Source levels and harmonic content of whistles in white-beaked dolphins (Lagenorhynchus albirostris)

J Acoust Soc Am. 2006 Jul;120(1):510-7. doi: 10.1121/1.2202865.


Recordings of white-beaked dolphin whistles were made in Faxafl6i Bay (Iceland) using a three-hydrophone towed linear array. Signals from the hydrophones were routed through an amplifier to a lunch box computer on board the boat and digitized using a sample rate of 125 kHz per channel. Using this method more than 5000 whistles were recorded. All recordings were made in sea states 0-1 (Beaufort scale). Dolphins were located in a 2D horizontal plane by using the difference of arrival time to the three hydrophones, and source levels were estimated from these positions using two different methods (I and II). Forty-three whistles gave a reliable location for the vocalizing dolphin when using method II and of these 12 when using method I. Source level estimates on the center hydrophone were higher using method I [average source level 148 (rms) +/- 12 dB, n = 36] than for method II [average source level 139 (rms) +/- 12 dB, n = 36]. Using these rms values the maximum possible communication range for whistling dolphins given the local ambient noise conditions was then estimated. The maximum range was 10.5 km for a dolphin whistle with the highest source level (167 dB) and about 140 m for a whistle with the lowest source level (118 dB). Only two of the 43 whistles contained an unequal number of harmonics recorded at the three hydrophones judging from the spectrograms. Such signals could be used to calculate the directionality of whistles, but more recordings are necessary to describe the directionality of white-beaked dolphin whistles.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustics*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Dolphins / physiology*
  • Sound Spectrography
  • Tape Recording
  • Vocalization, Animal / physiology*