[MARMAM] New publication: Estimating effective detection area of static passive acoustic data loggers from playback experiments with cetacean vocalisations.

Hanna Nuuttila hannanuuttila at gmail.com
Fri Oct 26 11:20:58 PDT 2018

Dear colleagues,

We are pleased to announce the following publication in the Methods of
Ecology and Evolution entitled:

Estimating effective detection area of static passive acoustic data loggers
from playback experiments with cetacean vocalisations.


Hanna K. Nuuttila  Katharina Brundiers  Michael Dähne  Jens C. Koblitz  Len
Thomas  Winnie Courtene‐Jones  Peter G. H. Evans  John R. Turner  Jim D.
Bennell  Jan G. Hiddink

Passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) is used for many vocal species. However,
few studies have quantified the fraction of vocalisations captured, and how
animal distance and sound source level affect detection probability.
Quantifying the detection probability or effective detection area (EDA) of
a recorder is a prerequisite for designing and implementing monitoring
studies, and essential for estimating absolute density and abundance from
PAM data.
We tested the detector performance of cetacean click loggers (C‐PODs) using
artificial and recorded harbour porpoise clicks played at a range of
distances and source levels. Detection rate of individual clicks and click
sequences (or click trains) was calculated. A Generalised Additive Model
(GAM) was used to create a detection function and estimate the effective
detection radius (EDR) and EDA for both types of signals.
Source level and distance from logger influenced the detection probability.
Whilst differences between loggers were evident, detectability was
influenced more by the deployment site than within‐logger variability.
Maximum distance for detecting real recorded porpoise clicks was 566 m.
Mean EDR for artificial signals with source level 176 dB re 1 μPa @ 1m was
187 m., and for a recorded vocalisation with source level up to 182 dB re 1
μPa was 188 m. For detections classified as harbour porpoise click
sequences the mean EDR was 72 m.
The analytical methods presented are a valid technique for estimating the
EDA of any logger used in abundance estimates. We present a practical way
to obtain data with a cetacean click logger, with the caveat that
artificial playbacks cannot mimic real animal behaviour and are at best
able to account for some of the variability in detections between sites,
removing logger and propagation effects so that what remains is density and
behavioural differences. If calibrated against real‐world EDAs (e.g., from
tagged animals) it is possible to estimate site‐specific detection area and
absolute density. We highlight the importance of accounting for both
biological and environmental factors affecting vocalisations so that
accurate estimates of detection area can be determined, and effective
monitoring regimes implemented.
This completes a set of publications on the performance on acoustic data
loggers, C-PODs. For more information and access to the previous papers
Sostres Alonso, M. & Nuuttila, H. (2014). Detection rates of wild harbour
porpoises and bottlenose dolphins using static acoustic click loggers vary
with depth. Bioacoustics, 1-10.
Nuuttila, H., Thomas, L., Hiddink, J., Meier, R., Turner, J., Bennell, J.,
et. al. (2013). Acoustic detection probability of bottlenose dolphins,
Tursiops truncatus, with static acoustic dataloggers in Cardigan Bay,
Wales. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 134(3), 2596
https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa19381 doi:10.1121/1.4816586
Nuuttila, H. (2013). Identifying Foraging Behaviour of Wild Bottlenose
Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) and Harbour Porpoises (Phocoena phocoena)
with Static Acoustic Dataloggers. Aquatic Mammals 39(2), 147-161.
https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa19382 doi:10.1578/AM.39.2.2013.147
Kind regards,

<’((><    <’((><    <’((><    <’((><   <’((><
Dr. Hanna Nuuttila
SEACAMS2 Scientific Officer
Open ocean ecology, marine mammals & marine renewables
College of Science,  Wallace Building Swansea University, Singleton Park ,
Swansea, Wales
Coleg Gwyddoniaeth, Adelaid Wallace Prifysgol Abertawe, Parc Singleton,
Abertawe, Cymru
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