Detection and classification of narrow-band high frequency echolocation clicks from drifting recorders
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Detection and classification of narrow-band high frequency echolocation clicks from drifting recorders
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    The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 147(5), 3511-3522
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  • Description:
    In the California Current off the United States West Coast, there are three offshore cetacean species that produce narrow-band high frequency (NBHF) echolocation pulses: Dall's porpoise (Phocoenoides dalli) and two species of Kogia. NBHF pulses exist in a highly specialized acoustic niche thought to be outside the hearing range of killer whales and other potential mammal-eating odontocetes. Very little is known about the dwarf and pygmy sperm whales (K. sima and K. breviceps), including their NBHF pulse characteristics. This paper presents a multivariate clustering method using data from unmanned drifting acoustic recorders and visually verified porpoise recordings to discriminate between probable porpoise and Kogia clicks. Using density clustering, this study finds three distinct clusters whose geographic distributions are consistent with the known habitat range for Kogia and Dall's porpoise. A Random Forest classification model correctly assigned 97% of the clicks to their cluster. Visually verified Dall's porpoise clicks from towed hydrophones were strongly associated with one of the clusters, while a second cluster tended to be outside the geographic range of Dall's porpoise and unlike the Dall's porpoise cluster. These clicks, presumed to be made by Kogia, exhibited greater spectral variance than previous Kogia echolocation studies. It is possible that the structure of Kogia NBHF pulses may not be as stereotypical as previously described.
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