National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2017

A real-time acoustic observing system (RAOS) for killer whales

Matsumoto, H., A. Turpin, J. Haxel, C. Meinig, M. Craig, D. Tagawa, H. Klinck, and B. Hanson

In Oceans '16 MTS/IEEE, Marine Technology Society and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, IEEE, Monterey, Calif., 19–23 September 2016 (2016)

A prototype real-time, passive-acoustic observing system for killer whales was developed and tested off the coast of Newport, Oregon, USA. The system consists of two modules: 1) the passive-acoustic monitoring (PAM) module, which sits on the seafloor and continuously monitors the underwater soundscape for killer whale calls, and 2) a surface buoy, which receives information on acoustics detections from the PAM module via an underwater acoustic modem link and relays the information to shore via an Iridium™ satellite connection. The system was deployed in ~65 m deep water off Oregon in September 2015 for five days, during which the real-time detection capability was tested. A high rate of false positive detections was observed. Later analysis revealed that Dolphin clicks and impulsive sounds by invertebrate caused detection errors. During the experiment, killer whale sounds were projected with an underwater playback system to validate the detection algorithm.

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