Dolphins emit short ultrasonic pulses (clicks) to acquire information about the surrounding environment, prey and habitat features. We investigated Delphinidae activity over multiple temporal scales through the detection of their echolocation clicks, using long-term Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM). The Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare operates multidisciplinary seafloor observatories in a deep area of the Central Mediterranean Sea. The Ocean noise Detection Experiment collected data offshore the Gulf of Catania from January 2005 to November 2006, allowing the study of temporal patterns of dolphin activity in this deep pelagic zone for the first time. Nearly 5,500 five-minute recordings acquired over two years were examined using spectrogram analysis and through development and testing of an automatic detection algorithm. Echolocation activity of dolphins was mostly confined to nighttime and crepuscular hours, in contrast with communicative signals (whistles). Seasonal variation, with a peak number of clicks in August, was also evident, but no effect of lunar cycle was observed. Temporal trends in echolocation corresponded to environmental and trophic variability known in the deep pelagic waters of the Ionian Sea. Long-term PAM and the continued development of automatic analysis techniques are essential to advancing the study of pelagic marine mammal distribution and behaviour patterns.

Long-Term Monitoring of Dolphin Biosonar Activity in Deep Pelagic Waters of the Mediterranean Sea

BELLIA, Giorgio Concetto;
2017

Abstract

Dolphins emit short ultrasonic pulses (clicks) to acquire information about the surrounding environment, prey and habitat features. We investigated Delphinidae activity over multiple temporal scales through the detection of their echolocation clicks, using long-term Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM). The Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare operates multidisciplinary seafloor observatories in a deep area of the Central Mediterranean Sea. The Ocean noise Detection Experiment collected data offshore the Gulf of Catania from January 2005 to November 2006, allowing the study of temporal patterns of dolphin activity in this deep pelagic zone for the first time. Nearly 5,500 five-minute recordings acquired over two years were examined using spectrogram analysis and through development and testing of an automatic detection algorithm. Echolocation activity of dolphins was mostly confined to nighttime and crepuscular hours, in contrast with communicative signals (whistles). Seasonal variation, with a peak number of clicks in August, was also evident, but no effect of lunar cycle was observed. Temporal trends in echolocation corresponded to environmental and trophic variability known in the deep pelagic waters of the Ionian Sea. Long-term PAM and the continued development of automatic analysis techniques are essential to advancing the study of pelagic marine mammal distribution and behaviour patterns.
Multidisciplinary
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11769/310865
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