Three-dimensional tracking of Cuvier's beaked whales' echolocation sounds using nested hydrophone arrays.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1121/1.4927417
Cuvier's beaked whales (Ziphius cavirostris) were tracked using two volumetric small-aperture (∼1 m element spacing) hydrophone arrays, embedded into a large-aperture (∼1 km element spacing) seafloor hydrophone array of five nodes. This array design can reduce the minimum number of nodes that are needed to record the arrival of a strongly directional echolocation sound from 5 to 2, while providing enough time-differences of arrivals for a three-dimensional localization without depending on any additional information such as multipath arrivals. To illustrate the capabilities of this technique, six encounters of up to three Cuvier's beaked whales were tracked over a two-month recording period within an area of 20 km(2) in the Southern California Bight. Encounter periods ranged from 11 min to 33 min. Cuvier's beaked whales were found to reduce the time interval between echolocation clicks while alternating between two inter-click-interval regimes during their descent towards the seafloor. Maximum peak-to-peak source levels of 179 and 224 dB re 1 μPa @ 1 m were estimated for buzz sounds and on-axis echolocation clicks (directivity index = 30 dB), respectively. Source energy spectra of the on-axis clicks show significant frequency components between 70 and 90 kHz, in addition to their typically noted FM upsweep at 40-60 kHz.