National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2013

Tracking beaked whales with a passive acoustic profiler float

Matsumoto, H., C. Jones, H. Klinck, D.K. Mellinger, R.P. Dziak, and C. Meinig

J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 133(2), 731–740, doi: 10.1121/1.4773260 (2013)

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.

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