Journal Article Apparent source level of free-ranging humpback dolphin, Sousa chinensis, in the South China Sea

Kimura, Satoko  ,  Akamatsu, Tomonari  ,  Fang, Liang  ,  Wang, Zhitao  ,  Wang, Kexiong  ,  Wang, Ding  ,  Yoda, Ken

The acoustic performance and behaviour of free-ranging cetaceans requires investigation under natural conditions to understand how wild animals use sound. This is also useful to develop quantitative evaluation techniques for passive acoustic monitoring. There have been limited studies on the acoustics of the Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin; nevertheless, this species is of particular concern because of the anthropogenic activity in the coastal habitats. In the present study, we used a four-hydrophone array to estimate the apparent source levels (ASLs) of biosonar sequences (click trains), of this species in San-Niang Bay, China. As the dolphins approached the array, 173 click trains were found to meet the criteria of on-axis sounds produced within 60 m of the equipment. In total, 121 unclipped click trains were used for the ASL estimation. The qualified click trains contained 36.3 ± 32.5 clicks, lasting for 1.5 ± 1.5 s, with average inter-click intervals (ICIs) of 51.2 ± 38.3 ms. Average ICIs showed a bimodal distribution, with a cut-off at 20 ms. Short-range click trains, with short ICIs of <20 ms on average, were characterized by smaller ASLs, relatively stable ICIs and a shorter click train duration. The mean back-calculated ASL for humpback dolphins with an approximately maximum body size of 2.5 m was 181.7 ± 7.0 dB re 1 μPa at a distance of 1.6–57.2 m. This value was comparable to that recorded for other dolphins of similar body size, although the ASL estimates obtained in this study might be conservative.
Published online: 04 March 2014

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