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High-frequency Acoustic Recording Package (HARP) for broad-band, long-term marine mammal monitoring

  • Author(s): Wiggins, Sean M
  • Hildebrand, John A
  • et al.
Abstract

Advancements in low-power and high-data-capacity consumer computer technology during the past decade have been adapted to autonomously record sounds from marine mammals over long periods. Acoustic monitoring has advantages over traditional visual surveys including greater detection ranges, continuous long-term monitoring in remote locations under various weather conditions and independent of daylight, and lower cost. However, until recently, the technology required to autonomously record whale sounds over long durations has been limited to low-frequency (< 1000 Hz) baleen whales. The need for a broader-band, higher-data capacity system capable of autonomously recording toothed whales and other marine mammals for long periods has prompted the development of a High-frequency Acoustic Recording Package (HARP) capable of sample rates up to 200 kHz. Currently, HARPs accumulate data at a rate of almost 2 TB per instrument deployment which creates challenges for processing these large data sets. One method we employ to address some of these challenges is a spectral averaging algorithm in which the data are compressed and viewed as long duration spectrograms. These spectrograms provide the ability to view large amounts of data quickly for events of interest, and they provide a link for quickly accessing the short time-scale data for more detailed analysis. HARPs are currently in use worldwide to acoustically monitor marine mammals for behavioral and ecological long-term studies. The HARP design is described and data analysis strategies along with software tools are discussed using examples of broad-band recorded data.

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