[MARMAM] New publication: Sperm whale acoustic abundance and dive behaviour in the western North Atlantic (Annabel Westell)

Annabel Westell - NOAA Affiliate annabel.westell at noaa.gov
Tue Oct 18 10:42:26 PDT 2022


My co-authors and I are pleased to announce the open access publication of
our manuscript "Sperm whale acoustic abundance and dive behaviour in the
western North Atlantic" in Scientific Reports.

The publication is freely available here:

Westell, A., Sakai, T., Valtierra, R. *et al.* Sperm whale acoustic
abundance and dive behaviour in the western North Atlantic. *Sci Rep* 12,
16821 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-20868-3.

Sperm whales are an ideal species to study using passive acoustic
technology because they spend the majority of their time underwater and
produce echolocation clicks almost continuously while foraging. Passive
acoustic line transect data collected between June and August 2016 were
used to estimate a depth-corrected acoustic abundance and study the dive
behaviour of foraging sperm whales in the western North Atlantic Ocean. 2D
localizations (n = 699) were truncated at a slant range of 6500 m and
combined with the multipath arrivals of surface reflected echoes to
calculate 3D localizations (n = 274). Distance sampling using
depth-corrected perpendicular distances resulted in a 10.5% change in the
acoustic abundance estimate (2199 whales, CV = 14.6%) compared to
uncorrected slant ranges (1969 whales, CV = 14.1%), and a detection
function that was a better fit for the data. Sperm whales exhibited
multiple foraging strategies, with bottom phases occurring at depths of
400–800, 800–1200, or > 1200 m, accounting for an average 39.2, 49.5, or
44.9% of the total recorded dive time, respectively. These results suggest
that estimating 3D localizations using acoustic line transect data improves
acoustic abundance estimation and can be used to answer population level
questions about foraging ecology.

Please contact me if you have any questions.

Thank you,
Annabel Westell, Contractor
Passive Acoustic Research Group | Northeast Fisheries Science Center
166 Water Street, Woods Hole, MA 02543 USA
Email: Annabel.Westell at noaa.gov
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