[MARMAM] review of communication masking in marine mammals

C Erbe erbe_c at yahoo.com
Thu Jan 14 11:03:48 PST 2016

Happy new year, folks.

The below article might be of interest to some. It’s a review of masking in marine mammals, including a summary of all available audiogram data, critical ratios and bandwidths for all marine mammal species.

C. Erbe, C. Reichmuth, K. C. Cunningham, K. Lucke and R. J. Dooling, "Communication masking in marine mammals: A review and research strategy," Marine Pollution Bulletin (2016). doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2015.12.007

Underwater noise, whether of natural or anthropogenic origin, has the ability to interfere with the way in which marine mammals receive acoustic signals (i.e., for communication, social interaction, foraging, navigation, etc.). This phenomenon, termed auditory masking, has been well studied in humans and terrestrial vertebrates (in particular birds), but less so in marine mammals. Anthropogenic underwater noise seems to be increasing in parts of the world’s oceans and concerns about associated bioacoustic effects, including masking, are growing. In this article, we review our understanding of masking in marine mammals, summarise data on marine mammal hearing as they relate to masking (including audiograms, critical ratios, critical bandwidths, and auditory integration times), discuss masking release processes of receivers (including comodulation masking release and spatial release from masking) and anti-masking strategies of signalers (e.g. Lombard effect), and set a research framework for improved assessment of potential masking in marine mammals. 

The article is open access and can be downloaded for free here: 

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0025326X15302125 <http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0025326X15302125>


Christine Erbe
Director | Centre for Marine Science & Technology
Curtin University
GPO Box U1987
Perth, Western Australia 6845
Web | http://cmst.curtin.edu.au <http://cmst.curtin.edu.au/>

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