[MARMAM] New methods paper: An autonomous hydrophone array to study the acoustic ecology of deep-water toothed whales (Chloe Malinka)

Chloe Malinka chloe.e.malinka at gmail.com
Wed Feb 26 23:17:14 PST 2020

Dear colleagues,

We are pleased to share our new publication:

Malinka C, Atkins J, Johnson M, Pernille Tønnesen P, Dunn C, Claridge D,
Aguilar de Soto N, & PT Madsen (2020) "*An autonomous hydrophone array to
study the acoustic ecology of deep-water toothed whales*." *Deep Sea
Research I*. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dsr.2020.103233

*Abstract of abstract:*
- We developed an autonomous deep-water, large-aperture vertical hydrophone
array using off-the-shelf components to address challenge of recording
time-synchronised, high sample rate acoustic data at depth.
- Array recordings can be used to quantify source parameters of toothed
whale clicks.
- We report on the design and performance of the portable and lightweight
- Step-by-step directions on how to construct the array, as well as an
analysis library for time synchronisation, are provided.

For vocal animals with distinctive calls, passive acoustic monitoring can
be used to infer presence, distribution, and abundance provided that the
calls and calling behaviour are known. Key to enabling quantitative
acoustic surveys are calibrated recordings of identified species from which
the source parameters of the sounds can be estimated. Obtaining such
information from free-ranging aquatic animals such as toothed whales
requires multi-element hydrophone arrays, the use of which is often
constrained by cost, the logistical challenge of long cables, and the
necessity for attachment to a boat or mooring in order to digitise and
store multiple channels of high-sample rate audio data. Such challenges are
compounded when collecting recordings or tracking the diving behaviour of
deep-diving animals for which the array must be deployed at depth. Here we
report the development of an autonomous drifting deep-water vertical
passive acoustic array that uses readily available off-the-shelf
components. This lightweight portable array can be deployed quickly and
repeatedly to depths of up to 1000 m from a small boat. The array comprises
seven ST-300 HF SoundTrap autonomous recorders equally spaced on an 84 m
electrical-mechanical cable. The single-channel digital sound recordings
were configured to allow for synchronisation in post-processing using an
RS-485 timing signal logged by all channels every second. We outline how to
assemble the array, and provide software for time-synchronising the
acoustic recorders. To demonstrate the utility of the array, we present an
example of short-finned pilot whale clicks localised on the deep-water (700
m) array configuration. This array method has broad applicability for the
cost-effective study of source parameters, acoustic ecology, and diving
behaviour of deep diving toothed whales, which are valuable not only to
understand the sensory ecology of deep-diving cetaceans, but also to
improve passive acoustic monitoring for conservation and management.

Please get in touch for a PDF.


*Chloe Malinka*
PhD Fellow
Marine Bioacoustics Lab <https://marinebioacoustics.wordpress.com/>
Dept. Biology, Aarhus University, Denmark.
twitter: @c_malinka <https://twitter.com/c_malinka>
email:  chloe.e.malinka at gmail.com
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