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- Using accelerometers to determine the calling behavior of tagged baleen whales
- Low-frequency acoustic signals generated by baleen whales can propgate over vast distances, making the assignment of calls to specific individuals problematic. Here, we report the novel use of acoustic recording tags equipped with high-resolution accelerometers to detect vibrations from the surface of two tagged fin whales that directly match the timing of recorded acoustic signals. A tag deployed on a buoy in the vicinity of calling fin whales and a recording from a tag that had just fallen off a whale were able to detect calls acoustically but did not record corresponding accelerometer signals that were measured on calling individuals. Across the hundreds of calls measured on two tagged fin whales, the accelerometers response was generally anisotropic across all three axes, appeared to depend on tag placement and increased with the level of received sound. These data demonstrate that high-sample rate accelerometry can provide important insights into the acoustic behavior of baleen whales that communicate at low frequencies. This method helps identify vocalizing whales, which in turn enables the quantification of call rates, a fundamental component of models used to estimate baleen whale abundance and distribution from passive acoustic monitoring.
- Goldbogen, Stimpert, DeRuiter, Calambokidis, Friedlaender, Schorr, Moretti, Tyack, Southall
- Using Digital Tags With Integrated Video and Inertial Sensors to Study Moving Morphology and Associated Function in Large Aquatic Vertebrates
- The anatomy of large cetaceans has been well documented, mostly through dissection of dead specimens. However, the difficulty of studying the world's largest animals in their natural environment means the functions of anatomical structures must be inferred. Recently, non-invasive tracking devices have been developed that measure body position and orientation, thereby enabling the detailed reconstruction of underwater trajectories. The addition of cameras to the whale-borne tags allows the sensor data to be matched with real-time observations of how whales use their morphological structures, such as flukes, flippers, feeding apparatuses, and blowholes for the physiological functions of locomotion, feeding, and breathing. Here, we describe a new tag design with integrated video and inertial sensors and how it can be used to provide insights to the function of whale anatomy. This technology has the potential to facilitate a wide range of discoveries and comparative studies, but many challenges remain to increase the resolution and applicability of the data. Anat Rec, 300:1935–1941, 2017.
- Goldbogen, Cade, Boersma, Calambokidis, Kahane-Rapport, Segre, Stimpert, Friedlaender