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Variations in received levels on a sound and movement tag on a singing humpback whale: Implications for caller identification
  • Published Date:
    2020
  • Source:
    The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 147(5)
Filetype[PDF-1.99 MB]


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  • Description:
    Bio-logging devices are advancing the understanding of marine animal behavior, but linking sound production and behavior of individual baleen whales is still unreliable. Tag placement potentially within the near field of the sound source creates uncertainty about how tagged animal sounds will register on recorders. This study used data from a tagged singing humpback whale to evaluate this question of how sound levels present on a tag when calls are produced by a tagged animal. Root-mean-square (rms) received levels (RLs) of song units ranged from 112 to 164 dB re 1 μPa rms, with some, but not all, of the lower frequency units registering on the tag's 800 Hz accelerometer sensor. Fifty-nine percent of recorded units measured lower acoustic RLs than previously reported source levels for humpback song, but signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs) were 30–45 dB during periods of the dive with low noise. This research highlights that tag RL does not alone predict caller identity, argues for higher SNR thresholds if using SNR to inform decisions about the source of a call, and provides a baseline for future research identifying diagnostic properties of tagged animal calls in cetacean bioacoustic tag datasets.
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