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Diving behavior of Cuvier's beaked whales inferred from three-dimensional acoustic localization and tracking using a nested array of drifting hydrophone recorders

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Abstract

Echolocation pulses from Cuvier's beaked whales are used to track the whales' three-dimensional diving behavior in the Catalina Basin, California. In 2016, five 2-element vertical hydrophone arrays were suspended from the surface and drifted at ∼100-m depth. Cuvier's beaked whale pulses were identified, and vertical detection angles were estimated from time-differences-of-arrival of either direct-path signals received on two hydrophones or direct-path and surface-reflected signals received on the same hydrophone. A Bayesian state-space model is developed to track the diving behavior. The model is fit to these detection angle estimates from at least four of the drifting vertical arrays. Results show that the beaked whales were producing echolocation pulses and are presumed to be foraging at a mean depth of 967 m (standard deviation = 112 m), approximately 300 m above the bottom in this basin. Some whales spent at least some time at or near the bottom. Average swim speed was 1.2 m s-1, but swim direction varied during a dive. The average net horizontal speed was 0.6 m s-1. Results are similar to those obtained from previous tagging studies of this species. These methods may allow expansion of dive studies to other whale species that are difficult to tag.

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2030-2041
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Volume144
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 10 Oct 2018

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