A Bayesian method to estimate the depth and the range of phonating sperm whales using a single hydrophone

Abstract : Some bioacousticians have used a single hydrophone to calculate the depth/range of phonating diving animals. The standard one-hydrophone localization method uses multipath transmissions (direct path, sea surface, and seafloor reflections) of the animal phonations as a substitute for a vertical hydrophone array. The standard method requires three multipath transmissions per phonation. Bioacousticians who study foraging sperm whales usually do not have the required amount of multipath transmissions. However, they usually detect accurately (using shallow hydrophones towed by research vessels) direct path transmissions and sea surface reflections of sperm whale phonations (clicks). Sperm whales emit a few thousand clicks per foraging dive, therefore researchers have this number of direct path transmissions and this number of sea surface reflections per dive. The author describes a Bayesian method to combine the information contained in those acoustic data plus visual observations. The author's tests using synthetic data show that the accurate estimation of the depth/range of sperm whales is possible using a single hydrophone and without using any seafloor reflections. This method could be used to study the behavior of sperm whales using a single hydrophone in any location no matter what the depth, the relief, or the constitution of the seafloor might be.
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Christophe Laplanche. A Bayesian method to estimate the depth and the range of phonating sperm whales using a single hydrophone. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, Acoustical Society of America, 2007, Vol. 121, pp. 1519-1528. ⟨10.1121/1.2436644⟩. ⟨hal-00797709⟩

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