Male sperm whale acoustic behavior observed from multipaths at a single hydrophone

Abstract : Sperm whales generate transient sounds (clicks) when foraging. These clicks have been described as echolocation sounds, a result of having measured the source level and the directionality of these signals and having extrapolated results from biosonar tests made on some small odontocetes. The authors propose a passive acoustic technique requiring only one hydrophone to investigate the acoustic behavior of free-ranging sperm whales. They estimate whale pitch angles from the multipath distribution of click energy. They emphasize the close bond between the sperm whale's physical and acoustic activity, leading to the hypothesis that sperm whales might, like some small odontocetes, control click level and rhythm. An echolocation model estimating the range of the sperm whale's targets from the interclick interval is computed and tested during different stages of the whale's dive. Such a hypothesis on the echolocation process would indicate that sperm whales echolocate their prey layer when initiating their dives and follow a methodic technique when foraging.
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Christophe Laplanche, Olivier Adam, Maciej Lopatka, Jean-François Motsch. Male sperm whale acoustic behavior observed from multipaths at a single hydrophone. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, Acoustical Society of America, 2005, Vol. 118, pp. 2677-2687. ⟨10.1121/1.2033567⟩. ⟨hal-00797687⟩



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