[MARMAM] New Publication on classifying and quantifying similarity in humpback whale song units

Jennifer Allen j.allen3 at uq.edu.au
Mon Oct 30 08:44:34 PDT 2017

Dear MARMAM subscribers,

We are pleased to announce the publication of the following paper in The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America:

Allen, J. A., Murray, A., Garland, E. C., Noad, M. J., & Dunlop, R. A.  (2017). Using self-organizing maps to classify humpback whale song units and quantify their similarity.  Journal for the Acoustical Society of America. Vol. 142 no. 4 pp. 1943-1952. http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.4982040?


Classification of vocal signals can be undertaken using a wide variety of qualitative and quantitative techniques. Using east Australian humpback whale song from 2002 to 2014, a subset of vocal signals was acoustically measured and then classified using a Self-Organizing Map (SOM). The SOM created (1) an acoustic dictionary of units representing the song's repertoire, and (2) Cartesian distance measurements among all unit types (SOM nodes). Utilizing the SOM dictionary as a guide, additional song recordings from east Australia were rapidly (manually) transcribed. To assess the similarity in song sequences, the Cartesian distance output from the SOM was applied in Levenshtein distance similarity analyses as a weighting factor to better incorporate unit similarity in the calculation (previously a qualitative process). SOMs provide a more robust and repeatable means of categorizing acoustic signals along with a clear quantitative measurement of sound type similarity based on acoustic features. This method can be utilized for a wide variety of acoustic databases especially those containing very large datasets and can be applied across the vocalization research community to help address concerns surrounding inconsistency in manual classification.

Best wishes,

Jenny Allen?

Jenny Allen BSc, MRes
PhD Candidate
Cetacean Ecology and Acoustics Laboratory
School of Veterinary Science
University of Queensland Gatton Campus
QLD, Australia 4343

mobile (AUS): +61 424 773 994
mobile (US): +1 508 281 1813
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