique incorporated DIFAR (directional frequency and recording) sonobuoy techniques. An array of 11 DASARs (directional autonomous seafloor acoustic recorders) was built and installed with unit-to-unit separation of 5 km. When two or more DASARs detected the same call, the whale location was determined from the bearing intersections. This article describes the acoustic methods used to determine the locations of the calling bowhead whales and shows the types and precision of the data acquired. Calibration transmissions at GPS-measured times and locations provided measures of the individual DASAR clock drift and directional orientation. The standard error of the bearing measurements at distances of 3-4 km was approximately 1.35 degrees after corrections for gain imbalance in the two directional sensors. During 23 days in 2002, 10,587 bowhead calls were detected and 8383 were localized. PMID:15376646

  6. Affects of Changes in Sea Ice Cover on Bowhead Whales and Subsistence Whaling in the Western Arctic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moore, S.; Suydam, R.; Overland, J.; Laidre, K.; George, J.; Demaster, D.

    2004-12-01

    Committee of the International Whaling Commission. Research plans include biopsy sampling and subsequent genetic analyses, long-term acoustic detection and satellite tracking of whales in selected portions of their range coupled with community-based management of the subsistence harvest. This research, in concert with extension of oceanographic observing capabilities, promises to elucidate underlying forcing mechanisms key to the changing high-Arctic marine ecosystem.

  7. Hippopotamus and whale phylogeny.

    PubMed

    Geisler, Jonathan H; Theodor, Jessica M

    2009-03-19

    Thewissen et al. describe new fossils from India that apparently support a phylogeny that places Cetacea (that is, whales, dolphins, porpoises) as the sister group to the extinct family Raoellidae, and Hippopotamidae as more closely related to pigs and peccaries (that is, Suina) than to cetaceans. However, our reanalysis of a modified version of the data set they used differs in retaining molecular characters and demonstrates that Hippopotamidae is the closest extant family to Cetacea and that raoellids are the closest extinct group, consistent with previous phylogenetic studies. This topology supports the view that the aquatic adaptations in hippopotamids and cetaceans are inherited from their common ancestor. PMID:19295550

  8. Patterns of male reproductive success in a highly promiscuous whale species: the endangered North Atlantic right whale.

    PubMed

    Frasier, T R; Hamilton, P K; Brown, M W; Conger, L A; Knowlton, A R; Marx, M K; Slay, C K; Kraus, S D; White, B N

    2007-12-01

    Parentage analyses of baleen whales are rare, and although mating systems have been hypothesized for some species, little data on realized male reproductive success are available and the patterns of male reproductive success have remained elusive for most species. Here we combine over 20 years of photo-identification data with high-resolution genetic data for the majority of individual North Atlantic right whales to assess paternity in this endangered species. There was significant skew in male reproductive success compared to what would be expected if mating was random (P < 0.001). The difference was due to an excess of males assigned zero paternities, a deficiency of males assigned one paternity, and an excess of males assigned as fathers for multiple calves. The variance in male reproductive success was high relative to other aquatically mating marine mammals, but was low relative to mammals where the mating system is based on resource- and/or mate-defence polygyny. These results are consistent with previous data suggesting that the right whale mating system represents one of the most intense examples of sperm competition in mammals, but that sperm competition on its own does not allow for the same degree of polygyny as systems where males can control access to resources and/or mates. The age distribution of assigned fathers was significantly biased towards older males (P < 0.05), with males not obtaining their first paternity until approximately 15 years of age, which is almost twice the average age of first fertilization in females (8 years), suggesting that mate competition is preventing younger males from reproducing. The uneven distribution of paternities results in a lower effective population size in this species that already has one of the lowest reported levels of genetic diversity, which may further inhibit reproductive success through mate incompatibility of genetically similar individuals. PMID:17971086

  9. Temporal segregation of the Australian and Antarctic blue whale call types (Balaenoptera musculus spp.)

    PubMed Central

    Tripovich, Joy S.; Klinck, Holger; Nieukirk, Sharon L.; Adams, Tempe; Mellinger, David K.; Balcazar, Naysa E.; Klinck, Karolin; Hall, Evelyn J. S.; Rogers, Tracey L.

    2015-01-01

    We examined recordings from a 15-month (May 2009–July 2010) continuous acoustic data set collected from a bottom-mounted passive acoustic recorder at a sample frequency of 6kHz off Portland, Victoria, Australia (38°33′01″S, 141°15′13″E) off southern Australia. Analysis revealed that calls from both subspecies were recorded at this site, and general additive modeling revealed that the number of calls varied significantly across seasons. Antarctic blue whales were detected more frequently from July to October 2009 and June to July 2010, corresponding to the suspected breeding season, while Australian blue whales were recorded more frequently from March to June 2010, coinciding with the feeding season. In both subspecies, the number of calls varied with time of day; Antarctic blue whale calls were more prevalent in the night to early morning, while Australian blue whale calls were detected more often from midday to early evening. Using passive acoustic monitoring, we show that each subspecies adopts different seasonal and daily call patterns which may be related to the ecological strategies of these subspecies. This study demonstrates the importance of passive acoustics in enabling us to understand and monitor subtle differences in the behavior and ecology of cryptic sympatric marine mammals. PMID:26937046

  10. Potential Bryde's whale (Balaenoptera edeni) calls recorded in the northern Gulf of Mexico.

    PubMed

    Rice, Aaron N; Palmer, K J; Tielens, Jamey T; Muirhead, Charles A; Clark, Christopher W

    2014-05-01

    Several marine autonomous recording units (MARUs) were deployed in northeastern Gulf of Mexico from 2010–2012 to study the acoustic ecology of Bryde's whales (Balaenoptera edeni) following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. However, the acoustic repertoire of this sub-population is poorly documented, presently limiting the efficacy of acoustic monitoring applications. Numerous stereotyped, low-frequency signals from a putative biological sound source were found throughout the recordings. Sounds fell into three categories distinguished by spectral and temporal properties. Multiple calls overlapped temporally on individual MARUs, suggesting that multiple sources produced these sounds. The basic features are similar to those from other mysticetes, but they differ from any previously published sounds. Since Bryde's whales are the most common mysticete in the Gulf and have previously been observed within the recording area on multiple occasions, it is likely that Bryde's whales are the most probable source of these sounds. These results potentially identify a suite of previously undocumented calls from Bryde's whales, which could facilitate future passive acoustic monitoring efforts to better understand the population dynamics and status of this sub-population. PMID:24926502

  11. A whale of a problem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Showstack, Randy

    While the Makah Indian tribe recently killed a gray whale off the coast of the U.S. state of Washington, and Japan and Norway have threatened to bolt from the International Whaling Commission (IWC) over disagreements about commercial catches, on May 26, the U.S. commissioner to the IWC told delegates about another, and far more widespread, threat affecting cetaceans.Global environmental changes could jeopardize whale stocks throughout the world, said Commissioner James Baker, who also serves as administrator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

  12. Frequency synchronization of blue whale calls near Pioneer Seamount.

    PubMed

    Hoffman, Michael D; Garfield, Newell; Bland, Roger W

    2010-07-01

    Vocalizations of blue whales were recorded with a cabled hydrophone array at Pioneer Seamount, 50 miles off the California coast. Most calls occurred in repeated sequences of two-call pairs (A, then B). The B call is a frequency-modulated tone highly repeatable in form and pitch. A model of this sound is described which permits detecting very small frequency shifts. B calls are found to be aligned in frequency to about one part in 180. This requires very fine pitch discrimination and control over calling frequency, and suggests that synchronizing to a common frequency pattern carries some adaptive advantage. Some possibilities for acoustic sensing by whales requiring this fine frequency resolution are discussed. PMID:20649243

  13. Sperm Patch-Clamp

    PubMed Central

    Lishko, Polina; Clapham, David E.; Navarro, Betsy; Kirichok, Yuriy

    2014-01-01

    Sperm intracellular pH and calcium concentration ([Ca2+]i) are two central factors that control sperm activity within the female reproductive tract. As such, the ion channels of the sperm plasma membrane that alter intracellular sperm [Ca2+] and pH play important roles in sperm physiology and the process of fertilization. Indeed, sperm ion channels regulate sperm motility, control sperm chemotaxis toward the egg in some species, and may trigger the acrosome reaction. Until recently, our understanding of these important molecules was rudimentary due to the inability to patch-clamp spermatozoa and directly record the activity of these ion channels under voltage clamp. Recently, we overcame this technical barrier and developed a method for reproducible application of the patch-clamp technique to mouse and human spermatozoa. This chapter covers important aspects of application of the patch-clamp technique to spermatozoa, such as selection of the electrophysiological equipment, isolation of spermatozoa for patch-clamp experiments, formation of the gigaohm seal with spermatozoa, and transition into the whole-cell mode of recording. We also discuss potential pitfalls in application of the patch-clamp technique to flagellar ion channels. PMID:23522465

  14. Spatial variability in zooplankton abundance near feeding right whales in the Great South Channel

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Beardsley, Robert C.; Epstein, Ari W.; Chen, Changsheng; Wishner, Karen F.; Macaulay, Michael C.; Kenney, Robert D.

    On 3 June 1989, during SCOPEX'89, two right whales were observed to be feeding close to the surface at separate sites in the Great South Channel of the Gulf of Maine. The R.V. Marlin deployed and monitored a radio tag on one whale, and underway measurements were made near each whale from the R.V. Endeavor to investigate the small-scale spatial structure of water properties and zooplankton abundance in the upper water column near the whales. These measurements included two CTD tow-yos, zooplankton sampling with a MOCNESS, continuous vertical profiling of currents with a 150-kHz ADCP, and continuous vertical profiling of zooplankton concentration with a towed acoustic profiler operating at 120 and 200 kHz. The whales were feeding on a relatively homogeneous mixture of primarily two stages (copepodite IV and V) of a single copepod species ( Calanus finmarchicus), which was most abundant in the upper 10-20 m of the water column above the seasonal pycnocline. Descriptions of the spatial structure of copepod abundance in patches traversed by the whales were developed based on MOCNESS samples, acoustic backscatter, and light transmission. In particular, a high correlation was found between MOCNESS biomass measurements and certain 200-kHz acoustic biomass estimates, which enabled the acoustic data to be interpreted solely in terms of copepod abundance. Acoustic measurements made in a copepod patch while closely following one whale indicated mean and peak copepod biomasses of 6.0 and 28.4 g m -3 (corresponding to mean and peak concentrations of 8.7 × 10 3 and 4.1 × 10 4) copepods m -3 in the 4-10 m depth band, where the whale was probably feeding. With a mean energy content of 10 -3 kcal copepod -1, that whale's mean energy intake rate was 3.8 × 10 4 kcal h -1. The whale was observed to reverse course and turn back into the patch when it swam into a region of lower copepod abundance, with biomass less than roughly 1-3 g m -3 or 1.5-4.5 × 10 3 copepods m -3. This

  15. Minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) boings detected at the Station ALOHA Cabled Observatory.

    PubMed

    Oswald, Julie N; Au, Whitlow W L; Duennebier, Fred

    2011-05-01

    Minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) in the tropical North Pacific are elusive and difficult to detect visually. The recent association of a unique sound called the "boing" to North Pacific minke whales has made it possible to use passive acoustics to investigate the occurrence of this species in Hawaiian waters. One year of recordings (17 February 2007-18 February 2008) made at the Station ALOHA Cabled Observatory were examined to investigate the characteristics of boings and temporal patterns in their occurrence at this site, located 100 km north of Oahu. Characteristics of boings exhibited low variability. Pulse repetition rate and duration measurements matched those for "central" or "Hawaii" boing types. Boings were detected from October until May, with a peak in March. Although no boings were detected from June to September, the absence of boings does not necessarily indicate the absence of minke whales. Significant diel variation in boing rate was not observed. The absence of a diel pattern in boing production suggests that day- or night-time acoustic surveys are equally acceptable methods for studying minke whale occurrence. Future research should include efforts to determine what other sounds are produced by minke whales in this area, and which age/sex classes produce boings. PMID:21568435

  16. Whale contribution to long time series of low-frequency oceanic ambient sound

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Andrew, Rex K.; Howe, Bruce M.; Mercer, James A.

    2002-05-01

    It has long been known that baleen (mainly blue and fin) whale vocalizations are a component of oceanic ambient sound. Urick reports that the famous ``20-cycle pulses'' were observed even from the first Navy hydrophone installations in the early 1950's. As part of the Acoustic Thermometry Ocean Climate (ATOC) and the North Pacific Acoustic Laboratory (NPAL) programs, more than 6 years of nearly continuous ambient sound data have been collected from Sound Surveillance System (SOSUS) sites in the northeast Pacific. These records now show that the average level of the ambient sound has risen by as much as 10 dB since the 1960's. Although much of this increase is probably attributable to manmade sources, the whale call component is still prominent. The data also show that the whale signal is clearly seasonal: in coherent averages of year-long records, the whale call signal is the only feature that stands out, making strong and repeatable patterns as the whale population migrates past the hydrophone systems. This prominent and sometimes dominant component of ambient sound has perhaps not been fully appreciated in current ambient noise models. [Work supported by ONR.

  17. First indications that northern bottlenose whales are sensitive to behavioural disturbance from anthropogenic noise.

    PubMed

    Miller, P J O; Kvadsheim, P H; Lam, F P A; Tyack, P L; Curé, C; DeRuiter, S L; Kleivane, L; Sivle, L D; van IJsselmuide, S P; Visser, F; Wensveen, P J; von Benda-Beckmann, A M; Martín López, L M; Narazaki, T; Hooker, S K

    2015-06-01

    Although northern bottlenose whales were the most heavily hunted beaked whale, we have little information about this species in its remote habitat of the North Atlantic Ocean. Underwater anthropogenic noise and disruption of their natural habitat may be major threats, given the sensitivity of other beaked whales to such noise disturbance. We attached dataloggers to 13 northern bottlenose whales and compared their natural sounds and movements to those of one individual exposed to escalating levels of 1-2 kHz upsweep naval sonar signals. At a received sound pressure level (SPL) of 98 dB re 1 μPa, the whale turned to approach the sound source, but at a received SPL of 107 dB re 1 μPa, the whale began moving in an unusually straight course and then made a near 180° turn away from the source, and performed the longest and deepest dive (94 min, 2339 m) recorded for this species. Animal movement parameters differed significantly from baseline for more than 7 h until the tag fell off 33-36 km away. No clicks were emitted during the response period, indicating cessation of normal echolocation-based foraging. A sharp decline in both acoustic and visual detections of conspecifics after exposure suggests other whales in the area responded similarly. Though more data are needed, our results indicate high sensitivity of this species to acoustic disturbance, with consequent risk from marine industrialization and naval activity. PMID:26543576

  18. First indications that northern bottlenose whales are sensitive to behavioural disturbance from anthropogenic noise

    PubMed Central

    Miller, P. J. O.; Kvadsheim, P. H.; Lam, F. P. A.; Tyack, P. L.; Curé, C.; DeRuiter, S. L.; Kleivane, L.; Sivle, L. D.; van IJsselmuide, S. P.; Visser, F.; Wensveen, P. J.; von Benda-Beckmann, A. M.; Martín López, L. M.; Narazaki, T.; Hooker, S. K.

    2015-01-01

    Although northern bottlenose whales were the most heavily hunted beaked whale, we have little information about this species in its remote habitat of the North Atlantic Ocean. Underwater anthropogenic noise and disruption of their natural habitat may be major threats, given the sensitivity of other beaked whales to such noise disturbance. We attached dataloggers to 13 northern bottlenose whales and compared their natural sounds and movements to those of one individual exposed to escalating levels of 1–2 kHz upsweep naval sonar signals. At a received sound pressure level (SPL) of 98 dB re 1 μPa, the whale turned to approach the sound source, but at a received SPL of 107 dB re 1 μPa, the whale began moving in an unusually straight course and then made a near 180° turn away from the source, and performed the longest and deepest dive (94 min, 2339 m) recorded for this species. Animal movement parameters differed significantly from baseline for more than 7 h until the tag fell off 33–36 km away. No clicks were emitted during the response period, indicating cessation of normal echolocation-based foraging. A sharp decline in both acoustic and visual detections of conspecifics after exposure suggests other whales in the area responded similarly. Though more data are needed, our results indicate high sensitivity of this species to acoustic disturbance, with consequent risk from marine industrialization and naval activity. PMID:26543576

  19. Methods for tracking multiple marine mammals with wide-baseline passive acoustic arrays.

    PubMed

    Nosal, Eva-Marie

    2013-09-01

    Most methods used to track marine mammals with passive acoustics require that time differences of arrivals (TDOAs) are established and are associated between hydrophone pairs. Consequently, multiple animal trackers commonly apply single-animal TDOA localization methods after performing a call separation and/or TDOA association step. When a wide-baseline array is used with multiple animals that make similar calls with short inter-call-intervals, the separation/association step can be challenging and potentially rejects valid TDOAs. This paper extends a model-based TDOA method to deal with multiple-animal datasets in a way that does not require a TDOA association step; animals are separated based on position. Advantageously, false TDOAs (e.g., a direct path associated with a multipath arrival) do not need to be removed. An analogous development is also presented for a model-based time of arrival tracking method. Results from simulations and application to a multiple sperm whale dataset are used to illustrate the multiple-animal methods. Although computationally more demanding than most track-after-association methods because separation is performed in a higher-dimensional space, the methods are computationally tractable and represent a useful new tool in the suite of options available for tracking multiple animals with passive acoustics. PMID:23968035

  20. Estimating historical eastern North Pacific blue whale catches using spatial calling patterns.

    PubMed

    Monnahan, Cole C; Branch, Trevor A; Stafford, Kathleen M; Ivashchenko, Yulia V; Oleson, Erin M

    2014-01-01

    Blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) were exploited extensively around the world and remain endangered. In the North Pacific their population structure is unclear and current status unknown, with the exception of a well-studied eastern North Pacific (ENP) population. Despite existing abundance estimates for the ENP population, it is difficult to estimate pre-exploitation abundance levels and gauge their recovery because historical catches of the ENP population are difficult to separate from catches of other populations in the North Pacific. We collated previously unreported Soviet catches and combined these with known catches to form the most current estimates of North Pacific blue whale catches. We split these conflated catches using recorded acoustic calls from throughout the North Pacific, the knowledge that the ENP population produces a different call than blue whales in the western North Pacific (WNP). The catches were split by estimating spatiotemporal occurrence of blue whales with generalized additive models fitted to acoustic call patterns, which predict the probability a catch belonged to the ENP population based on the proportion of calls of each population recorded by latitude, longitude, and month. When applied to the conflated historical catches, which totaled 9,773, we estimate that ENP blue whale catches totaled 3,411 (95% range 2,593 to 4,114) from 1905-1971, and amounted to 35% (95% range 27% to 42%) of all catches in the North Pacific. Thus most catches in the North Pacific were for WNP blue whales, totaling 6,362 (95% range 5,659 to 7,180). The uncertainty in the acoustic data influence the results substantially more than uncertainty in catch locations and dates, but the results are fairly insensitive to the ecological assumptions made in the analysis. The results of this study provide information for future studies investigating the recovery of these populations and the impact of continuing and future sources of anthropogenic mortality. PMID

  1. Estimating Historical Eastern North Pacific Blue Whale Catches Using Spatial Calling Patterns

    PubMed Central

    Monnahan, Cole C.; Branch, Trevor A.; Stafford, Kathleen M.; Ivashchenko, Yulia V.; Oleson, Erin M.

    2014-01-01

    Blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) were exploited extensively around the world and remain endangered. In the North Pacific their population structure is unclear and current status unknown, with the exception of a well-studied eastern North Pacific (ENP) population. Despite existing abundance estimates for the ENP population, it is difficult to estimate pre-exploitation abundance levels and gauge their recovery because historical catches of the ENP population are difficult to separate from catches of other populations in the North Pacific. We collated previously unreported Soviet catches and combined these with known catches to form the most current estimates of North Pacific blue whale catches. We split these conflated catches using recorded acoustic calls from throughout the North Pacific, the knowledge that the ENP population produces a different call than blue whales in the western North Pacific (WNP). The catches were split by estimating spatiotemporal occurrence of blue whales with generalized additive models fitted to acoustic call patterns, which predict the probability a catch belonged to the ENP population based on the proportion of calls of each population recorded by latitude, longitude, and month. When applied to the conflated historical catches, which totaled 9,773, we estimate that ENP blue whale catches totaled 3,411 (95% range 2,593 to 4,114) from 1905–1971, and amounted to 35% (95% range 27% to 42%) of all catches in the North Pacific. Thus most catches in the North Pacific were for WNP blue whales, totaling 6,362 (95% range 5,659 to 7,180). The uncertainty in the acoustic data influence the results substantially more than uncertainty in catch locations and dates, but the results are fairly insensitive to the ecological assumptions made in the analysis. The results of this study provide information for future studies investigating the recovery of these populations and the impact of continuing and future sources of anthropogenic mortality. PMID

  2. Counting whales in a challenging, changing environment.

    PubMed

    Williams, R; Kelly, N; Boebel, O; Friedlaender, A S; Herr, H; Kock, K-H; Lehnert, L S; Maksym, T; Roberts, J; Scheidat, M; Siebert, U; Brierley, A S

    2014-01-01

    Estimating abundance of Antarctic minke whales is central to the International Whaling Commission's conservation and management work and understanding impacts of climate change on polar marine ecosystems. Detecting abundance trends is problematic, in part because minke whales are frequently sighted within Antarctic sea ice where navigational safety concerns prevent ships from surveying. Using icebreaker-supported helicopters, we conducted aerial surveys across a gradient of ice conditions to estimate minke whale density in the Weddell Sea. The surveys revealed substantial numbers of whales inside the sea ice. The Antarctic summer sea ice is undergoing rapid regional change in annual extent, distribution, and length of ice-covered season. These trends, along with substantial interannual variability in ice conditions, affect the proportion of whales available to be counted by traditional shipboard surveys. The strong association between whales and the dynamic, changing sea ice requires reexamination of the power to detect trends in whale abundance or predict ecosystem responses to climate change. PMID:24622821

  3. Counting whales in a challenging, changing environment

    PubMed Central

    Williams, R.; Kelly, N.; Boebel, O.; Friedlaender, A. S.; Herr, H.; Kock, K.-H.; Lehnert, L. S.; Maksym, T.; Roberts, J.; Scheidat, M.; Siebert, U.; Brierley, A. S.

    2014-01-01

    Estimating abundance of Antarctic minke whales is central to the International Whaling Commission's conservation and management work and understanding impacts of climate change on polar marine ecosystems. Detecting abundance trends is problematic, in part because minke whales are frequently sighted within Antarctic sea ice where navigational safety concerns prevent ships from surveying. Using icebreaker-supported helicopters, we conducted aerial surveys across a gradient of ice conditions to estimate minke whale density in the Weddell Sea. The surveys revealed substantial numbers of whales inside the sea ice. The Antarctic summer sea ice is undergoing rapid regional change in annual extent, distribution, and length of ice-covered season. These trends, along with substantial interannual variability in ice conditions, affect the proportion of whales available to be counted by traditional shipboard surveys. The strong association between whales and the dynamic, changing sea ice requires reexamination of the power to detect trends in whale abundance or predict ecosystem responses to climate change. PMID:24622821

  4. Techniques development for whale migration tracking

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Goodman, R. M.; Norris, K. S.; Gibson, R. J.; Gentry, R.; Dougherty, E.; Hobbs, L.

    1973-01-01

    Effort leading to the completion of development and fabrication of expansible whale harnesses and whale-carried instrument pods is described, along with details of the gear. Early preparative effort for a January-February 1974 field expedition is reported.

  5. Supporters of sperm

    PubMed Central

    Løvlie, Hanne

    2014-01-01

    The Biology of Spermatozoa (BoS) meetings have run on a biannual basis since the early 1990s. They are dedicated to the fascinating research topic of sperm and their complicated route to fertilization. The BoS meetings focus on sperm, but they also explore additional supporting factors important in fertilization, such as those present in seminal and ovarian fluid, as well as the genomic bases of sperm biology. Here, I present a report of the recent BoS meeting, and showcase some of the highlights of this year’s meeting. PMID:25225623

  6. Sound production patterns from humpback whales in a high latitude foraging area

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stimpert, Alison K.; Wiley, David N.; Barton, Kira L.; Johnson, Mark P.; Lammers, Marc O.; Au, Whitlow W. L.

    2005-09-01

    Numerous studies have been conducted on humpback whale song, but substantially fewer have focused on the acoustic properties of non-song sound production (i.e., feeding and social sounds). Non-invasive digital acoustic recording tags (DTAGS) were attached to humpback whales on the western North Atlantics Great South Channel feeding grounds during July 2004. Acoustic records totaling 48.4 data hours from four of these attachments were aurally analyzed for temporal trends in whale signal production. A custom automatic detection function was also used to identify occurrences of specific signals and evaluate their temporal consistency. Patterns in sound usage varied by stage of foraging dive and by time of day. Amount of time with signals present was greater at the bottom of dives than during surface periods, indicating that sounds are probably related to foraging at depth. For the two tags that recorded at night, signals were present during a greater proportion of daylight hours than night hours. These results will be compared with previously published trends describing diel patterns in male humpback whale song chorusing on the breeding grounds. Data from the continuation of this research during the summer of 2005 will also be included.

  7. Blue-Whale Calls Detected at the Pioneer Seamount Underwater Observatory

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hoffman, M. D.; Vuosalo, C. O.; Bland, R. W.; Garfield, N.

    2002-12-01

    In September of 2001 a cabled vertical linear array (VLA) of hydrophones was deployed on Pioneer Seamount, 90 km off the California coast near Half Moon Bay, by the NOAA-PMEL and University of Washington-APL. The array of 4 hydrophones is at a depth of 950 m, and the four signals are digitized at the shore end of the cable at 1000 Hz. The data are archived by PMEL, and are available to the public over the internet. Spectrograms of all of the data are accessible on the SFSU web site. A large number of blue-whale calls are evident in the spectrograms. We have employed spectrogram correlation [Mellinger 2000] and a matched-filter detection scheme [Stafford 1998] to automatically identify these whale calls in three months of data. Results on the frequency of calls and their variability will be presented. Mellinger, David K., and Christopher W. Clark [2000], "Recognizing transient low-frequency whale sounds by spectrogram correlation," J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 107 (3518). Stafford, Kathleen M., Christopher G. Fox, and Davis S. Clark [1998], "Long-range acoustic detection and localization of blue whale calls in the northeast Pacific Ocean," J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 104 (3616).

  8. Building Whales in Sand and Mind.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Warner, Carolyn

    1980-01-01

    Describes two-week summer workshops on evolution, adaptation, and behavior of whales, conducted for children by Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum (New York), and culminating in creation of life-size sand sculptures of whales. Provides selected list of periodicals, teaching materials, identification guides, records, and societies devoted to whales…

  9. Whaling: will the Phoenix rise again?

    PubMed

    Holt, Sidney J

    2007-08-01

    It is argued that Japan's authorities and entrepreneurs involved in whaling and the whale-meat trade have a long-term goal of rebuilding a large and profitable industry of pelagic whaling, particularly in the Southern Hemisphere, in the next 20 years or so. They have made large investments in this enterprise since the so-called moratorium on commercial whaling was adopted by the International Whaling Commission in 1982. These include, but are not confined to, state subsidizing of an expanding and diversifying 20-year programme of commercial whaling under provisions in all relevant international agreements since 1937 that permit unlimited and unilaterally decreed whaling, supposedly for scientific purposes, provided that the commodities from the whales killed are fully utilized. The context of this is the monopoly of technical knowledge, special skills and the market for valuable whale-meat that Japanese enterprises acquired in the post-world war II period, having broken - in 1937 - the strongly defended de facto Anglo-Norwegian monopoly of technology, skills, access to Antarctic whaling grounds and the market for whale-oil that had existed until then. The attraction of 'scientific whaling' is not only that it by-passes any internationally agreed catch-limits but that it also circumvents all other rules - many dating fr/om the League of Nations whaling convention of 1931 - regarding protected species, closed areas, killing of juveniles, less inhumane killing methods, etc. The groundwork is being laid to justify that resumed whaling on partially recovered whale stocks will be at the unsustainable levels that will be profitable again. This justification is based on spurious assertions that numerous and hungry whales threaten the world's fisheries, and that the abundance and possible increase in some whale species is impeding the recovery of other, severely depleted, and potentially more valuable species such as the blue whale. If the scenario presented here is correct

  10. Endo- and ectoparasites of large whales (Cetartiodactyla: Balaenopteridae, Physeteridae): Overcoming difficulties in obtaining appropriate samples by non- and minimally-invasive methods

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

    Baleen and sperm whales, belonging to the Order Cetartiodactyla, are the largest and heaviest existent mammals in the world, collectively known as large whales. Large whales have been subjected to a variety of conservation means, which could be better monitored and managed if physiological and pathophysiological information, such as pathogen infections, could already be gathered from free-swimming animals instead of carcasses. Parasitic diseases are increasingly recognized for their profound influences on individual, population, and even ecosystem health. Furthermore, a number of parasite species have gained importance as opportunistic neozoan infections in the marine environment. Nonetheless, traditional approaches to study parasitic diseases have been impractical for large whales, since there is no current routine method for the capture and handling of these large animals and there is presently no practical method to obtain blood samples remotely from free-ranging whales. Therefore, we here not only intend to review the endo- and ectoparasite fauna of large whales but also to provide new insights in current available methods for gathering parasitological data by using non- or minimally invasive sampling techniques. We focus on methods, which will allow detailed parasitological studies to gain a broader knowledge on parasitoses affecting wild, free-swimming large whale populations. PMID:26835249

  11. Endo- and ectoparasites of large whales (Cetartiodactyla: Balaenopteridae, Physeteridae): Overcoming difficulties in obtaining appropriate samples by non- and minimally-invasive methods.

    PubMed

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

    2015-12-01

    Baleen and sperm whales, belonging to the Order Cetartiodactyla, are the largest and heaviest existent mammals in the world, collectively known as large whales. Large whales have been subjected to a variety of conservation means, which could be better monitored and managed if physiological and pathophysiological information, such as pathogen infections, could already be gathered from free-swimming animals instead of carcasses. Parasitic diseases are increasingly recognized for their profound influences on individual, population, and even ecosystem health. Furthermore, a number of parasite species have gained importance as opportunistic neozoan infections in the marine environment. Nonetheless, traditional approaches to study parasitic diseases have been impractical for large whales, since there is no current routine method for the capture and handling of these large animals and there is presently no practical method to obtain blood samples remotely from free-ranging whales. Therefore, we here not only intend to review the endo- and ectoparasite fauna of large whales but also to provide new insights in current available methods for gathering parasitological data by using non- or minimally invasive sampling techniques. We focus on methods, which will allow detailed parasitological studies to gain a broader knowledge on parasitoses affecting wild, free-swimming large whale populations. PMID:26835249

  12. Sperm release pathway

    MedlinePlus Videos and Cool Tools

    ... top of the seminiferous tubules in the testes is the epididymis. The sperm migrate from of the ... vesicle are added. From the ampulla, seminal fluid is propelled forward through the ejaculatory ducts toward the ...

  13. Sperm release pathway

    MedlinePlus Videos and Cool Tools

    ... stored in this structure. The ejaculation process begins as the penis fills with blood and becomes erect. ... travel from the epididymis through the vas deferens, a muscular tube, which propels sperm forward through smooth ...

  14. The world's smallest whale population?

    PubMed

    Wade, Paul R; Kennedy, Amy; LeDuc, Rick; Barlow, Jay; Carretta, Jim; Shelden, Kim; Perryman, Wayne; Pitman, Robert; Robertson, Kelly; Rone, Brenda; Salinas, Juan Carlos; Zerbini, Alexandre; Brownell, Robert L; Clapham, Phillip J

    2011-02-23

    The North Pacific right whale (Eubalaena japonica) was heavily exploited by both nineteenth century whaling and recent (1960s) illegal Soviet catches. Today, the species remains extremely rare especially in the eastern North Pacific. Here, we use photographic and genotype data to calculate the first mark-recapture estimates of abundance for right whales in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands. The estimates were very similar: photographic = 31 (95% CL 23-54), genotyping = 28 (95% CL 24-42). We also estimated the population contains eight females (95% CL 7-18) and 20 males (95% CL 17-37). Although these estimates may relate to a Bering Sea subpopulation, other data suggest that the total eastern North Pacific population is unlikely to be much larger. Its precarious status today-the world's smallest whale population for which an abundance estimate exists-is a direct consequence of uncontrolled and illegal whaling, and highlights the past failure of international management to prevent such abuses. PMID:20591853

  15. The world's smallest whale population?

    PubMed Central

    Wade, Paul R.; Kennedy, Amy; LeDuc, Rick; Barlow, Jay; Carretta, Jim; Shelden, Kim; Perryman, Wayne; Pitman, Robert; Robertson, Kelly; Rone, Brenda; Salinas, Juan Carlos; Zerbini, Alexandre; Brownell, Robert L.; Clapham, Phillip J.

    2011-01-01

    The North Pacific right whale (Eubalaena japonica) was heavily exploited by both nineteenth century whaling and recent (1960s) illegal Soviet catches. Today, the species remains extremely rare especially in the eastern North Pacific. Here, we use photographic and genotype data to calculate the first mark–recapture estimates of abundance for right whales in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands. The estimates were very similar: photographic = 31 (95% CL 23–54), genotyping = 28 (95% CL 24–42). We also estimated the population contains eight females (95% CL 7–18) and 20 males (95% CL 17–37). Although these estimates may relate to a Bering Sea subpopulation, other data suggest that the total eastern North Pacific population is unlikely to be much larger. Its precarious status today—the world's smallest whale population for which an abundance estimate exists—is a direct consequence of uncontrolled and illegal whaling, and highlights the past failure of international management to prevent such abuses. PMID:20591853

  16. Sperm studies in anesthesiologists

    SciTech Connect

    Wyrobek, A.J.; Brodsky, J.; Gordon, l.; Moore, D.H., II; Watchmaker, G.; Cohen, E.N.

    1981-11-01

    Semen samples were collected from 46 anesthesiologists each of whom had worked a minimum of one year in hospital operating rooms ventilated with modern gas-scavenging devices. Samples collected from 26 beginning residents in anesthesiology served as controls. Concentrations of sperm and percentage of sperm having abnormal head shapes were determined for each sample. No significant differences were found between anesthesiologists and beginning residents. Limiting the analyses to men having no confounding factors (varicocele, recent illness, medications, heavy smoking, frequent sauna use) did not change the results. The sperm concentration and morphology in 13 men did not change signficantly after one year of exposure to anesthetic gases. However, the group of men who had one or more confounding factors (excluding exposure to anesthetic gases) showed significantly higher percentages of sperm abnormalities than did the group of men without such factors. These results suggest that limited exposure to anesthetic gases does not significantly affect sperm production as judged by changes in sperm concentration and morphology. These data are reassuring, but since the hospitals surveyed used modern gas-scavenging devices, men who are occupationally exposed to anesthetic gases without this protection should be studied for fuller assessment of the possible human spermatotoxic effects.

  17. Offshore killer whale tracking using multiple hydrophone arrays.

    PubMed

    Gassmann, Martin; Henderson, E Elizabeth; Wiggins, Sean M; Roch, Marie A; Hildebrand, John A

    2013-11-01

    To study delphinid near surface movements and behavior, two L-shaped hydrophone arrays and one vertical hydrophone line array were deployed at shallow depths (<125 m) from the floating instrument platform R/P FLIP, moored northwest of San Clemente Island in the Southern California Bight. A three-dimensional propagation-model based passive acoustic tracking method was developed and used to track a group of five offshore killer whales (Orcinus orca) using their emitted clicks. In addition, killer whale pulsed calls and high-frequency modulated (HFM) signals were localized using other standard techniques. Based on these tracks sound source levels for the killer whales were estimated. The peak to peak source levels for echolocation clicks vary between 170-205 dB re 1 μPa @ 1 m, for HFM calls between 185-193 dB re 1 μPa @ 1 m, and for pulsed calls between 146-158 dB re 1 μPa @ 1 m. PMID:24180762

  18. Blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) sounds from the North Atlantic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mellinger, David K.; Clark, Christopher W.

    2003-08-01

    Sounds of blue whales were recorded from U.S. Navy hydrophone arrays in the North Atlantic. The most common signals were long, patterned sequences of very-low-frequency sounds in the 15-20 Hz band. Sounds within a sequence were hierarchically organized into phrases consisting of one or two different sound types. Sequences were typically composed of two-part phrases repeated every 73 s: a constant-frequency tonal ``A'' part lasting approximately 8 s, followed 5 s later by a frequency-modulated ``B'' part lasting approximately 11 s. A common sequence variant consisted only of repetitions of part A. Sequences were separated by silent periods averaging just over four minutes. Two other sound types are described: a 2-5 s tone at 9 Hz, and a 5-7s inflected tone that swept up in frequency to ca. 70 Hz and then rapidly down to 25 Hz. The general characteristics of repeated sequences of simple combinations of long-duration, very-low-frequency sound units repeated every 1-2 min are typical of blue whale sounds recorded in other parts of the world. However, the specific frequency, duration, and repetition interval features of these North Atlantic sounds are different than those reported from other regions, lending further support to the notion that geographically separate blue whale populations have distinctive acoustic displays.

  19. Divergence of a stereotyped call in northern resident killer whales.

    PubMed

    Grebner, Dawn M; Parks, Susan E; Bradley, David L; Miksis-Olds, Jennifer L; Capone, Dean E; Ford, John K B

    2011-02-01

    Northern resident killer whale pods (Orcinus orca) have distinctive stereotyped pulsed call repertoires that can be used to distinguish groups acoustically. Repertoires are generally stable, with the same call types comprising the repertoire of a given pod over a period of years to decades. Previous studies have shown that some discrete pulsed calls can be subdivided into variants or subtypes. This study suggests that new stereotyped calls may result from the gradual modification of existing call types through subtypes. Vocalizations of individuals and small groups of killer whales were collected using a bottom-mounted hydrophone array in Johnstone Strait, British Columbia in 2006 and 2007. Discriminant analysis of slope variations of a predominant call type, N4, revealed the presence of four distinct call subtypes. Similar to previous studies, there was a divergence of the N4 call between members of different matrilines of the same pod. However, this study reveals that individual killer whales produced multiple subtypes of the N4 call, indicating that divergence in the N4 call is not the result of individual differences, but rather may indicate the gradual evolution of a new stereotyped call. PMID:21361462

  20. Repertoire and classification of non-song calls in Southeast Alaskan humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae).

    PubMed

    Fournet, Michelle E; Szabo, Andy; Mellinger, David K

    2015-01-01

    On low-latitude breeding grounds, humpback whales produce complex and highly stereotyped songs as well as a range of non-song sounds associated with breeding behaviors. While on their Southeast Alaskan foraging grounds, humpback whales produce a range of previously unclassified non-song vocalizations. This study investigates the vocal repertoire of Southeast Alaskan humpback whales from a sample of 299 non-song vocalizations collected over a 3-month period on foraging grounds in Frederick Sound, Southeast Alaska. Three classification systems were used, including aural spectrogram analysis, statistical cluster analysis, and discriminant function analysis, to describe and classify vocalizations. A hierarchical acoustic structure was identified; vocalizations were classified into 16 individual call types nested within four vocal classes. The combined classification method shows promise for identifying variability in call stereotypy between vocal groupings and is recommended for future classification of broad vocal repertoires. PMID:25618033

  1. 50 CFR 230.5 - Licenses for aboriginal subsistence whaling.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-10-01

    ... whaling. 230.5 Section 230.5 Wildlife and Fisheries NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE, NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE WHALING WHALING PROVISIONS § 230.5 Licenses for aboriginal subsistence whaling. (a) A license is hereby issued to whaling captains identified by the...

  2. 50 CFR 230.5 - Licenses for aboriginal subsistence whaling.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-10-01

    ... whaling. 230.5 Section 230.5 Wildlife and Fisheries NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE, NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE WHALING WHALING PROVISIONS § 230.5 Licenses for aboriginal subsistence whaling. (a) A license is hereby issued to whaling captains identified by the...

  3. 50 CFR 230.5 - Licenses for aboriginal subsistence whaling.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-10-01

    ... whaling. 230.5 Section 230.5 Wildlife and Fisheries NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE, NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE WHALING WHALING PROVISIONS § 230.5 Licenses for aboriginal subsistence whaling. (a) A license is hereby issued to whaling captains identified by the...

  4. 50 CFR 230.5 - Licenses for aboriginal subsistence whaling.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-10-01

    ... whaling. 230.5 Section 230.5 Wildlife and Fisheries NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE, NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE WHALING WHALING PROVISIONS § 230.5 Licenses for aboriginal subsistence whaling. (a) A license is hereby issued to whaling captains identified by the...

  5. Investigations of the potential effects of underwater noise from petroleum-industry activities on migrating gray-whale behavior. Phase 2: January 1984 migration

    SciTech Connect

    Malme, C.I.; Miles, P.R.; Clark, C.W.; Tyack, P.; Bird, J.E.

    1984-08-01

    The study supplements work performed during 1983 in the Monterey, California region in determining the degree of behavioral response of migrating gray whales to acoustic stimuli associated with oil and gas exploration and development activities. A computer-implemented trackline program analyzed the theodolite data for any possible changes in distance from shore, speed, linearity of track, orientation toward the sound source, and course heading of the whale group. A history of marine seismic exploration off California was compiled that showed no long-term relationship with growth rates in the gray whale population.

  6. Blue whale population structure along the eastern South Pacific Ocean: evidence of more than one population.

    PubMed

    Torres-Florez, J P; Hucke-Gaete, R; LeDuc, R; Lang, A; Taylor, B; Pimper, L E; Bedriñana-Romano, L; Rosenbaum, H C; Figueroa, C C

    2014-12-01

    Blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) were among the most intensively exploited species of whales in the world. As a consequence of this intense exploitation, blue whale sightings off the coast of Chile were uncommon by the end of the 20th century. In 2004, a feeding and nursing ground was reported in southern Chile (SCh). With the aim to investigate the genetic identity and relationship of these Chilean blue whales to those in other Southern Hemisphere areas, 60 biopsy samples were collected from blue whales in SCh between 2003 and 2009. These samples were genotyped at seven microsatellite loci and the mitochondrial control region was sequenced, allowing us to identify 52 individuals. To investigate the genetic identity of this suspected remnant population, we compared these 52 individuals to blue whales from Antarctica (ANT, n = 96), Northern Chile (NCh, n = 19) and the eastern tropical Pacific (ETP, n = 31). No significant differentiation in haplotype frequencies (mtDNA) or among genotypes (nDNA) was found between SCh, NCh and ETP, while significant differences were found between those three areas and Antarctica for both the mitochondrial and microsatellite analyses. Our results suggest at least two breeding population units or subspecies exist, which is also supported by other lines of evidence such as morphometrics and acoustics. The lack of differences detected between SCh/NCh/ETP areas supports the hypothesis that eastern South Pacific blue whales are using the ETP area as a possible breeding area. Considering the small population sizes previously reported for the SCh area, additional conservation measures and monitoring of this population should be developed and prioritized. PMID:25492593

  7. Male sperm storage compromises sperm motility in guppies

    PubMed Central

    Gasparini, Clelia; Kelley, Jennifer L.; Evans, Jonathan P.

    2014-01-01

    Sperm senescence can have important evolutionary implications due to its deleterious effects on sperm quality and offspring performance. Consequently, it has been argued that polyandry (female multiple mating) may facilitate the selection of younger, and therefore competitively superior, sperm when ejaculates from multiple males compete for fertilization. Surprisingly, however, unequivocal evidence that sperm ageing influences traits that underlie sperm competitiveness is lacking. Here, we used a paired experimental design that compares sperm quality between ‘old’ and ‘young’ ejaculates from individual male guppies (Poecilia reticulata). We show that older sperm exhibit significant reductions in sperm velocity compared with younger sperm from the same males. We found no evidence that the brightness of the male's orange (carotenoid) spots, which are thought to signal resistance to oxidative stress (and thus age-related declines in sperm fitness), signals a male's ability to withstand the deleterious effects of sperm ageing. Instead, polyandry may be a more effective strategy for females to minimize the likelihood of being fertilized by aged sperm. PMID:25392314

  8. Male sperm storage compromises sperm motility in guppies.

    PubMed

    Gasparini, Clelia; Kelley, Jennifer L; Evans, Jonathan P

    2014-11-01

    Sperm senescence can have important evolutionary implications due to its deleterious effects on sperm quality and offspring performance. Consequently, it has been argued that polyandry (female multiple mating) may facilitate the selection of younger, and therefore competitively superior, sperm when ejaculates from multiple males compete for fertilization. Surprisingly, however, unequivocal evidence that sperm ageing influences traits that underlie sperm competitiveness is lacking. Here, we used a paired experimental design that compares sperm quality between 'old' and 'young' ejaculates from individual male guppies (Poecilia reticulata). We show that older sperm exhibit significant reductions in sperm velocity compared with younger sperm from the same males. We found no evidence that the brightness of the male's orange (carotenoid) spots, which are thought to signal resistance to oxidative stress (and thus age-related declines in sperm fitness), signals a male's ability to withstand the deleterious effects of sperm ageing. Instead, polyandry may be a more effective strategy for females to minimize the likelihood of being fertilized by aged sperm. PMID:25392314

  9. Sperm Motility in Flow

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Guasto, Jeffrey; Juarez, Gabriel; Stocker, Roman

    2012-11-01

    A wide variety of plants and animals reproduce sexually by releasing motile sperm that seek out a conspecific egg, for example in the reproductive tract for mammals or in the water column for externally fertilizing organisms. Sperm are aided in their quest by chemical cues, but must also contend with hydrodynamic forces, resulting from laminar flows in reproductive tracts or turbulence in aquatic habitats. To understand how velocity gradients affect motility, we subjected swimming sperm to a range of highly-controlled straining flows using a cross-flow microfluidic device. The motion of the cell body and flagellum were captured through high-speed video microscopy. The effects of flow on swimming are twofold. For moderate velocity gradients, flow simply advects and reorients cells, quenching their ability to cross streamlines. For high velocity gradients, fluid stresses hinder the internal bending of the flagellum, directly inhibiting motility. The transition between the two regimes is governed by the Sperm number, which compares the external viscous stresses with the internal elastic stresses. Ultimately, unraveling the role of flow in sperm motility will lead to a better understanding of population dynamics among aquatic organisms and infertility problems in humans.

  10. Disturbance-specific social responses in long-finned pilot whales, Globicephala melas

    PubMed Central

    Visser, Fleur; Curé, Charlotte; Kvadsheim, Petter H.; Lam, Frans-Peter A.; Tyack, Peter L.; Miller, Patrick J. O.

    2016-01-01

    Social interactions among animals can influence their response to disturbance. We investigated responses of long-finned pilot whales to killer whale sound playbacks and two anthropogenic sources of disturbance: tagging effort and naval sonar exposure. The acoustic scene and diving behaviour of tagged individuals were recorded along with the social behaviour of their groups. All three disturbance types resulted in larger group sizes, increasing social cohesion during disturbance. However, the nature and magnitude of other responses differed between disturbance types. Tagging effort resulted in a clear increase in synchrony and a tendency to reduce surface logging and to become silent (21% of cases), whereas pilot whales increased surface resting during sonar exposure. Killer whale sounds elicited increased calling rates and the aggregation of multiple groups, which approached the sound source together. This behaviour appears to represent a mobbing response, a likely adaptive social defence against predators or competitors. All observed response-tactics would reduce risk of loss of group coordination, suggesting that, in social pilot whales, this could drive behavioural responses to disturbance. However, the behavioural means used to achieve social coordination depends upon other considerations, which are disturbance-specific. PMID:27353529

  11. Evidence of a Lombard response in migrating humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae).

    PubMed

    Dunlop, Rebecca A; Cato, Douglas H; Noad, Michael J

    2014-07-01

    The Lombard reflex is an increase in the subject's vocal levels in response to increased noise levels. This functions to maintain an adequate signal-to-noise ratio at the position of the receiver when noise levels vary. While it has been demonstrated in a small number of mammals and birds including some whales, it has not yet been shown to occur in one of the most vocal species of baleen whale, the humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae). Humpback whales were simultaneously visually and acoustically tracked (using an array of calibrated hydrophone buoys) as they migrated southward. Source levels of social vocalizations were estimated from measured received levels and a site-specific empirical sound propagation model developed. In total, 226 social vocalizations from 16 passing groups of whales were selected for final analysis. Noise levels were predominantly wind-dependent (from sea surface motion) and ranged from 81 to 108 dB re 1 μPa in the 36 Hz-2.8 kHz band. Vocalization source levels increased by 0.9 dB for every 1 dB increase in wind-dependent background noise levels, with source levels (at 1 m) being maintained ∼60 dB above the noise level. PMID:24993227

  12. Disturbance-specific social responses in long-finned pilot whales, Globicephala melas.

    PubMed

    Visser, Fleur; Curé, Charlotte; Kvadsheim, Petter H; Lam, Frans-Peter A; Tyack, Peter L; Miller, Patrick J O

    2016-01-01

    Social interactions among animals can influence their response to disturbance. We investigated responses of long-finned pilot whales to killer whale sound playbacks and two anthropogenic sources of disturbance: tagging effort and naval sonar exposure. The acoustic scene and diving behaviour of tagged individuals were recorded along with the social behaviour of their groups. All three disturbance types resulted in larger group sizes, increasing social cohesion during disturbance. However, the nature and magnitude of other responses differed between disturbance types. Tagging effort resulted in a clear increase in synchrony and a tendency to reduce surface logging and to become silent (21% of cases), whereas pilot whales increased surface resting during sonar exposure. Killer whale sounds elicited increased calling rates and the aggregation of multiple groups, which approached the sound source together. This behaviour appears to represent a mobbing response, a likely adaptive social defence against predators or competitors. All observed response-tactics would reduce risk of loss of group coordination, suggesting that, in social pilot whales, this could drive behavioural responses to disturbance. However, the behavioural means used to achieve social coordination depends upon other considerations, which are disturbance-specific. PMID:27353529

  13. Synchronous seasonal change in fin whale song in the North Pacific.

    PubMed

    Oleson, Erin M; Širović, Ana; Bayless, Alexandra R; Hildebrand, John A

    2014-01-01

    Fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) song consists of down-swept pulses arranged into stereotypic sequences that can be characterized according to the interval between successive pulses. As in blue (B. musculus) and humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), these song sequences may be geographically distinct and may correlate with population boundaries in some regions. We measured inter-pulse intervals of fin whale songs within year-round acoustic datasets collected between 2000 and 2006 in three regions of the eastern North Pacific: Southern California, the Bering Sea, and Hawaii. A distinctive song type that was recorded in all three regions is characterized by singlet and doublet inter-pulse intervals that increase seasonally, then annually reset to the same shorter intervals at the beginning of each season. This song type was recorded in the Bering Sea and off Southern California from September through May and off Hawaii from December through April, with the song interval generally synchronized across all monitoring locations. The broad geographic and seasonal occurrence of this particular fin whale song type may represent a single population broadly distributed throughout the eastern Pacific with no clear seasonal migratory pattern. Previous studies attempting to infer population structure of fin whales in the North Pacific using synchronous individual song samples have been unsuccessful, likely because they did not account for the seasonal lengthening in song intervals observed here. PMID:25521493

  14. Synchronous Seasonal Change in Fin Whale Song in the North Pacific

    PubMed Central

    Oleson, Erin M.; Širović, Ana; Bayless, Alexandra R.; Hildebrand, John A.

    2014-01-01

    Fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) song consists of down-swept pulses arranged into stereotypic sequences that can be characterized according to the interval between successive pulses. As in blue (B. musculus) and humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), these song sequences may be geographically distinct and may correlate with population boundaries in some regions. We measured inter-pulse intervals of fin whale songs within year-round acoustic datasets collected between 2000 and 2006 in three regions of the eastern North Pacific: Southern California, the Bering Sea, and Hawaii. A distinctive song type that was recorded in all three regions is characterized by singlet and doublet inter-pulse intervals that increase seasonally, then annually reset to the same shorter intervals at the beginning of each season. This song type was recorded in the Bering Sea and off Southern California from September through May and off Hawaii from December through April, with the song interval generally synchronized across all monitoring locations. The broad geographic and seasonal occurrence of this particular fin whale song type may represent a single population broadly distributed throughout the eastern Pacific with no clear seasonal migratory pattern. Previous studies attempting to infer population structure of fin whales in the North Pacific using synchronous individual song samples have been unsuccessful, likely because they did not account for the seasonal lengthening in song intervals observed here. PMID:25521493

  15. The simultaneous detection of mitochondrial DNA damage from sun-exposed skin of three whale species and its association with UV-induced microscopic lesions and apoptosis.

    PubMed

    Bowman, Amy; Martinez-Levasseur, Laura M; Acevedo-Whitehouse, Karina; Gendron, Diane; Birch-Machin, Mark A

    2013-07-01

    Due to life history and physiological constraints, cetaceans (whales) are unable to avoid prolonged exposure to external environmental insults, such as solar ultraviolet radiation (UV). The majority of studies on the effects of UV on skin are restricted to humans and laboratory animals, but it is important to develop tools to understand the effects of UV damage on large mammals such as whales, as these animals are long-lived and widely distributed, and can reflect the effects of UV across a large geographical range. We and others have used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) as a reliable marker of UV-induced damage particularly in human skin. UV-induced mtDNA strand breaks or lesions accumulate throughout the lifespan of an individual, thus constituting an excellent biomarker for cumulative exposure. Based on our previous studies in human skin, we have developed for the first time in the literature a quantitative real-time PCR methodology to detect and quantify mtDNA lesions in skin from sun-blistered whales. Furthermore the methodology allows for simultaneous detection of mtDNA damage in different species. Therefore using 44 epidermal mtDNA samples collected from 15 blue whales, 10 fin whales, and 19 sperm whales from the Gulf of California, Mexico, we quantified damage across 4.3 kilobases, a large region of the ~16,400 base pair whale mitochondrial genome. The results show a range of mtDNA damage in the skin of the three different whale species. This previously unreported observation was correlated with apoptotic damage and microscopic lesions, both of which are markers of UV-induced damage. As is the case in human studies, this suggests the potential use of mtDNA as a biomarker for measuring the effect of cumulative UV exposure in whales and may provide a platform to help understand the effects of changing global environmental conditions. PMID:23583579

  16. Twelve years of tracking 52-Hz whale calls from a unique source in the North Pacific

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Watkins, William A.; Daher, Mary Ann; George, Joseph E.; Rodriguez, David

    2004-12-01

    A unique whale call with 50-52 Hz emphasis from a single source has been tracked over 12 years in the central and eastern North Pacific. These calls, referred to as 52-Hz calls, were monitored and analyzed from acoustic data recorded by hydrophones of the US Navy Sound Surveillance System (SOSUS) and other arrays. The calls were noticed first in 1989, and have been detected and tracked since 1992. No other calls with similar characteristics have been identified in the acoustic data from any hydrophone system in the North Pacific basin. Only one series of these 52-Hz calls has been recorded at a time, with no call overlap, suggesting that a single whale produced the calls. The calls were recorded from August to February with most in December and January. The species producing these calls is unknown. The tracks of the 52-Hz whale were different each year, and varied in length from 708 to 11,062 km with travel speeds ranging from 0.7 to 3.8 km/h. Tracks included (A) meandering over short ranges, (B) predominantly west-to-east movement, and (C) mostly north-to-south travel. These tracks consistently appeared to be unrelated to the presence or movement of other whale species (blue, fin and humpback) monitored year-round with the same hydrophones.

  17. Keiko, Killer Whale. [Lesson Plan].

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Discovery Communications, Inc., Bethesda, MD.

    This lesson plan presents activities designed to help students understand that Keiko, the killer whale, lived for a long time in an aquarium and had to be taught to live independently; and that computer users can get updates on how Keiko is doing. The main activity of the lesson involves middle school students working in small groups to produce a…

  18. Oviducal sperm storage in poultry

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Hens are capable of fertilizing a daily succession of ovulated ova due to their ability to store sperm in the oviduct for several weeks. However, the precise biological mechanisms describing how sperm are selected and survive in the oviduct, and which sperm actually reach the site of fertilization c...

  19. Red Shift, Blue Shift: Investigating Doppler Shifts, Blubber Thickness, and Migration as Explanations of Seasonal Variation in the Tonality of Antarctic Blue Whale Song

    PubMed Central

    Miller, Brian S.; Leaper, Russell; Calderan, Susannah; Gedamke, Jason

    2014-01-01

    The song of Antarctic blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus intermedia) comprises repeated, stereotyped, low-frequency calls. Measurements of these calls from recordings spanning many years have revealed a long-term linear decline as well as an intra-annual pattern in tonal frequency. While a number of hypotheses for this long-term decline have been investigated, including changes in population structure, changes in the physical environment, and changes in the behaviour of the whales, there have been relatively few attempts to explain the intra-annual pattern. An additional hypothesis that has not yet been investigated is that differences in the observed frequency from each call are due to the Doppler effect. The assumptions and implications of the Doppler effect on whale song are investigated using 1) vessel-based acoustic recordings of Antarctic blue whales with simultaneous observation of whale movement and 2) long-term acoustic recordings from both the subtropics and Antarctic. Results from vessel-based recordings of Antarctic blue whales indicate that variation in peak-frequency between calls produced by an individual whale was greater than would be expected by the movement of the whale alone. Furthermore, analysis of intra-annual frequency shift at Antarctic recording stations indicates that the Doppler effect is unlikely to fully explain the observations of intra-annual pattern in the frequency of Antarctic blue whale song. However, data do show cyclical changes in frequency in conjunction with season, thus suggesting that there might be a relationship among tonal frequency, body condition, and migration to and from Antarctic feeding grounds. PMID:25229644

  20. Red shift, blue shift: investigating Doppler shifts, blubber thickness, and migration as explanations of seasonal variation in the tonality of Antarctic blue whale song.

    PubMed

    Miller, Brian S; Leaper, Russell; Calderan, Susannah; Gedamke, Jason

    2014-01-01

    The song of Antarctic blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus intermedia) comprises repeated, stereotyped, low-frequency calls. Measurements of these calls from recordings spanning many years have revealed a long-term linear decline as well as an intra-annual pattern in tonal frequency. While a number of hypotheses for this long-term decline have been investigated, including changes in population structure, changes in the physical environment, and changes in the behaviour of the whales, there have been relatively few attempts to explain the intra-annual pattern. An additional hypothesis that has not yet been investigated is that differences in the observed frequency from each call are due to the Doppler effect. The assumptions and implications of the Doppler effect on whale song are investigated using 1) vessel-based acoustic recordings of Antarctic blue whales with simultaneous observation of whale movement and 2) long-term acoustic recordings from both the subtropics and Antarctic. Results from vessel-based recordings of Antarctic blue whales indicate that variation in peak-frequency between calls produced by an individual whale was greater than would be expected by the movement of the whale alone. Furthermore, analysis of intra-annual frequency shift at Antarctic recording stations indicates that the Doppler effect is unlikely to fully explain the observations of intra-annual pattern in the frequency of Antarctic blue whale song. However, data do show cyclical changes in frequency in conjunction with season, thus suggesting that there might be a relationship among tonal frequency, body condition, and migration to and from Antarctic feeding grounds. PMID:25229644

  1. Call types of Bigg's killer whales (Orcinus orca) in western Alaska: Using vocal dialects to assess population structure

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sharpe, Deborah Lynn

    Apex predators are important indicators of ecosystem health, but little is known about the population structure of Bigg's killer whales ( Orcinus orca; i.e. 'transient' ecotype) in western Alaska. Currently, all Bigg's killer whales in western Alaska are ascribed to a single broad stock for management under the US Marine Mammal Protection Act. However, recent nuclear microsatellite and mitochondrial DNA analyses indicate that this stock is likely comprised of genetically distinct sub-populations. In accordance with what is known about killer whale vocal dialects in other locations, I sought to evaluate Bigg's killer whale population structure by examining the spatial distribution of group-specific call types in western Alaska. Digital audio recordings were collected from 33 encounters with Bigg's killer whales throughout the Aleutian and Pribilof Islands in the summers of 2001-2007 and 2009-2010. Recorded calls were perceptually classified into discrete types and then quantitatively described using 12 structural and time-frequency measures. Resulting call categories were objectively validated using a random forest approach. A total of 36 call types and subtypes were identified across the entire study area, and regional patterns of call type usage revealed three distinct dialects, each of which corresponding to proposed genetic delineations. I suggest that at least three acoustically and genetically distinct subpopulations are present in western Alaska, and put forth an initial catalog for this area describing the regional vocal repertoires of Bigg's killer whale call types.

  2. The Relationship among Oceanography, Prey Fields, and Beaked Whale Foraging Habitat in the Tongue of the Ocean

    PubMed Central

    Hazen, Elliott L.; Nowacek, Douglas P.; St. Laurent, Louis; Halpin, Patrick N.; Moretti, David J.

    2011-01-01

    Beaked whales, specifically Blainville's (Mesoplodon densirostris) and Cuvier's (Ziphius cavirostris), are known to feed in the Tongue of the Ocean, Bahamas. These whales can be reliably detected and often localized within the Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center (AUTEC) acoustic sensor system. The AUTEC range is a regularly spaced bottom mounted hydrophone array covering >350 nm2 providing a valuable network to record anthropogenic noise and marine mammal vocalizations. Assessments of the potential risks of noise exposure to beaked whales have historically occurred in the absence of information about the physical and biological environments in which these animals are distributed. In the fall of 2008, we used a downward looking 38 kHz SIMRAD EK60 echosounder to measure prey scattering layers concurrent with fine scale turbulence measurements from an autonomous turbulence profiler. Using an 8 km, 4-leaf clover sampling pattern, we completed a total of 7.5 repeat surveys with concurrently measured physical and biological oceanographic parameters, so as to examine the spatiotemporal scales and relationships among turbulence levels, biological scattering layers, and beaked whale foraging activity. We found a strong correlation among increased prey density and ocean vertical structure relative to increased click densities. Understanding the habitats of these whales and their utilization patterns will improve future models of beaked whale habitat as well as allowing more comprehensive assessments of exposure risk to anthropogenic sound. PMID:21556355

  3. High source levels and small active space of high-pitched song in bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus).

    PubMed

    Tervo, Outi M; Christoffersen, Mads F; Simon, Malene; Miller, Lee A; Jensen, Frants H; Parks, Susan E; Madsen, Peter T

    2012-01-01

    The low-frequency, powerful vocalizations of blue and fin whales may potentially be detected by conspecifics across entire ocean basins. In contrast, humpback and bowhead whales produce equally powerful, but more complex broadband vocalizations composed of higher frequencies that suffer from higher attenuation. Here we evaluate the active space of high frequency song notes of bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus) in Western Greenland using measurements of song source levels and ambient noise. Four independent, GPS-synchronized hydrophones were deployed through holes in the ice to localize vocalizing bowhead whales, estimate source levels and measure ambient noise. The song had a mean apparent source level of 185±2 dB rms re 1 µPa @ 1 m and a high mean centroid frequency of 444±48 Hz. Using measured ambient noise levels in the area and Arctic sound spreading models, the estimated active space of these song notes is between 40 and 130 km, an order of magnitude smaller than the estimated active space of low frequency blue and fin whale songs produced at similar source levels and for similar noise conditions. We propose that bowhead whales spatially compensate for their smaller communication range through mating aggregations that co-evolved with broadband song to form a complex and dynamic acoustically mediated sexual display. PMID:23300591

  4. High Source Levels and Small Active Space of High-Pitched Song in Bowhead Whales (Balaena mysticetus)

    PubMed Central

    Tervo, Outi M.; Christoffersen, Mads F.; Simon, Malene; Miller, Lee A.; Jensen, Frants H.; Parks, Susan E.; Madsen, Peter T.

    2012-01-01

    The low-frequency, powerful vocalizations of blue and fin whales may potentially be detected by conspecifics across entire ocean basins. In contrast, humpback and bowhead whales produce equally powerful, but more complex broadband vocalizations composed of higher frequencies that suffer from higher attenuation. Here we evaluate the active space of high frequency song notes of bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus) in Western Greenland using measurements of song source levels and ambient noise. Four independent, GPS-synchronized hydrophones were deployed through holes in the ice to localize vocalizing bowhead whales, estimate source levels and measure ambient noise. The song had a mean apparent source level of 185±2 dB rms re 1 µPa @ 1 m and a high mean centroid frequency of 444±48 Hz. Using measured ambient noise levels in the area and Arctic sound spreading models, the estimated active space of these song notes is between 40 and 130 km, an order of magnitude smaller than the estimated active space of low frequency blue and fin whale songs produced at similar source levels and for similar noise conditions. We propose that bowhead whales spatially compensate for their smaller communication range through mating aggregations that co-evolved with broadband song to form a complex and dynamic acoustically mediated sexual display. PMID:23300591

  5. Intracytoplasmic sperm injection

    MedlinePlus Videos and Cool Tools

    ... in which fertilization occurs outside of the body. First, egg cells are harvested and transferred to a special media in a laboratory dish. Within a few hours, a single sperm is injected through a fine needle into the center of an egg cell to aid in the process of fertilization. If successful, the ...

  6. The temporal characteristics of humpback whale songs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Au, Whitlow W. L.; Lammers, Marc O.; Stimpert, Alison; Schotten, Michiel

    2005-09-01

    Songs sung by male humpback whales consist of distinct, pulsed sounds that are designated as units. Units are produced in some sequence to form a phrase, a repeated set of phrases forms a theme, and repeated themes form a song. A song can last from minutes to hours. The songs of eight humpback whales were recorded with a vertical array of five hydrophones spaced 7 m apart with the array located within 100 m of the whales. At least seven distinct units were identified aurally from this data set obtained during the 2002 winter humpback whale session in Hawaii. Four distinct recurring themes were found in the songs, and for each whale at least two themes were recorded. The average duration of each unit sampled and the silent interval following the unit were determined in order to describe the temporal characteristics of the songs. From the data the temporal consistency and cadence control of unit production by each humpback whale and between whales were determined. Understanding the temporal and spectral characteristics of units within songs and how these units vary between whales could ultimately help in the design of computer algorithms to automatically identify individual whales.

  7. Acoustic neuroma

    MedlinePlus

    Vestibular schwannoma; Tumor - acoustic; Cerebellopontine angle tumor; Angle tumor ... Acoustic neuromas have been linked with the genetic disorder neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2). Acoustic neuromas are uncommon.

  8. Sounds recorded in the presence of Blainville's beaked whales, Mesoplodon densirostris, near Hawai'i.

    PubMed

    Rankin, Shannon; Barlow, Jay

    2007-07-01

    During a combined visual and acoustic cetacean survey of the Hawaiian Islands in 2002, four midfrequency sounds were recorded in close proximity to a group of Blainville's beaked whales, Mesoplodon densirostris. These sounds included one frequency-modulated whistle, and three frequency- and amplitude-modulated pulsed sounds, with energy between 6 and 16 kHz. Until recently, little was known of the acoustic behavior of beaked whales, and early descriptions of audible sounds made by beaked whales are incomplete [Caldwell and Caldwell, Cetology 4, 1-5 (1971); Lynn and Reiss, Marine Mammal Sci. 8(3), 229-305 (1992); T. C. Poulter, "Marine mammals," in Animal Communication; Techniques of Study and Results of Research, edited by T. A. Sebeok (Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 1968)]. Recent recordings of high-frequency clicks (>20 kHz, [Johnson et al., Proc. R. Soc. London, Ser. B (Suppl.) 271, 5383-5386 (2004); Zimmer et al., J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 117(6), 3919-3927.]) were above the frequency response of our equipment, and therefore not detected. Sound production within the midfrequency range of sounds described here suggests that the hearing of M. densirostris is sensitive at frequencies used in some types of active sonars. PMID:17614463

  9. Long-term bowhead whale abundance data collected near Point Barrow Alaska (1978-2011) and postmortem examination data (1974-2012)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    George, J.; Suydam, R.

    2012-12-01

    Primarily in response to concerns about the sustainability of the subsistence bowhead whale harvest along the Alaskan coast, population surveys were initiated by NOAA in 1978, and were conducted by the North Slope Borough from 1981 to present. The surveys of migrating bowhead whales were made from pressure ridges on the landfast sea ice margin in the vicinity of Point Barrow, Alaska. Surveys were conducted 24 hr/day from about 15 April and 1 June depending on weather and ice conditions. Specific observation data include: (for each whale sighting) date, time, location, whale group size, species, migration speed and direction, (every 2 hrs) ice floe speed and direction (surrogate for current data), weather, pressure ridge height, bird observations and other data. Full-time acoustic surveillance during the survey has been conducted from 1984 to present. A statistically significant positive trend (3.5% year; 95% CI=2.2-4.8%) in bowhead whale population size is evident over this time period. The more recent abundance estimate was 12,631 (CV 0.2442) whales for year 2004. Over a more extensive time period, postmortem examinations of bowhead whales landed by Inupiat Eskimos have been made at Barrow and other whale hunting villages. We have detailed whale examination data from 1974-present with sporadic harvest data dating to the 1800s. The older records lack the detail of current examinations. These "harvest data" are connected with estimates of Yankee commercial whaling takes from 1848 to 1915 compiled by other researchers. Together they provide a continuous record of anthropogenic takes of bowhead whales for more than 150 years. These datasets have been essential in estimating sustainable harvest levels by the International Whaling Commission Scientific Committee, NOAA and the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission. The records are also used for modeling environmental effects on bowheads, oil and gas leasing decisions, and many other scientific projects and policy matters. The

  10. Disproportionate emission of bubble streams with killer whale biphonic calls: perspectives on production and function.

    PubMed

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

    2015-02-01

    Stereotyped pulsed calls were attributed to 11 killer whales (Orcinus orca) with and without synchronous bubble streams in three datasets collected from two facilities from 1993 to 2012. Calls with and without synchronous bubble streams and divergent overlapping high frequency components ("biphonic" vs "monophonic") were compared. Subjects produced bubbles significantly more often when calls had divergent high frequency components. However, acoustic features in one biphonic call shared by five subjects provided little evidence for an acoustic effect of synchronous bubble flow. Disproportionate bubbling supported other evidence that biphonic calls form a distinct category, but suggested a function in short-range communication. PMID:25698045

  11. Spatio-temporal patterns of beaked whale echolocation signals in the North Pacific.

    PubMed

    Baumann-Pickering, Simone; Roch, Marie A; Brownell, Robert L; Simonis, Anne E; McDonald, Mark A; Solsona-Berga, Alba; Oleson, Erin M; Wiggins, Sean M; Hildebrand, John A

    2014-01-01

    At least ten species of beaked whales inhabit the North Pacific, but little is known about their abundance, ecology, and behavior, as they are elusive and difficult to distinguish visually at sea. Six of these species produce known species-specific frequency modulated (FM) echolocation pulses: Baird's, Blainville's, Cuvier's, Deraniyagala's, Longman's, and Stejneger's beaked whales. Additionally, one described FM pulse (BWC) from Cross Seamount, Hawai'i, and three unknown FM pulse types (BW40, BW43, BW70) have been identified from almost 11 cumulative years of autonomous recordings at 24 sites throughout the North Pacific. Most sites had a dominant FM pulse type with other types being either absent or limited. There was not a strong seasonal influence on the occurrence of these signals at any site, but longer time series may reveal smaller, consistent fluctuations. Only the species producing BWC signals, detected throughout the Pacific Islands region, consistently showed a diel cycle with nocturnal foraging. By comparing stranding and sighting information with acoustic findings, we hypothesize that BWC signals are produced by ginkgo-toothed beaked whales. BW43 signal encounters were restricted to Southern California and may be produced by Perrin's beaked whale, known only from Californian waters. BW70 signals were detected in the southern Gulf of California, which is prime habitat for Pygmy beaked whales. Hubb's beaked whale may have produced the BW40 signals encountered off central and southern California; however, these signals were also recorded off Pearl and Hermes Reef and Wake Atoll, which are well south of their known range. PMID:24465877

  12. Spatio-Temporal Patterns of Beaked Whale Echolocation Signals in the North Pacific

    PubMed Central

    Baumann-Pickering, Simone; Roch, Marie A.; Brownell Jr, Robert L.; Simonis, Anne E.; McDonald, Mark A.; Solsona-Berga, Alba; Oleson, Erin M.; Wiggins, Sean M.; Hildebrand, John A.

    2014-01-01

    At least ten species of beaked whales inhabit the North Pacific, but little is known about their abundance, ecology, and behavior, as they are elusive and difficult to distinguish visually at sea. Six of these species produce known species-specific frequency modulated (FM) echolocation pulses: Baird’s, Blainville’s, Cuvier’s, Deraniyagala’s, Longman’s, and Stejneger’s beaked whales. Additionally, one described FM pulse (BWC) from Cross Seamount, Hawai’i, and three unknown FM pulse types (BW40, BW43, BW70) have been identified from almost 11 cumulative years of autonomous recordings at 24 sites throughout the North Pacific. Most sites had a dominant FM pulse type with other types being either absent or limited. There was not a strong seasonal influence on the occurrence of these signals at any site, but longer time series may reveal smaller, consistent fluctuations. Only the species producing BWC signals, detected throughout the Pacific Islands region, consistently showed a diel cycle with nocturnal foraging. By comparing stranding and sighting information with acoustic findings, we hypothesize that BWC signals are produced by ginkgo-toothed beaked whales. BW43 signal encounters were restricted to Southern California and may be produced by Perrin’s beaked whale, known only from Californian waters. BW70 signals were detected in the southern Gulf of California, which is prime habitat for Pygmy beaked whales. Hubb’s beaked whale may have produced the BW40 signals encountered off central and southern California; however, these signals were also recorded off Pearl and Hermes Reef and Wake Atoll, which are well south of their known range. PMID:24465877

  13. Designing an effective mark-recapture study of Antarctic blue whales.

    PubMed

    Peel, David; Bravington, Mark; Kelly, Natalie; Double, Michael C

    2015-06-01

    To properly conserve and manage wild populations, it is important to have information on abundance and population dynamics. In the case of rare and cryptic species, especially in remote locations, surveys can be difficult and expensive, and run the risk of not producing sample sizes large enough to produce precise estimates. Therefore, it is crucial to conduct preliminary analysis to determine if the study will produce useable estimates. The focus of this paper is a proposed mark-recapture study of Antarctic blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus intermedia). Antarctic blue whales were hunted to near extinction up until the mid- 1960s, when commercial exploitation of this species ended. Current abundance estimates are a decade old. Furthermore, at present, there are no formal circumpolar-level cetacean surveys operating in Antarctic waters and, specifically, there is no strategy to monitor the potential recovery of Antarctic blue whales. Hence the work in this paper was motivated by the need to inform decisions on strategies for future monitoring of Antarctic blue whale population. The paper describes a model to predict the precision and bias of estimates from a proposed survey program. The analysis showed that mark-recapture is indeed a suitable method to provide a circumpolar abundance estimate of Antarctic blue whales, with precision of the abundance, at the midpoint of the program, predicted to be between 0.2 and 0.3. However, this was only if passive acoustic tracking was utilized to increase the encounter rate. The analysis also provided guidance on general design for an Antarctic blue whale program, showing that it requires a 12-year duration; although surveys do not necessarily need to be run every year if multiple vessels are available to clump effort. Mark-recapture is based on a number of assumptions; it was evident from the analysis that ongoing analysis and monitoring of the data would be required to check such assumptions hold (e.g., test for

  14. Saving Whales and Dolphins through Petroglyphs and Activist Artworks

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bae, Jaehan

    2013-01-01

    Whaling emerged in ancient times, when whales served as a source of food, fuel, and other everyday resources that were vital for human civilizations. Prehistoric images of whales are found on rocks in a few areas throughout the world, most notably the famous petroglyphs at the Bangudae cliffs in Ulsan, South Korea, which depict whales and other…

  15. 36 CFR 13.1174 - Whale water restrictions.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-07-01

    ... 36 Parks, Forests, and Public Property 1 2012-07-01 2012-07-01 false Whale water restrictions. 13... Vessel Operating Restrictions § 13.1174 Whale water restrictions. (a) May 15 through September 30, the... designated as temporary whale waters in accordance with § 1.7 of this chapter. (c) Violation of a whale...

  16. 36 CFR 13.1174 - Whale water restrictions.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-07-01

    ... 36 Parks, Forests, and Public Property 1 2014-07-01 2014-07-01 false Whale water restrictions. 13... Vessel Operating Restrictions § 13.1174 Whale water restrictions. (a) May 15 through September 30, the... designated as temporary whale waters in accordance with § 1.7 of this chapter. (c) Violation of a whale...

  17. 36 CFR 13.1174 - Whale water restrictions.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-07-01

    ... 36 Parks, Forests, and Public Property 1 2013-07-01 2013-07-01 false Whale water restrictions. 13... Vessel Operating Restrictions § 13.1174 Whale water restrictions. (a) May 15 through September 30, the... designated as temporary whale waters in accordance with § 1.7 of this chapter. (c) Violation of a whale...

  18. 36 CFR 13.1174 - Whale water restrictions.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-07-01

    ... 36 Parks, Forests, and Public Property 1 2011-07-01 2011-07-01 false Whale water restrictions. 13... Vessel Operating Restrictions § 13.1174 Whale water restrictions. (a) May 15 through September 30, the... designated as temporary whale waters in accordance with § 1.7 of this chapter. (c) Violation of a whale...

  19. Whales in Depth: An Interdisciplinary Unit of Study.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Sunal, Cynthia Szymanski; Pritchard, Gail; Sunal, Dennis W.

    2000-01-01

    Provides background information on whales focusing on their biological characteristics, the use and regulation of whaling, and the conservation of marine mammals. Offers ideas for teaching about whales. Includes a resource section of books, audio books, music tapes, and Web sites about whales for students and teachers. (CMK)

  20. Cryopreservation of Fish Sperm

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kurokura, Hisashi

    Present status of research activities in cryopreservation of fish gamete in aquaculture field was introduced. More than 59 fish species have been reported in the research histories and nearly half of them were studied during recent 10 years. This means that the research activities are increasing, though commercial profit have not obtained yet. Fish species of which sperm can successfully cryopreserved is still limited comparing to numerous species in telost. One of the major obstacle for improvement of the technique is existence of wide specie specific variance in the freezing tolerance of fish sperm. The varianc can possibly be explaind thorugh the informations obtained by the studies in comparative spermatology, which is recently activated field in fish biology.

  1. Turbulence of swarming sperm.

    PubMed

    Creppy, Adama; Praud, Olivier; Druart, Xavier; Kohnke, Philippa L; Plouraboué, Franck

    2015-09-01

    Collective motion of self-sustained swarming flows has recently provided examples of small-scale turbulence arising where viscous effects are dominant. We report the first observation of universal enstrophy cascade in concentrated swarming sperm consistent with a body of evidence built from various independent measurements. We found a well-defined k^{-3} power-law decay of a velocity field power spectrum and relative dispersion of small beads consistent with theoretical predictions in 2D turbulence. Concentrated living sperm displays long-range, correlated whirlpool structures of a size that provides an integral scale of turbulence. We propose a consistent explanation for this quasi-2D turbulence based on self-structured laminated flow forced by steric interactions and alignment, a state of active matter that we call "swarming liquid crystal." We develop scaling arguments consistent with this interpretation. PMID:26465513

  2. Turbulence of swarming sperm

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Creppy, Adama; Praud, Olivier; Druart, Xavier; Kohnke, Philippa L.; Plouraboué, Franck

    2015-09-01

    Collective motion of self-sustained swarming flows has recently provided examples of small-scale turbulence arising where viscous effects are dominant. We report the first observation of universal enstrophy cascade in concentrated swarming sperm consistent with a body of evidence built from various independent measurements. We found a well-defined k-3 power-law decay of a velocity field power spectrum and relative dispersion of small beads consistent with theoretical predictions in 2D turbulence. Concentrated living sperm displays long-range, correlated whirlpool structures of a size that provides an integral scale of turbulence. We propose a consistent explanation for this quasi-2D turbulence based on self-structured laminated flow forced by steric interactions and alignment, a state of active matter that we call "swarming liquid crystal." We develop scaling arguments consistent with this interpretation.

  3. Morbillivirus and Pilot Whale Deaths, Mediterranean Sea

    PubMed Central

    Esperón, Fernando; Herraéz, Pedro; de los Monteros, Antonio Espinosa; Clavel, Cristina; Bernabé, Antonio; Sánchez-Vizcaino, J. Manuel; Verborgh, Philippe; DeStephanis, Renaud; Toledano, Francisco; Bayón, Alejandro

    2008-01-01

    An outbreak of a lethal morbillivirus infection of long-finned pilot whales occurred in the Mediterranean Sea from the end of October 2006 through April 2007. Sequence analysis of a 426-bp conserved fragment of the morbillivirus phosphoprotein gene indicates that the virus is more closely related to dolphin morbillivirus than to pilot whale morbillivirus. PMID:18439363

  4. Whale Watching in the Gulf of Maine.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Carkin, Clayton A.

    1985-01-01

    Describes a variety of teaching strategies to prepare a class for a whale watching field trip. Guidelines for recording a sighting, pictures and statistics for commonly and/or occasionally seen whales, and hints for avoiding sea sickness are included. (DH)

  5. Mammalian Sperm Fertility Related Proteins

    PubMed Central

    Ashrafzadeh, Ali; Karsani, Saiful Anuar; Nathan, Sheila

    2013-01-01

    Infertility is an important aspect of human and animal reproduction and still presents with much etiological ambiguity. As fifty percent of infertility is related to the male partner, molecular investigations on sperm and seminal plasma can lead to new knowledge on male infertility. Several comparisons between fertile and infertile human and other species sperm proteome have shown the existence of potential fertility markers. These proteins have been categorized into energy related, structural and other functional proteins which play a major role in sperm motility, capacitation and sperm-oocyte binding. The data from these studies show the impact of sperm proteome studies on identifying different valuable markers for fertility screening. In this article, we review recent development in unraveling sperm fertility related proteins. PMID:24151436

  6. Cytometry of mammalian sperm

    SciTech Connect

    Gledhill, B.L.

    1983-10-11

    Male germ cells respond dramatically to a variety of insults and are important reproductive dosimeters. Semen analyses are very useful in studies on the effects of drugs, chemicals, and environmental hazards on testicular function, male fertility and heritable germinal mutations. The accessibility of male cells makes them well suited for analytical cytology. We might automate the process of determining sperm morphology but should not do so solely for increased speed. Rather, richer tangible benefits will derive from cytometric evaluation through increased sensitivity, reduced subjectivity, standardization between investigators and laboratories, enhanced archival systems, and the benefits of easily exchanged standardized data. Inroads on the standardization of assays for motility and functional integrity are being made. Flow cytometric analysis of total DNA content of individual sperm is an insensitive means to detect exposure to reproductive toxins because of the small size and low frequency of the DNA content errors. Flow cytometry can be applied to determine the proportions of X- and Y-sperm in semen samples.

  7. Sperm function test

    PubMed Central

    Talwar, Pankaj; Hayatnagarkar, Suryakant

    2015-01-01

    With absolute normal semen analysis parameters it may not be necessary to shift to specialized tests early but in cases with borderline parameters or with history of fertilization failure in past it becomes necessary to do a battery of tests to evaluate different parameters of spermatozoa. Various sperm function tests are proposed and endorsed by different researchers in addition to the routine evaluation of fertility. These tests detect function of a certain part of spermatozoon and give insight on the events in fertilization of the oocyte. The sperms need to get nutrition from the seminal plasma in the form of fructose and citrate (this can be assessed by fructose qualitative and quantitative estimation, citrate estimation). They should be protected from the bad effects of pus cells and reactive oxygen species (ROS) (leukocyte detection test, ROS estimation). Their number should be in sufficient in terms of (count), structure normal to be able to fertilize eggs (semen morphology). Sperms should have intact and functioning membrane to survive harsh environment of vagina and uterine fluids (vitality and hypo-osmotic swelling test), should have good mitochondrial function to be able to provide energy (mitochondrial activity index test). They should also have satisfactory acrosome function to be able to burrow a hole in zona pellucida (acrosome intactness test, zona penetration test). Finally, they should have properly packed DNA in the nucleus to be able to transfer the male genes (nuclear chromatic decondensation test) to the oocyte during fertilization. PMID:26157295

  8. Sperm function test.

    PubMed

    Talwar, Pankaj; Hayatnagarkar, Suryakant

    2015-01-01

    With absolute normal semen analysis parameters it may not be necessary to shift to specialized tests early but in cases with borderline parameters or with history of fertilization failure in past it becomes necessary to do a battery of tests to evaluate different parameters of spermatozoa. Various sperm function tests are proposed and endorsed by different researchers in addition to the routine evaluation of fertility. These tests detect function of a certain part of spermatozoon and give insight on the events in fertilization of the oocyte. The sperms need to get nutrition from the seminal plasma in the form of fructose and citrate (this can be assessed by fructose qualitative and quantitative estimation, citrate estimation). They should be protected from the bad effects of pus cells and reactive oxygen species (ROS) (leukocyte detection test, ROS estimation). Their number should be in sufficient in terms of (count), structure normal to be able to fertilize eggs (semen morphology). Sperms should have intact and functioning membrane to survive harsh environment of vagina and uterine fluids (vitality and hypo-osmotic swelling test), should have good mitochondrial function to be able to provide energy (mitochondrial activity index test). They should also have satisfactory acrosome function to be able to burrow a hole in zona pellucida (acrosome intactness test, zona penetration test). Finally, they should have properly packed DNA in the nucleus to be able to transfer the male genes (nuclear chromatic decondensation test) to the oocyte during fertilization. PMID:26157295

  9. Factors influencing boar sperm cryosurvival.

    PubMed

    Roca, J; Hernández, M; Carvajal, G; Vázquez, J M; Martínez, E A

    2006-10-01

    Optimal sperm cryopreservation is a prerequisite for the sustainable commercial application of frozen-thawed boar semen for AI. Three experiments were performed to identify factors influencing variability of postthaw sperm survival among 464 boar ejaculates. Sperm-rich ejaculate fractions were cryopre-served using a standard freezing-thawing procedure for 0.5-mL plastic straws and computer-controlled freezing equipment. Postthaw sperm motility (assessed with a computer-assisted semen analysis system) and viability (simultaneously probed by flow cytometry analysis after triple-fluorescent stain), evaluated 30 and 150 min postthaw, were used to estimate the success of cryopreservation. In the first experiment, 168 unselected ejaculates (1 ejaculate/boar), from boars of 6 breeds with a wide age range (8 to 48 mo), were cryopreserved over a 12-mo period to evaluate the predictive value of boar (breed and age), semen collection, transport variables (season of ejaculate collection, interval between collections, and ejaculate temperature exposure), initial semen traits, and sperm quality before freezing on sperm survival after freezing-thawing. In Exp. 2, 4 ejaculates from each of 29 boars, preselected according to their initial semen traits and sperm quality before freezing, were collected and frozen over a 6-mo period to evaluate the influence of interboar and intraboar ejaculate variability in the survival of sperm after cryopreservation. In Exp. 3, 12 ejaculates preselected as for Exp. 2, from each of 15 boars with known good sperm cryosurvival, were collected and frozen over a 12-mo period to estimate the sustainability of sperm cryosurvival between ejaculates over time. Boar and semen collection and transport variables were not predictive of sperm cryosurvival among ejaculates. Initial semen traits and sperm quality variables observed before freezing explained 23.2 and 10.9%, respectively, of the variation in postthaw sperm motility and viability. However, more that

  10. Classification of ostrich sperm characteristics.

    PubMed

    Smith, A M J; Bonato, M; Dzama, K; Malecki, I A; Cloete, S W P

    2016-05-01

    The success of assisted reproduction techniques is dependent on a sound foundation of understanding sperm characteristics to evaluate so as to improve semen processing. This study offers a descriptive basis for ostrich semen quality in terms of sperm function characteristics (SFC) that include motility, measured by computer assisted sperm analysis CASA (SCA(®)), viability (SYBR14/PI) and membrane integrity (hypo-osmotic swelling test). Relationships among these SFC's were explored and described by correlations and regressions. Certain fixed effects including the dilution of semen, season, year and male associated with semen collection were interpreted for future applications. The seasonal effect on sperm samples collected throughout the year suggested that it is prudent to restrict collections to spring and summer when SFC's and sperm concentration are maximized, compared to winter when these aspects of sperm quality are suppressed. Dilution of ejaculates helped to maintain important SFC's associated with fertilization success. The SFC's and sperm concentration varied among males, with specific males, having greater values for the percentage of motile (MOT) and progressively motile (PMOT) sperm, as well as sperm velocity (VCL, VSL, VAP) and linearity (LIN) variables. Males may thus be screened on these variables for inclusion in an artificial insemination (AI) programme to optimize fertility success rates. PMID:27039985

  11. Sperm storage in caecilian amphibians

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Background Female sperm storage has evolved independently multiple times among vertebrates to control reproduction in response to the environment. In internally fertilising amphibians, female salamanders store sperm in cloacal spermathecae, whereas among anurans sperm storage in oviducts is known only in tailed frogs. Facilitated through extensive field sampling following historical observations we tested for sperm storing structures in the female urogenital tract of fossorial, tropical caecilian amphibians. Findings In the oviparous Ichthyophis cf. kohtaoensis, aggregated sperm were present in a distinct region of the posterior oviduct but not in the cloaca in six out of seven vitellogenic females prior to oviposition. Spermatozoa were found most abundantly between the mucosal folds. In relation to the reproductive status decreased amounts of sperm were present in gravid females compared to pre-ovulatory females. Sperm were absent in females past oviposition. Conclusions Our findings indicate short-term oviductal sperm storage in the oviparous Ichthyophis cf. kohtaoensis. We assume that in female caecilians exhibiting high levels of parental investment sperm storage has evolved in order to optimally coordinate reproductive events and to increase fitness. PMID:22672478

  12. Automatic Round-the-Clock Detection of Whales for Mitigation from Underwater Noise Impacts

    PubMed Central

    Zitterbart, Daniel P.; Kindermann, Lars; Burkhardt, Elke; Boebel, Olaf

    2013-01-01

    Loud hydroacoustic sources, such as naval mid-frequency sonars or airguns for marine geophysical prospecting, have been increasingly criticized for their possible negative effects on marine mammals and were implicated in several whale stranding events. Competent authorities now regularly request the implementation of mitigation measures, including the shut-down of acoustic sources when marine mammals are sighted within a predefined exclusion zone. Commonly, ship-based marine mammal observers (MMOs) are employed to visually monitor this zone. This approach is personnel-intensive and not applicable during night time, even though most hydroacoustic activities run day and night. This study describes and evaluates an automatic, ship-based, thermographic whale detection system that continuously scans the ship’s environs for whale blows. Its performance is independent of daylight and exhibits an almost uniform, omnidirectional detection probability within a radius of 5 km. It outperforms alerted observers in terms of number of detected blows and ship-whale encounters. Our results demonstrate that thermal imaging can be used for reliable and continuous marine mammal protection. PMID:23951113

  13. St. Lawrence blue whale vocalizations revisited: characterization of calls detected from 1998 to 2001.

    PubMed

    Berchok, Catherine L; Bradley, David L; Gabrielson, Thomas B

    2006-10-01

    From 1998 to 2001, 115 h of acoustic recordings were made in the presence of the well-studied St. Lawrence population of blue whales, using a calibrated omnidirectional hydrophone [flat (+/- 3 dB) response from 5 to 800 Hz] suspended at 50 m depth from a surface isolation buoy. The primary field site for this study was the estuary region of the St. Lawrence River (Québec, Canada), with most recordings made between mid-August and late October. During the recordings, detailed field notes were taken on all cetaceans within sight. Characterization of the more than 1000 blue whale calls detected during this study revealed that the St. Lawrence repertoire is much more extensive than previously reported. Three infrasonic (<20 Hz) and three audible range (30-200 Hz) call types were detected, with much time/frequency variation seen within each type. Further variation is seen in the form of call segmentation, which appears (through examination of Lloyd's Mirror interference effects) to be controlled at least partially by the whales. Although St. Lawrence blue whale call characteristics are similar to those of the North Atlantic, comparisons of phrase composition and spacing among studies suggest the possibility of population dialects within the North Atlantic. PMID:17069329

  14. Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) song unit and phrase repertoire progression on a subarctic feeding ground.

    PubMed

    Magnúsdóttir, Edda E; Miller, Patrick J O; Lim, Rangyn; Rasmussen, Marianne H; Lammers, Marc O; Svavarsson, Jörundur

    2015-11-01

    The songs of the male humpback whales have traditionally been associated with breeding activities at low latitude breeding grounds during winter. This study provides the first detailed analysis of humpback whale songs recorded in the subarctic waters of Iceland using passive acoustic recorders. Recordings were collected during three winter seasons: 2008-2009, 2009-2010, and 2011 during which singing was detected in all seasons. Peak song occurrence was during January-February in all years; this coincides with the timing of the peak breeding season of humpback whales in the Northern hemisphere. A total of 2810 song units from all years were measured and statistically divided into 14 groups, which constructed 25 phrases. The song unit repertoires included stable song unit types that occurred frequently in songs during all years while the occurrence of other song unit types varied more between years. Around 60% of the phrases were conserved between the first two study seasons, while the majority of phrases found during the last study season had not been observed before. This study indicates the importance of a subarctic feeding ground for song progression and song exchange and possibly as an opportunistic mating ground for migrating or overwintering humpback whales. PMID:26627808

  15. Support for the beam focusing hypothesis in the false killer whale.

    PubMed

    Kloepper, Laura N; Buck, John R; Smith, Adam B; Supin, Alexander Ya; Gaudette, Jason E; Nachtigall, Paul E

    2015-08-01

    The odontocete sound production system is complex and composed of tissues, air sacs and a fatty melon. Previous studies suggested that the emitted sonar beam might be actively focused, narrowing depending on target distance. In this study, we further tested this beam focusing hypothesis in a false killer whale. Using three linear arrays of hydrophones, we recorded the same emitted click at 2, 4 and 7 m distance and calculated the beamwidth, intensity, center frequency and bandwidth as recorded on each array at every distance. If the whale did not focus her beam, acoustics predicts the intensity would decay with range as a function of spherical spreading and the angular beamwidth would remain constant. On the contrary, our results show that as the distance from the whale to the array increases, the beamwidth is narrower and the received click intensity is higher than that predicted by a spherical spreading function. Each of these measurements is consistent with the animal focusing her beam on a target at a given range. These results support the hypothesis that the false killer whale is 'focusing' its sonar beam, producing a narrower and more intense signal than that predicted by spherical spreading. PMID:26056247

  16. Vocal characteristics of pygmy blue whales and their change over time.

    PubMed

    Gavrilov, Alexander N; McCauley, Robert D; Salgado-Kent, Chandra; Tripovich, Joy; Burton, Chris

    2011-12-01

    Vocal characteristics of pygmy blue whales of the eastern Indian Ocean population were analyzed using data from a hydroacoustic station deployed off Cape Leeuwin in Western Australia as part of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty monitoring network, from two acoustic observatories of the Australian Integrated Marine Observing System, and from individual sea noise loggers deployed in the Perth Canyon. These data have been collected from 2002 to 2010, inclusively. It is shown that the themes of pygmy blue whale songs consist of ether three or two repeating tonal sounds with harmonics. The most intense sound of the tonal theme was estimated to correspond to a source level of 179 ± 2 dB re 1 μPa at 1 m measured for 120 calls from seven different animals. Short-duration calls of impulsive downswept sound from pygmy blue whales were weaker with the source level estimated to vary between 168 to 176 dB. A gradual decrease in the call frequency with a mean rate estimated to be 0.35 ± 0.3 Hz/year was observed over nine years in the frequency of the third harmonic of tonal sound 2 in the whale song theme, which corresponds to a negative trend of about 0.12 Hz/year in the call fundamental frequency. PMID:22225022

  17. Analysis and localization of blue whale vocalizations in the Solomon Sea using waveform amplitude data.

    PubMed

    Frank, Scott D; Ferris, Aaron N

    2011-08-01

    During the Woodlark Basin seismic experiment in eastern Papua New Guinea (1999-2000), an ocean-bottom seismic array recorded marine mammal vocalizations along with target earthquake signals. The array consisted of 14 instruments, 7 of which were three-component seismometers with a fourth component hydrophone. They were deployed at 2.0-3.2 km water depth and operated from September 1999 through February 2000. While whale vocalizations were recorded throughout the deployment, this study focuses on 3 h from December 21, 1999 during which the signals are particularly clear. The recordings show a blue whale song composed of a three-unit phrase. That song does not match vocalization characteristics of other known Pacific subpopulations and may represent a previously undocumented blue whale song. Animal tracking and source level estimates are obtained with a Bayesian inversion method that generates probabilistic source locations. The Bayesian method is augmented to include travel time estimates from seismometers and hydrophones and acoustic signal amplitude. Tracking results show the whale traveled northeasterly over the course of 3 h, covering approximately 27 km. The path followed the edge of the Woodlark Basin along a shelf that separates the shallow waters of the Trobriand platform from the deep waters of the basin. PMID:21877788

  18. Automatic round-the-clock detection of whales for mitigation from underwater noise impacts.

    PubMed

    Zitterbart, Daniel P; Kindermann, Lars; Burkhardt, Elke; Boebel, Olaf

    2013-01-01

    Loud hydroacoustic sources, such as naval mid-frequency sonars or airguns for marine geophysical prospecting, have been increasingly criticized for their possible negative effects on marine mammals and were implicated in several whale stranding events. Competent authorities now regularly request the implementation of mitigation measures, including the shut-down of acoustic sources when marine mammals are sighted within a predefined exclusion zone. Commonly, ship-based marine mammal observers (MMOs) are employed to visually monitor this zone. This approach is personnel-intensive and not applicable during night time, even though most hydroacoustic activities run day and night. This study describes and evaluates an automatic, ship-based, thermographic whale detection system that continuously scans the ship's environs for whale blows. Its performance is independent of daylight and exhibits an almost uniform, omnidirectional detection probability within a radius of 5 km. It outperforms alerted observers in terms of number of detected blows and ship-whale encounters. Our results demonstrate that thermal imaging can be used for reliable and continuous marine mammal protection. PMID:23951113

  19. Effects of subsampling of passive acoustic recordings on acoustic metrics.

    PubMed

    Thomisch, Karolin; Boebel, Olaf; Zitterbart, Daniel P; Samaran, Flore; Van Parijs, Sofie; Van Opzeeland, Ilse

    2015-07-01

    Passive acoustic monitoring is an important tool in marine mammal studies. However, logistics and finances frequently constrain the number and servicing schedules of acoustic recorders, requiring a trade-off between deployment periods and sampling continuity, i.e., the implementation of a subsampling scheme. Optimizing such schemes to each project's specific research questions is desirable. This study investigates the impact of subsampling on the accuracy of two common metrics, acoustic presence and call rate, for different vocalization patterns (regimes) of baleen whales: (1) variable vocal activity, (2) vocalizations organized in song bouts, and (3) vocal activity with diel patterns. To this end, above metrics are compared for continuous and subsampled data subject to different sampling strategies, covering duty cycles between 50% and 2%. The results show that a reduction of the duty cycle impacts negatively on the accuracy of both acoustic presence and call rate estimates. For a given duty cycle, frequent short listening periods improve accuracy of daily acoustic presence estimates over few long listening periods. Overall, subsampling effects are most pronounced for low and/or temporally clustered vocal activity. These findings illustrate the importance of informed decisions when applying subsampling strategies to passive acoustic recordings or analyses for a given target species. PMID:26233026

  20. Non-song social call bouts of migrating humpback whales

    PubMed Central

    Rekdahl, Melinda L.; Dunlop, Rebecca A.; Goldizen, Anne W.; Garland, Ellen C.; Biassoni, Nicoletta; Miller, Patrick; Noad, Michael J.

    2015-01-01

    The use of stereotyped calls within structured bouts has been described for a number of species and may increase the information potential of call repertoires. Humpback whales produce a repertoire of social calls, although little is known about the complexity or function of these calls. In this study, digital acoustic tag recordings were used to investigate social call use within bouts, the use of bouts across different social contexts, and whether particular call type combinations were favored. Call order within bouts was investigated using call transition frequencies and information theory techniques. Call bouts were defined through analysis of inter-call intervals, as any calls within 3.9 s of each other. Bouts were produced significantly more when new whales joined a group compared to groups that did not change membership, and in groups containing multiple adults escorting a female and calf compared to adult only groups. Although social calls tended to be produced in bouts, there were few repeated bout types. However, the order in which most call types were produced within bouts was non-random and dependent on the preceding call type. These bouts appear to be at least partially governed by rules for how individual components are combined. PMID:26093396

  1. Non-song social call bouts of migrating humpback whales.

    PubMed

    Rekdahl, Melinda L; Dunlop, Rebecca A; Goldizen, Anne W; Garland, Ellen C; Biassoni, Nicoletta; Miller, Patrick; Noad, Michael J

    2015-06-01

    The use of stereotyped calls within structured bouts has been described for a number of species and may increase the information potential of call repertoires. Humpback whales produce a repertoire of social calls, although little is known about the complexity or function of these calls. In this study, digital acoustic tag recordings were used to investigate social call use within bouts, the use of bouts across different social contexts, and whether particular call type combinations were favored. Call order within bouts was investigated using call transition frequencies and information theory techniques. Call bouts were defined through analysis of inter-call intervals, as any calls within 3.9 s of each other. Bouts were produced significantly more when new whales joined a group compared to groups that did not change membership, and in groups containing multiple adults escorting a female and calf compared to adult only groups. Although social calls tended to be produced in bouts, there were few repeated bout types. However, the order in which most call types were produced within bouts was non-random and dependent on the preceding call type. These bouts appear to be at least partially governed by rules for how individual components are combined. PMID:26093396

  2. Sperm Capacitation and Acrosome Reaction in Mammalian Sperm.

    PubMed

    Stival, Cintia; Puga Molina, Lis Del C; Paudel, Bidur; Buffone, Mariano G; Visconti, Pablo E; Krapf, Dario

    2016-01-01

    Physiological changes that endow mammalian sperm with fertilizing capacity are known as sperm capacitation. As part of capacitation, sperm develop an asymmetrical flagellar beating known as hyperactivation and acquire the ability to undergo the acrosome reaction. Together, these processes promote fertilizing competence in sperm. At the molecular level, capacitation involves a series of signal transduction events which include activation of cAMP-dependent phosphorylation pathways, removal of cholesterol, hyperpolarization of the sperm plasma membrane, and changes in ion permeability. In recent years, new technologies have aided in the study of sperm signaling molecules with better resolution, at both spatial and temporal levels, unraveling how different cascades integrate and cooperate to render a fertilizing sperm. Despite this new information, the molecular mechanisms connecting capacitation with acrosomal exocytosis and hyperactivation are not well understood. This review brings together results obtained in mammalian species in the field of sperm capacitation with special focus on those pathways involved in the preparation to undergo the acrosomal reaction. PMID:27194351

  3. Unraveling the Sperm Bauplan: Relationships Between Sperm Head Morphology and Sperm Function in Rodents.

    PubMed

    Varea-Sánchez, María; Tourmente, Maximiliano; Bastir, Markus; Roldan, Eduardo R S

    2016-07-01

    Rodents have spermatozoa with features not seen in other species. Sperm heads in many rodent species bear one or more apical extensions known as "hooks." The process by which hooks have evolved, together with their adaptive significance, are still controversial issues. In order to improve our understanding of the biological meaning of these sperm head adaptations, we analyzed hook curvature angles, hook length, and overall hook shape in muroid rodents by using geometric morphometrics. We also searched for relationships between hook design and measurements of intermale competition to assess whether postcopulatory sexual selection was an important selective force driving changes in this sperm structure. Finally, we sought possible links between aspects of sperm hook design and sperm velocity as a measure of sperm performance. Results showed that one hook curvature angle is under strong selective pressure. Similarly, hook length appears to be strongly selected by sexual selection, with this selective force also exhibiting a stabilizing role reducing intermale variation in this trait. The adaptive significance of changes in hook structure was supported by the finding that there are strong and significant covariations between hook dimensions and shape and between hook design and sperm swimming velocity. Overall, this study strongly suggests that postcopulatory sexual selection has an important effect on the design of the sperm head that, in turn, is important for enhancing sperm velocity, a function crucial to reaching the vicinity of the female gamete and winning fertilizations under competitive situations. PMID:27281707

  4. Bowhead whale springtime song off West Greenland.

    PubMed

    Stafford, Kathleen M; Moore, Sue E; Laidre, Kristin L; Heide-Jørgensen, M P

    2008-11-01

    Three songs were recorded from bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus) in Disko Bay, West Greenland, during 59 h of recordings via sonobuoys deployed on seven days between 5 and 14 April 2007. Song elements were defined by units following the protocol of previous description of bowhead whale song. The two most prominent songs were loud, complex, and repeated in long bouts on multiple recording days while the third song was much simpler and recorded on only one day. Bowhead whale simple calls and faint song elements were also recorded using digital audio tape recorders and a dipping hydrophone deployed from the sea ice approximately 100-150 km southwest of Disko Bay on three separate days suggesting that song is also produced in the central portion of Baffin Bay in winter. Songs recorded in Disko Bay are from an area where approximately 85% of the whales have been determined to be adult females. Although it is not known which sex was singing, we speculate that, as in humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), male bowhead whales may sing to mediate sexual competition or mate selection behaviors. This is the first detailed description of springtime songs for bowhead whales in the eastern Arctic. PMID:19045814

  5. Sperm Morphology Assessment in Captive Neotropical Primates.

    PubMed

    Swanson, W F; Valle, R R; Carvalho, F M; Arakaki, P R; Rodas-Martínez, A Z; Muniz, Japc; García-Herreros, M

    2016-08-01

    The main objective of this study was to evaluate sperm morphology in four neotropical primate species to compare the sperm morphological traits and the sperm morphometric parameters as a basis for establishing normative sperm standards for each species. Data from 80 ejaculates collected from four primate species, Callithrix jacchus, Callimico goeldii, Alouatta caraya and Ateles geoffroyi, were analysed for detection of sperm morphological alterations using subjective World Health Organization (WHO-2010) standards and Sperm Deformity Index (SDI) criteria, objective computer-assisted sperm morphometry analysis (CASMA) and subpopulation sperm determination (SSD) methods. There were multiple differences (p < 0.01) observed among primate species in values obtained from WHO-2010, SDI, CASMA and SSD sperm analysis methods. In addition, multiple significant positive and negative correlations were observed between the sperm morphological traits (SDI, Sperm Deformity Index Head Defects, Sperm Deformity Index Midpiece Defects, Sperm Deformity Index Tail Defects, Normal Sperm, Head Defects, Midpiece Defects and Tail Defects) and the sperm morphometric parameters (SSD, Area (A), Perimeter (P), Length (L), Width (W), Ellipticity, Elongation and Rugosity) (p ≤ 0.046). In conclusion, our findings using different evaluation methods indicate that pronounced sperm morphological variation exists among these four neotropical primate species. Because of the strong relationship observed among morphological and morphometric parameters, these results suggest that application of objective analysis methods could substantially improve the reliability of comparative studies and help to establish valid normative sperm values for neotropical primates. PMID:27260333

  6. Sperm donation in Israel.

    PubMed

    Mor-Yosef, S; Schenker, J G

    1995-04-01

    Science and technology in the field of human reproduction present new legal, ethical and religious questions which do not always have immediate answers. The first step in the rapidly developed field of reproductive technology was the use of sperm donation (artificial insemination by donor, AID) and the establishment of sperm banks. The state of Israel faced these problems when the regulations for sperm donation were discussed. The fact that the main holy places for the three monotheistic religions are in Israel directly influences the make-up of the population constituents. Therefore, besides a majority of secular people, a high percentage of the population of Israel is very religious: Jews, Moslems and Christians. Thus any resolution relating to AID should take this demographic combination into account. The practice of AID is opposed by the different monotheistic religions. To avoid the conflict between secular and religious people, and between the different religions' perspectives, the legal problem of AID in Israel was solved not by laws but by regulations which were published by the Ministry of Health. The main idea behind this attitude is that the state and its authorities should not and do not deal with ethical or religious questions. Thus, the decision was left to the couples and to the donors. The regulations address technical requirements, health problems and confidential issues concerning the couple, the donor and the child. In this paper we present the different views relating to these problems as perceived by the different religions, and describe the solution that was accepted by the Israeli Ministry of Health. PMID:7650152

  7. Description and seasonal detection of two potential whale calls recorded in the Indian Ocean.

    PubMed

    Sousa, Andreia G; Harris, Danielle

    2015-09-01

    Unidentified acoustic signals are recorded by hydrophones placed in the world's oceans. Some of these sounds are suspected to originate from marine mammals. In this study, two acoustic signals recorded by two arrays at Diego Garcia in the northern Indian Ocean are described. Data were available between January 2002 and December 2003. Signals were detected manually using long-term spectral average plots. Time and frequency measurements were taken from a sample of both signals. The first unidentified signal [Diego Garcia Downsweep (DGD)] consisted of two main components. The mean frequency range of the entire signal was 19.3-45.0 Hz, with a mean duration of 36.5 s (n = 22). Detections of DGD at the northern array peaked in the austral summer, though detections at the southern array peaked during winter and spring. The second unidentified signal [Diego Garcia Croak (DGC)] consisted of one component with a mean frequency range of 16.9-49.6 Hz. The mean duration of the signal was 13.1 s (n = 10). Detections of DGC did not follow a clear seasonal pattern. These signals followed characteristics of biological sources, suggesting that they could be whale calls. Fin whale calls and possible blue whales D-calls were also identified in the data. PMID:26428776

  8. Repeated call types in Hawaiian melon-headed whales (Peponocephala electra).

    PubMed

    Kaplan, Maxwell B; Aran Mooney, T; Sayigh, Laela S; Baird, Robin W

    2014-09-01

    Melon-headed whales are pantropical odontocetes that are often found near oceanic islands. While considered sound-sensitive, their bioacoustic characteristics are relatively poorly studied. The goal of this study was to characterize the vocal repertoire of melon-headed whales to determine whether they produce repeated calls that could assist in recognition of conspecifics. The first tag-based acoustic recordings of three melon-headed whales were analyzed. Tag records were visually and aurally inspected and all calls were individually extracted. Non-overlapping calls with sufficient signal-to-noise were then parameterized and visually grouped into categories of repeated call types. Thirty-six call categories emerged. Categories differed significantly in duration, peak and centroid frequency, and -3 dB bandwidth. Calls of a given type were more likely to follow each other than expected. These data suggest that repeated calls may function in individual, subgroup, or group recognition. Repeated call production could also serve to enhance signal detection in large groups with many individuals producing simultaneous calls. Results suggest that caution should be used in developing automatic classification algorithms for this species based on small sample sizes, as they may be dominated by repeated calls from a few individuals, and thus not representative of species- or population-specific acoustic parameters. PMID:25190412

  9. Applicability of Information Theory to the Quantification of Responses to Anthropogenic Noise by Southeast Alaskan Humpback Whales

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Doyle, Laurance R.; McCowan, Brenda; Hanser, Sean F.; Chyba, Christopher; Bucci, Taylor; Blue, J. E.

    2008-06-01

    We assess the effectiveness of applying information theory to the characterization and quantification of the affects of anthropogenic vessel noise on humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) vocal behavior in and around Glacier Bay, Alaska. Vessel noise has the potential to interfere with the complex vocal behavior of these humpback whales which could have direct consequences on their feeding behavior and thus ultimately on their health and reproduction. Humpback whale feeding calls recorded during conditions of high vessel-generated noise and lower levels of background noise are compared for differences in acoustic structure, use, and organization using information theoretic measures. We apply information theory in a self-referential manner (i.e., orders of entropy) to quantify the changes in signaling behavior. We then compare this with the reduction in channel capacity due to noise in Glacier Bay itself treating it as a (Gaussian) noisy channel. We find that high vessel noise is associated with an increase in the rate and repetitiveness of sequential use of feeding call types in our averaged sample of humpback whale vocalizations, indicating that vessel noise may be modifying the patterns of use of feeding calls by the endangered humpback whales in Southeast Alaska. The information theoretic approach suggested herein can make a reliable quantitative measure of such relationships and may also be adapted for wider application to many species where environmental noise is thought to be a problem.

  10. Sperm preparation for ART

    PubMed Central

    Henkel, Ralf R; Schill, Wolf-Bernhard

    2003-01-01

    The onset of clinical assisted reproduction, a quarter of a century ago, required the isolation of motile spermatozoa. As the indication of assisted reproduction shifted from mere gynaecological indications to andrological indications during the years, this urged andrological research to understand the physiology of male germ cell better and develop more sophisticated techniques to separate functional spermatozoa from those that are immotile, have poor morphology or are not capable to fertilize oocytes. Initially, starting from simple washing of spermatozoa, separation techniques, based on different principles like migration, filtration or density gradient centrifugation evolved. The most simple and cheapest is the conventional swim-up procedure. A more sophisticated and most gentle migration method is migration-sedimentation. However, its yield is relatively small and the technique is therefore normally only limited to ejaculates with a high number of motile spermatozoa. Recently, however, the method was also successfully used to isolate spermatozoa for intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). Sperm separation methods that yield a higher number of motile spermatozoa are glass wool filtration or density gradient centrifugation with different media. Since Percoll® as a density medium was removed from the market in 1996 for clinical use in the human because of its risk of contamination with endotoxins, other media like IxaPrep®, Nycodenz, SilSelect®, PureSperm® or Isolate® were developed in order to replace Percoll®. Today, an array of different methods is available and the selection depends on the quality of the ejaculates, which also includes production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) by spermatozoa and leukocytes. Ejaculates with ROS production should not be separated by means of conventional swim-up, as this can severely damage the spermatozoa. In order to protect the male germ cells from the influence of ROS and to stimulate their motility to increase the

  11. 50 CFR 218.81 - Effective dates and definitions.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-10-01

    ... concern: beaked whale of any species, Kogia spp., Risso's dolphin, melon-headed whale, pilot whale, North Atlantic right whale, humpback whale, sperm whale, blue whale, fin whale, or sei whale. (iii) A group...

  12. Transcriptomic analysis of cultured whale skin cells exposed to hexavalent chromium [Cr(VI)].

    PubMed

    Pabuwal, Vagmita; Boswell, Mikki; Pasquali, Amanda; Wise, Sandra S; Kumar, Suresh; Shen, Yingjia; Garcia, Tzintzuni; Lacerte, Carolyne; Wise, John Pierce; Wise, John Pierce; Warren, Wesley; Walter, Ronald B

    2013-06-15

    Hexavalent chromium Cr(VI) is known to produce cytotoxic effects in humans and is a highly toxic environmental contaminant. Interestingly, it has been shown that free ranging sperm whales (Phyester macrocephalus) may have exceedingly high levels of Cr in their skin. Also, it has been demonstrated that skin cells from whales appear more resistant to both cytotoxicity and clastogenicity upon Cr exposure compared to human cells. However, the molecular genetic mechanisms employed in whale skin cells that might lead to Cr tolerance are unknown. In an effort to understand the underlying mechanisms of Cr(VI) tolerance and to illuminate global gene expression patterns modulated by Cr, we exposed whale skin cells in culture to varying levels of Cr(VI) (i.e., 0.0, 0.5, 1.0 and 5.0 μg/cm²) followed by short read (100 bp) next generation RNA sequencing (RNA-seq). RNA-seq reads from all exposures (≈280 million reads) were pooled to generate a de novo reference transcriptome assembly. The resulting whale reference assembly had 11K contigs and an N50 of 2954 bp. Using the reads from each dose (0.0, 0.5, 1.0 and 5.0 μg/cm²) we performed RNA-seq based gene expression analysis that identified 35 up-regulated genes and 19 down-regulated genes. The experimental results suggest that low dose exposure to Cr (1.0 μg/cm²) serves to induce up-regulation of oxidative stress response genes, DNA repair genes and cell cycle regulator genes. However, at higher doses (5.0 μg/cm²) the DNA repair genes appeared down-regulated while other genes that were induced suggest the initiation of cytotoxicity. The set of genes identified that show regulatory modulation at different Cr doses provide specific candidates for further studies aimed at determination of how whales exhibit resistance to Cr toxicity and what role(s) reactive oxygen species (ROS) may play in this process. PMID:23584427

  13. Fauna of whale falls: systematics and ecology of a new polychaete (Annelida: Chrysopetalidae) from the deep Pacific Ocean

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dahlgren, Thomas G.; Glover, Adrian G.; Baco, Amy; Smith, Craig R.

    2004-12-01

    Vigtorniella flokati, a new species of polychaete worm associated with decaying whale remains, is described. Three separate V. flokati populations were sampled using submersibles: two associated with implanted gray whale carcasses in the San Diego Trough (1240 m depth) and the Santa Cruz Basin (1670 m) off California, and one from sperm whale and balaeanopterid bones implanted on the slope of Oahu, Hawaii at 1000 m. Extraordinarily large numbers of live specimens were observed and videotaped in situ using submersibles in the San Diego Trough and the Santa Cruz Basin. The populations on the carcass implanted for 4 months in San Diego Trough, and on the bones implanted for 2 years off Oahu, were composed only of small sized individuals (including juveniles). V. flokati most closely resembles the poorly known V. zaikai Kiseleva, 1992, described from the Black Sea. Forty-six morphological characters were used in a phylogenetic analysis of selected nereidiform polychaetes. The resulting most-parsimonious trees indicate sister taxon status between V. flokati and V. zaikai, and that this clade is sister to the putatively ancient polychaete clade Chrysopetalidae. Whale falls, which are intense point sources of organic enrichment at the deep-sea floor, pass through three successional stages. V. flokati appears to colonize the middle, "enrichment opportunist" stage, inhabiting organic-rich bones and sediments ˜4-24 months after carcass arrival. V. flokati exhibits remarkable behavior, clinging posteriorly to whale bones or nearby sediments to form a writhing carpet at densities exceeding 8000 m -2. Its extraordinary abundance on whale falls, and apparent absence from other habitats, suggests it to be a whale-fall specialist. The precise feeding mechanism of the worm remains unknown, but we hypothesize that it may utilize dissolved organic carbon derived from the organic-rich setting of whale falls. The widespread occurrence of V. flokati on ephemeral, food-rich habitat

  14. Targeted Acoustic Data Processing for Ocean Ecological Studies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sidorovskaia, N.; Li, K.; Tiemann, C.; Ackleh, A. S.; Tang, T.; Ioup, G. E.; Ioup, J. W.

    2015-12-01

    The Gulf of Mexico is home to many species of deep diving marine mammals. In recent years several ecological studies have collected large volumes of Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM) data to investigate the effects of anthropogenic activities on protected and endangered marine mammal species. To utilize these data to their fullest potential for abundance estimates and habitat preference studies, automated detection and classification algorithms are needed to extract species acoustic encounters from a continuous stream of data. The species which phonate in overlapping frequency bands represent a particular challenge. This paper analyzes the performance of a newly developed automated detector for the classification of beaked whale clicks in the Northern Gulf of Mexico. Current used beaked whale classification algorithms rely heavily on experienced human operator involvement in manually associating potential events with a particular species of beaked whales. Our detection algorithm is two-stage: the detector is triggered when the species-representative phonation band energy exceeds the baseline detection threshold. Then multiple event attributes (temporal click duration, central frequency, frequency band, frequency sweep rate, Choi-Williams distribution shape indices) are measured. An attribute vector is then used to discriminate among different species of beaked whales present in the Gulf of Mexico and Risso's dolphins which were recognized to mask the detections of beaked whales in the case of widely used energy-band detectors. The detector is applied to the PAM data collected by the Littoral Acoustic Demonstration Center to estimate abundance trends of beaked whales in the vicinity of the 2010 oil spill before and after the disaster. This algorithm will allow automated processing with minimal operator involvement for new and archival PAM data. [The research is supported by a BP/GOMRI 2015-2017 consortium grant.

  15. Behavioral mechanisms of mammalian sperm guidance

    PubMed Central

    Pérez-Cerezales, Serafín; Boryshpolets, Sergii; Eisenbach, Michael

    2015-01-01

    In mammals, sperm guidance in the oviduct appears essential for successful sperm arrival at the oocyte. Hitherto, three different potential sperm guidance mechanisms have been recognized: thermotaxis, rheotaxis, and chemotaxis, each of them using specific stimuli – a temperature gradient, fluid flow, and a chemoattractant gradient, respectively. Here, we review sperm behavioral in these mechanisms and indicate commonalities and differences between them. PMID:25999361

  16. High-frequency modulated signals of killer whales (Orcinus orca) in the North Pacific.

    PubMed

    Simonis, Anne E; Baumann-Pickering, Simone; Oleson, Erin; Melcón, Mariana L; Gassmann, Martin; Wiggins, Sean M; Hildebrand, John A

    2012-04-01

    Killer whales in the North Pacific, similar to Atlantic populations, produce high-frequency modulated signals, based on acoustic recordings from ship-based hydrophone arrays and autonomous recorders at multiple locations. The median peak frequency of these signals ranged from 19.6-36.1 kHz and median duration ranged from 50-163 ms. Source levels were 185-193 dB peak-to-peak re: 1 μPa at 1 m. These uniform, repetitive, down-swept signals are similar to bat echolocation signals and possibly could have echolocation functionality. A large geographic range of occurrence suggests that different killer whale ecotypes may utilize these signals. PMID:22502484

  17. The Northwest Passage opens for bowhead whales.

    PubMed

    Heide-Jørgensen, Mads Peter; Laidre, Kristin L; Quakenbush, Lori T; Citta, John J

    2012-04-23

    The loss of Arctic sea ice is predicted to open up the Northwest Passage, shortening shipping routes and facilitating the exchange of marine organisms between the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans. Here, we present the first observations of distribution overlap of bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus) from the two oceans in the Northwest Passage, demonstrating this route is already connecting whales from two populations that have been assumed to be separated by sea ice. Previous satellite tracking has demonstrated that bowhead whales from West Greenland and Alaska enter the ice-infested channels of the Canadian High Arctic during summer. In August 2010, two bowhead whales from West Greenland and Alaska entered the Northwest Passage from opposite directions and spent approximately 10 days in the same area, documenting overlap between the two populations. PMID:21937490

  18. Bowhead whale, balaena mysticetus bibliography. Final report

    SciTech Connect

    Setzler-Hamilton, E.M.; Oliver, G.W.

    1987-01-01

    This report categorizes the research literature on bowhead whales according to major research topics, issues of concern to Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas development, and geographic areas. The report has an extensive cross index.

  19. Juvenile morphology in baleen whale phylogeny

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tsai, Cheng-Hsiu; Fordyce, R. Ewan

    2014-09-01

    Phylogenetic reconstructions are sensitive to the influence of ontogeny on morphology. Here, we use foetal/neonatal specimens of known species of living baleen whales (Cetacea: Mysticeti) to show how juvenile morphology of extant species affects phylogenetic placement of the species. In one clade (sei whale, Balaenopteridae), the juvenile is distant from the usual phylogenetic position of adults, but in the other clade (pygmy right whale, Cetotheriidae), the juvenile is close to the adult. Different heterochronic processes at work in the studied species have different influences on juvenile morphology and on phylogenetic placement. This study helps to understand the relationship between evolutionary processes and phylogenetic patterns in baleen whale evolution and, more in general, between phylogeny and ontogeny; likewise, this study provides a proxy how to interpret the phylogeny when fossils that are immature individuals are included. Juvenile individuals in the peramorphic acceleration clades would produce misleading phylogenies, whereas juvenile individuals in the paedomorphic neoteny clades should still provide reliable phylogenetic signals.

  20. Having a Whale of a Time

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    du Feu, Chris

    2009-01-01

    A classroom practical exercise exploring the reliability of a basic capture-mark-recapture method of population estimation is described using great whale conservation as a starting point. Various teaching resources are made available.

  1. 19 CFR 12.30 - Whaling.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-04-01

    ...)), or of any regulation issued under the Act (50 CFR part 351) is unlawful. Customs officers and... OF MERCHANDISE Wild Animals, Birds, and Insects § 12.30 Whaling. The importation and exportation...

  2. 19 CFR 12.30 - Whaling.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-04-01

    ...)), or of any regulation issued under the Act (50 CFR part 351) is unlawful. Customs officers and... OF MERCHANDISE Wild Animals, Birds, and Insects § 12.30 Whaling. The importation and exportation...

  3. 19 CFR 12.30 - Whaling.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-04-01

    ...)), or of any regulation issued under the Act (50 CFR part 351) is unlawful. Customs officers and... OF MERCHANDISE Wild Animals, Birds, and Insects § 12.30 Whaling. The importation and exportation...

  4. 19 CFR 12.30 - Whaling.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-04-01

    ...)), or of any regulation issued under the Act (50 CFR part 351) is unlawful. Customs officers and... OF MERCHANDISE Wild Animals, Birds, and Insects § 12.30 Whaling. The importation and exportation...

  5. 19 CFR 12.30 - Whaling.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-04-01

    ...)), or of any regulation issued under the Act (50 CFR part 351) is unlawful. Customs officers and... OF MERCHANDISE Wild Animals, Birds, and Insects § 12.30 Whaling. The importation and exportation...

  6. Juvenile morphology in baleen whale phylogeny

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tsai, Cheng-Hsiu; Fordyce, R. Ewan

    2014-08-01

    Phylogenetic reconstructions are sensitive to the influence of ontogeny on morphology. Here, we use foetal/neonatal specimens of known species of living baleen whales (Cetacea: Mysticeti) to show how juvenile morphology of extant species affects phylogenetic placement of the species. In one clade (sei whale, Balaenopteridae), the juvenile is distant from the usual phylogenetic position of adults, but in the other clade (pygmy right whale, Cetotheriidae), the juvenile is close to the adult. Different heterochronic processes at work in the studied species have different influences on juvenile morphology and on phylogenetic placement. This study helps to understand the relationship between evolutionary processes and phylogenetic patterns in baleen whale evolution and, more in general, between phylogeny and ontogeny; likewise, this study provides a proxy how to interpret the phylogeny when fossils that are immature individuals are included. Juvenile individuals in the peramorphic acceleration clades would produce misleading phylogenies, whereas juvenile individuals in the paedomorphic neoteny clades should still provide reliable phylogenetic signals.

  7. The Northwest Passage opens for bowhead whales

    PubMed Central

    Heide-Jørgensen, Mads Peter; Laidre, Kristin L.; Quakenbush, Lori T.; Citta, John J.

    2012-01-01

    The loss of Arctic sea ice is predicted to open up the Northwest Passage, shortening shipping routes and facilitating the exchange of marine organisms between the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans. Here, we present the first observations of distribution overlap of bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus) from the two oceans in the Northwest Passage, demonstrating this route is already connecting whales from two populations that have been assumed to be separated by sea ice. Previous satellite tracking has demonstrated that bowhead whales from West Greenland and Alaska enter the ice-infested channels of the Canadian High Arctic during summer. In August 2010, two bowhead whales from West Greenland and Alaska entered the Northwest Passage from opposite directions and spent approximately 10 days in the same area, documenting overlap between the two populations. PMID:21937490

  8. Comparative sperm ultrastructure in Nemertea.

    PubMed

    von Döhren, J; Beckers, P; Vogeler, R; Bartolomaeus, T

    2010-07-01

    Although the monophyly of Nemertea is strongly supported by unique morphological characters and results of molecular phylogenetic studies, their ingroup relationships are largely unresolved. To contribute solving this problem we studied sperm ultrastructure of 12 nemertean species that belong to different subtaxa representing the commonly recognized major monophyletic groups. The study yielded a set of 26 characters with an unexpected variation among species of the same genus (Tubulanus and Procephalothrix species), whereas other species varied in metric values or only one character state (Ramphogordius). In some species, the sperm nucleus has grooves (Zygonemertes virescens, Amphiporus imparispinosus) that may be twisted and give a spiral shape to the sperm head (Paranemertes peregrina, Emplectonema gracile). To make the characters from sperm ultrastructure accessible for further phylogenetic analyses, they were coded in a character matrix. Published data for eight species turned out to be sufficiently detailed to be included. Comparative evaluation of available information on the sperm ultrastructure suggests that subtaxa of Heteronemertea and Hoplonemertea are supported as monophyletic by sperm morphology. However, the data do not provide information on the existing contradictions regarding the internal relationships of "Palaeonemertea." Nevertheless, our study provides evidence that sperm ultrastructure yields numerous potentially informative characters that will be included in upcoming phylogenetic analyses. PMID:20544873

  9. Chromosomal abnormalities in human sperm

    SciTech Connect

    Martin, R.H.

    1985-01-01

    The ability to analyze human sperm chromosome complements after penetration of zona pellucida-free hamster eggs provides the first opportunity to study the frequency and type of chromosomal abnormalities in human gametes. Two large-scale studies have provided information on normal men. We have studied 1,426 sperm complements from 45 normal men and found an abnormality rate of 8.9%. Brandriff et al. (5) found 8.1% abnormal complements in 909 sperm from 4 men. The distribution of numerical and structural abnormalities was markedly dissimilar in the 2 studies. The frequency of aneuploidy was 5% in our sample and only 1.6% in Brandriff's, perhaps reflecting individual variability among donors. The frequency of 24,YY sperm was low: 0/1,426 and 1/909. This suggests that the estimates of nondisjunction based on fluorescent Y body data (1% to 5%) are not accurate. We have also studied men at increased risk of sperm chromosomal abnormalities. The frequency of chromosomally unbalanced sperm in 6 men heterozygous for structural abnormalities varied dramatically: 77% for t11;22, 32% for t6;14, 19% for t5;18, 13% for t14;21, and 0% for inv 3 and 7. We have also studied 13 cancer patients before and after radiotherapy and demonstrated a significant dose-dependent increase of sperm chromosome abnormalities (numerical and structural) 36 months after radiation treatment.

  10. Non-song vocalizations of pygmy blue whales in Geographe Bay, Western Australia.

    PubMed

    Recalde-Salas, A; Salgado Kent, C P; Parsons, M J G; Marley, S A; McCauley, R D

    2014-05-01

    Non-song vocalizations of migrating pygmy blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus brevicauda) in Western Australia are described. Simultaneous land-based visual observations and underwater acoustic recordings detected 27 groups in Geographe Bay, WA over 2011 to 2012. Six different vocalizations were recorded that were not repeated in a pattern or in association with song, and thus were identified as non-song vocalizations. Five of these were not previously described for this population. Their acoustic characteristics and context are presented. Given that 56% of groups vocalized, 86% of which produced non-song vocalizations and 14% song units, the inclusion of non-song vocalizations in passive-acoustic monitoring is proposed. PMID:24815291

  11. The masking of beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas) vocalizations by icebreaker noise

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Erbe, Christine

    1998-11-01

    This thesis examines the masking effect of underwater noise on beluga whale communication. As ocean water is greatly opaque for light but well conducting for sound, marine mammals rely primarily on their hearing for orientation and communication. Man-made underwater noise has the potential of interfering with sounds used by marine mammals. Masking to the point of incomprehensibility can have fatal results-for the individual, but ultimately for the entire species. As part of our understanding of whether marine mammals can cope with human impact on nature, this thesis is the first to study the interference of real ocean noises with complex animal vocalizations. At the Vancouver Aquarium, a beluga whale was trained for acoustic experiments, during which masked hearing thresholds were measured. Focus lay on noise created by icebreaking ships in the Arctic. As experiments with trained animals are time and cost expensive, various techniques were examined for their ability to model the whale's response. These were human hearing tests, visual spectrogram discrimination, matched filtering, spectrogram cross-correlation, critical band cross-correlation, adaptive filtering and various types of artificial neural networks. The most efficient method with respect to similarity to the whale's data and speed, was a backpropagation neural net. Masked hearing thresholds would be of little use if they could not be related to accessible quantities in the wild. An ocean sound propagation model was applied to determine critical distances between a noise source, a calling whale and a listening whale. Colour diagrams, called maskograms, were invented to illustrate zones of masking in the wild. Results are that bubbler system noise with a source level of 194 dB re 1 μPa at 1 m has a maximum radius of masking of 15 km in a 3- dimensional ocean. Propeller noise with a source level of 203 dB re 1 μPa at 1 m has a maximum radius of masking of 22 km. A naturally occurring icecracking event

  12. Sperm Proteome Maturation in the Mouse Epididymis

    PubMed Central

    Skerget, Sheri; Rosenow, Matthew A.; Petritis, Konstantinos; Karr, Timothy L.

    2015-01-01

    In mammals, transit through the epididymis, which involves the acquisition, loss and modification of proteins, is required to confer motility and fertilization competency to sperm. The overall dynamics of maturation is poorly understood, and a systems level understanding of the complex maturation process will provide valuable new information about changes occurring during epididymal transport. We report the proteomes of sperm collected from the caput, corpus and cauda segments of the mouse epididymis, identifying 1536, 1720 and 1234 proteins respectively. This study identified 765 proteins that are present in sperm obtained from all three segments. We identified 1766 proteins that are potentially added (732) or removed (1034) from sperm during epididymal transit. Phenotypic analyses of the caput, corpus and cauda sperm proteomes identified 60 proteins that have known sperm phenotypes when mutated, or absent from sperm. Our analysis indicates that as much as one-third of proteins with known sperm phenotypes are added to sperm during epididymal transit. GO analyses revealed that cauda sperm are enriched for specific functions including sperm-egg recognition and motility, consistent with the observation that sperm acquire motility and fertilization competency during transit through the epididymis. In addition, GO analyses revealed that the immunity protein profile of sperm changes during sperm maturation. Finally, we identified components of the 26S proteasome, the immunoproteasome, and a proteasome activator in mature sperm. PMID:26556802

  13. Are Antarctic minke whales unusually abundant because of 20th century whaling?

    PubMed

    Ruegg, Kristen C; Anderson, Eric C; Scott Baker, C; Vant, Murdoch; Jackson, Jennifer A; Palumbi, Stephen R

    2010-01-01

    Severe declines in megafauna worldwide illuminate the role of top predators in ecosystem structure. In the Antarctic, the Krill Surplus Hypothesis posits that the killing of more than 2 million large whales led to competitive release for smaller krill-eating species like the Antarctic minke whale. If true, the current size of the Antarctic minke whale population may be unusually high as an indirect result of whaling. Here, we estimate the long-term population size of the Antarctic minke whale prior to whaling by sequencing 11 nuclear genetic markers from 52 modern samples purchased in Japanese meat markets. We use coalescent simulations to explore the potential influence of population substructure and find that even though our samples are drawn from a limited geographic area, our estimate reflects ocean-wide genetic diversity. Using Bayesian estimates of the mutation rate and coalescent-based analyses of genetic diversity across loci, we calculate the long-term population size of the Antarctic minke whale to be 670,000 individuals (95% confidence interval: 374,000-1,150,000). Our estimate of long-term abundance is similar to, or greater than, contemporary abundance estimates, suggesting that managing Antarctic ecosystems under the assumption that Antarctic minke whales are unusually abundant is not warranted. PMID:20025655

  14. Worldwide structure of mtDNA diversity among Cuvier's beaked whales (Ziphius cavirostris): implications for threatened populations.

    PubMed

    Dalebout, Merel L; Robertson, Kelly M; Frantzis, Alexandros; Engelhaupt, Dan; Mignucci-Giannoni, Antonio A; Rosario-Delestre, Raul J; Baker, C Scott

    2005-10-01

    We present the first description of phylogeographic structure among Cuvier's beaked whales (Ziphius cavirostris) worldwide using mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) control region sequences obtained from strandings (n = 70), incidental fisheries takes (n = 11), biopsy (n = 1), and whale-meat markets (n = 5). Over a 290-base pair fragment, 23 variable sites defined 33 unique haplotypes among the total of 87 samples. Nucleotide diversity at the control region was relatively low (pi = 1.27%+/- 0.723%) compared to wide-ranging baleen whales, but higher than strongly matrifocal sperm, pilot and killer whales. Phylogenetic reconstruction using maximum likelihood revealed four distinct haplotype groups, each of which displayed strong frequency differences among ocean basins, but no reciprocal monophyly or fixed character differences. Consistent with this phylogeographic pattern, an analysis of molecular variance showed high levels of differentiation among ocean basins (F(ST) = 0.14, Phi ST = 0.42; P < 0.001). Estimated rates of female migration among ocean basins were low (generally < or = 2 individuals per generation). Regional sample sizes were too small to detect subdivisions within oceans except in the North Atlantic, where the Mediterranean Sea (n = 12) was highly differentiated due to the presence of two private haplotypes. One market product purchased in South Korea grouped with other haplotypes found only in the North Atlantic, suggesting a violation of current agreements banning international trade in cetacean species. Together, these results demonstrate a high degree of isolation and low maternal gene flow among oceanic, and in some cases, regional populations of Cuvier's beaked whales. This has important implications for understanding the threats of human impact, including fisheries by-catch, direct hunting, and disturbance or mortality from anthropogenic sound. PMID:16156808

  15. Bayesian sperm competition estimates.

    PubMed Central

    Jones, Beatrix; Clark, Andrew G

    2003-01-01

    We introduce a Bayesian method for estimating parameters for a model of multiple mating and sperm displacement from genotype counts of brood-structured data. The model is initially targeted for Drosophila melanogaster, but is easily adapted to other organisms. The method is appropriate for use with field studies where the number of mates and the genotypes of the mates cannot be controlled, but where unlinked markers have been collected for a set of females and a sample of their offspring. Advantages over previous approaches include full use of multilocus information and the ability to cope appropriately with missing data and ambiguities about which alleles are maternally vs. paternally inherited. The advantages of including X-linked markers are also demonstrated. PMID:12663555

  16. Cetacean Acoustics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Au, Whitlow W. L.; Lammers, Marc O.

    The mammalian order cetacea consist of dolphins and whales, animals that are found in all the oceans and seas of the world. A few species even inhabit fresh water lakes and rivers. A list of 80 species of cetaceans in a convenient table is presented by Ridgway [20.1]. These mammals vary considerably in size, from the largest living mammal, the large blue whale (balaenoptera musculus), to the very small harbor porpoise (phocoena phocoena) and Commerson's dolphin (cephalorhynchus commersonnii), which are typically slightly over a meter in length.

  17. A Whale of a Panorama

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2005-01-01

    [figure removed for brevity, see original site] Click on the image for A Whale of a Panorama (QTVR)

    More than 1.5 years into their exploration of Mars, both of NASA's Mars Exploration Rovers continue to send a cornucopia of images to Earth. The results are so spectacular that Deputy Project Manager John Callas recently described them as 'an embarrassment of riches.' Spirit produced this image mosaic, nicknamed the 'Whale Panorama,' two-thirds of the way to the summit of 'Husband Hill,' where the rover investigated martian rocks. On the right side of the panorama is a tilted layer of rocks dubbed 'Larry's Outcrop,' one of several tilted outcrops that scientists examined in April, 2005. They used spatial information to create geologic maps showing the compass orientation and degree of tilting of rock formations in the vicinity. Such information is key to geologic fieldwork because it helps establish if rock layers have been warped since they formed. In this case, scientists have also been studying the mineral and chemical differences, which show that some rocks have been more highly altered than others.

    In the foreground, in the middle of the image mosaic, Spirit is shown with the scientific instruments at the end of its robotic arm positioned on a rock target known as 'Ahab.' The rover was busy collecting elemental chemistry and mineralogy data on the rock at the same time that it was taking 50 individual snapshots with its five panoramic camera filters to create this stunning view of the martian scenery. The twin tracks of the rover's all-terrain wheels are clearly visible on the left.

    This mosaic of images spans about 220 degrees from left to right and is an approximate true-color rendering of the Mars terrain acquired through the panoramic camera's 750-, 530-, and 430-nanometer filters. Spirit collected these images from its 497th martian day, or sol, through its 500th sol (May 27 through May 30, 2005).

  18. Sighting characteristics and photo-identification of Cuvier's beaked whales (Ziphius cavirostris) near San Clemente Island, California: a key area for beaked whales and the military?

    PubMed

    Falcone, Erin A; Schorr, Gregory S; Douglas, Annie B; Calambokidis, John; Henderson, Elizabeth; McKenna, Megan F; Hildebrand, John; Moretti, David

    2009-01-01

    The relationship between beaked whales and certain anthropogenic sounds remains poorly understood and of great interest. Although Cuvier's beaked whales (Ziphius cavirostris) are widely distributed, little is known of their behavior and population structure throughout much of their range. We conducted a series of five combined visual-acoustic marine mammal surveys from 2006 to 2008 in the southern San Nicolas Basin, a site of frequent naval activity off the southern California coast, west of San Clemente Island. The study area was defined by a 1,800 km(2) array of 88 bottom-mounted hydrophones at depths up to 1,850 m. The array was used to vector visual observers toward vocalizing marine mammal species. Thirty-seven groups of Cuvier's beaked whales were encountered during the study period. The overall encounter rate was one group for every 21.0 h of survey effort, and was as high as one group per 10.2 h of effort during the October 2007 survey. Whales were encountered in the deepest portion of the study area, at a mean bottom depth of 1,580 m (SD 138). The average group size was 3.8 individuals (SD 2.4), which was higher than has been reported from other studies of this species. Twenty-four groups were observed over multiple surfacings (median = 4 surfacings, range 2-15). The mean encounter duration of extended sightings was 104 min (SD 98, range 12-466 min) and the mean distance moved over the course of sightings was 1.66 km (SD 1.56, range 0.08-6.65 km). Temporal surfacing patterns during extended encounters were similar to dive behavior described from Cuvier's beaked whales carrying time-depth recording tags. Seventy-eight photographic identifications were made of 58 unique individuals, for an overall resighting rate of 0.26. Whales were sighted on up to 4 days, with duration from first to last sighting spanning 2-79 days. For those whales sighted on subsequent days, the mean distance between subsequent sightings was 8.6 km (SD 7.9). Individuals

  19. Sperm of Doradidae (Teleostei: Siluriformes).

    PubMed

    Quagio-Grassiotto, I; Ortiz, R J; Pérez, M H Sabaj; Oliveira, C

    2011-02-01

    Spermatic characteristics were studied in 10 species representing several distinct groups within the catfish family Doradidae. Interestingly, different types of spermatogenesis, spermiogenesis and spermatozoa are correlated with intrafamilial groups previously proposed for Doradidae. Semi-cystic spermatogenesis, modified Type III spermiogenesis, and biflagellate sperm appear to be unique within Doradidae to the subfamily Astrodoradinae. Other doradid species have sperm with a single flagellum, cystic spermatogenesis, and spermiogenesis of Type I (Pterodoras granulosus, Rhinodoras dorbignyi), Type I modified (Oxydoras kneri), or Type III (Trachydoras paraguayensis). Doradids have an external mode of fertilization, and share a few spermatic characteristics, such as cystic spermatogenesis, Type I spermiogenesis and uniflagellate sperm, with its sister group Auchenipteridae, a family exhibiting sperm modifications associated with insemination and internal fertilization. Semi-cystic spermatogenesis and biflagellate spermatozoa are also found in Aspredinidae, and corroborate recent proposals that Aspredinidae and Doradoidea (Doradidae+Auchenipteridae) are sister groups and that Astrodoradinae occupies a basal position within Doradidae. The co-occurrence in various catfish families of semi-cystic spermatogenesis and either biflagellate spermatozoa (Aspredinidae, Cetopsidae, Doradidae, Malapturidae, Nematogenyidae) or uniflagellate sperm with two axonemes (Ariidae) reinforces the suggestion that such characteristics are correlated. Semi-cystic spermatogenesis and biflagellate sperm may represent ancestral conditions for Loricarioidei and Siluroidei of Siluriformes as they occur in putatively basal members of each suborder, Nematogenyidae and Cetopsidae, respectively. However, if semi-cystic spermatogenesis and biflagellate sperm are ancestral for Siluriformes, cystic spermatogenesis and uniflagellate sperm have arisen independently in multiple lineages including

  20. Sperm Trajectories Form Chiral Ribbons