Characterisation of North Atlantic right whale (Eubaleana glacialis) underwater vocalisations recorded in the Bay of Fundy, July 1999


  1. Vanderlaan, A.S.M.
  2. Hay, A.E.
  3. Taggart, C.T.
Corporate Authors
Defence Research Establishment Atlantic, Dartmouth NS (CAN);Dalhousie Univ, Halifax NS (CAN) Dept of Oceanography
Hydrohpone recordings made in the presence of a North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) aggregation in July 1999 provide data for part of a pilot study to assess the feasibility of a passive acoustic whale monitoring and locating system. Digitised vocalisations are quantified in the time and frequency domains to classify the vocalisations in terms of frequency, modulation, duration, harmonics, and time between individual vocalisations. The majority of the mean fundamental frequencies range between 340 and 600 Hz and on average the duration of the vocalisations was 0.42 seconds + 0.26s SD. Right whale vocalisations are frequency and amplitude modulated and a 95% confidence interval for modulation relative to the mean fundamental frequency is (-0.82 0.46). Harmonics and non-harmonic frequency bands above the fundamental were seen in 27% of the vocalisations and may not be significant characteristics in terms of monitoring. Vocalisations occur at a rate of 0.32 to 0.69 per minute, suggesting that North Atlantic right whales are vocalizing sufficiently for monitoring. The vocalisations of North Atlantic right whales contain distinct characteristics that are detectable and can be quantified to allow for automated monitoring of right whales in the Bay of Fundy.

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Marine mammals;Wildlife conservation;Acoustic data;Whale emissions;Right whales;Vocalisation;Automated detection
Report Number
DREA-CR-2000-117 — Contractor Report
Date of publication
01 Jul 2000
Number of Pages
Hardcopy;Document Image stored on Optical Disk

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