Locating North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis) in the Bay of Fundy using multiple sonobuoys


  1. Laurinolli, M.H.
  2. Hay, A.E.
Corporate Authors
Defence Research Establishment Atlantic, Dartmouth NS (CAN);Dalhousie Univ, Halifax NS (CAN) Dept of Oceanography
In July 1999, a 160 km2 array of 17 sonobuoys was deployed in the Grand Manan Basin area of the Bay of Fundy within the designated North Atlantic right wale conservation area. The objectives of this study were to determine the accuracy of locating right whales based on their sounds; to estimate source levels of these sounds; and to determine sound travel distances. Two general types of sounds were identified, typical tonal vocalisations and broad band 0.2 s duration 'gunshots'. Tonal vocalisations occured at 0.9 min 1(-) and their locations were determined to within 1.92 km2 (+ or - 2.65 km2 SD) on average. Gunshot type sounds were detected at 0.3 min 1(-) and determined to within 4.89 km2 (+ or - 4.80 km2 SD) on average. Right whale sound source levels were estimated to be 142-179 dB re 1 mu Pa2/Hz @ 1 m. Source levels appeared to be dependent on frequency. The mean distance to sounds detected was 9.92 km. The average signal-to-noise ratio was 13.64 dB, with a minimum of 5 dB. Signal-to-noise did not depend on frequency or distance. Further research is continuing to investigate methods of automatically detecting right whale sounds in order to improve the possibility of implementing a real-time whale tracking system.

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Acoustic data;Marine mammals;Right whales;Vocalisation;Whale emissions;Wildlife conservation
Report Number
DREA-CR-2001-062 — Contractor Report
Date of publication
01 Sep 2001
Number of Pages
Hardcopy;Document Image stored on Optical Disk

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