Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

 

Characterization of blue whale calls from the northeast Pacific and development of a matched filter to locate blue whales on the U.S. Navy SOSUS (SOund SUrveillance System) arrays Public Deposited

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  • Blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) are the largest of the baleen whales. Blue whale calls were recorded off the coast of California in fall, 1993 and measured for frequency and time characteristics. On average, blue whale calls lasted 16 s, swept down from 18.9 to 17.3 Hz and were repeated every 38 s. These results are similar to blue whale calls recorded elsewhere in that they possess a frequency downsweep component which lasts from 16-18 s. Ambient noise levels in the ocean due to sources such as wind, waves or shipping can make it difficult to detect blue whale calls in raw hydrophone data. The characteristics of the blue whale calls recorded in the field were sufficiently similar to design a matched filter (kernel) to automatically detect calls obscured by ambient noise. This filter worked well at identifying blue whale calls when applied to the data from which it was derived and on data from the U.S. Navy's SOSUS (SOund SUrveillance System) array. The U.S. Navy has been monitoring low-frequency sounds in the northeast Pacific using bottom-mounted hydrophone arrays since the mid- 1950's. The use of this system was extended to the study of low-frequency whale calls. By applying the matched filter developed from field data to each of three hydrophone arrays and using location algorithms developed for seismic work, it was possible to pick the same call on each array and determine its location by examining the arrival time differences at each hydrophone and comparing this to a predefined location. To confirm the validity of these locations, a ground-truthing experiment was conducted whereby a Navy P-3 aircraft was given locations determined with the matched filter to try to visually and/or acoustically locate blue whales off the Oregon coast. Other locations were determined for 10 days in July and August, 1994.
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