The acoustic field on the forehead of echolocating Atlantic bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus)

J Acoust Soc Am. 2010 Sep;128(3):1426-34. doi: 10.1121/1.3372643.

Abstract

Arrays of up to six broadband suction cup hydrophones were placed on the forehead of two bottlenose dolphins to determine the location where the beam axis emerges and to examine how signals in the acoustic near-field relate to signals in the far-field. Four different array geometries were used; a linear one with hydrophones arranged along the midline of the forehead, and two around the front of the melon at 1.4 and 4.2 cm above the rostrum insertion, and one across the melon in certain locations not measured by other configurations. The beam axis was found to be close to the midline of the melon, approximately 5.4 cm above the rostrum insert for both animals. The signal path coincided with the low-density, low-velocity core of the melon; however, the data suggest that the signals are focused mainly by the air sacs. Slight asymmetry in the signals were found with higher amplitudes on the right side of the forehead. Although the signal waveform measured on the melon appeared distorted, when they are mathematically summed in the far-field, taking into account the relative time of arrival of the signals, the resultant waveform matched that measured by the hydrophone located at 1 m.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acoustics
  • Animals
  • Bottle-Nosed Dolphin / anatomy & histology
  • Bottle-Nosed Dolphin / physiology*
  • Echolocation*
  • Forehead / anatomy & histology
  • Forehead / physiology*
  • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Sound Spectrography