Miller Lee A.
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PreprintAuditory temporal resolution of a wild white-beaked dolphin (Lagenorhynchus albirostris)( 2009-01-08) Mooney, T. Aran ; Nachtigall, Paul E. ; Taylor, Kristen A. ; Rasmussen, Marianne H. ; Miller, Lee A.Adequate temporal resolution is required across taxa to properly utilize amplitude modulated acoustic signals. Among mammals, odontocete marine mammals are considered to have relatively high temporal resolution, which is a selective advantage when processing fast traveling underwater sound. However, multiple methods used to estimate auditory temporal resolution have left comparisons among odontocetes and other mammals somewhat vague. Here we present the estimated auditory temporal resolution of an adult male white-beaked dolphin, (Lagenorhynchus albirostris), using auditory evoked potentials and click stimuli. Ours is the first of such studies performed on a wild dolphin in a capture-and-release scenario. The white-beaked dolphin followed rhythmic clicks up to a rate of approximately 1125-1250 Hz, after which the modulation rate transfer function (MRTF) cut-off steeply. However, 10% of the maximum response was still found at 1450 Hz indicating high temporal resolution. The MRTF was similar in shape and bandwidth to that of other odontocetes. The estimated maximal temporal resolution of white-beaked dolphins and other odontocetes was approximately twice that of pinnipeds and manatees, and more than ten-times faster than humans and gerbils. The exceptionally high temporal resolution abilities of odontocetes are likely due primarily to echolocation capabilities that require rapid processing of acoustic cues.
ArticleHigh source levels and small active space of high-pitched song in bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus)(Public Library of Science, 2012-12-26) Tervo, Outi M. ; Christoffersen, Mads F. ; Simon, Malene ; Miller, Lee A. ; Jensen, Frants H. ; Parks, Susan E. ; Madsen, Peter T.The low-frequency, powerful vocalizations of blue and fin whales may potentially be detected by conspecifics across entire ocean basins. In contrast, humpback and bowhead whales produce equally powerful, but more complex broadband vocalizations composed of higher frequencies that suffer from higher attenuation. Here we evaluate the active space of high frequency song notes of bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus) in Western Greenland using measurements of song source levels and ambient noise. Four independent, GPS-synchronized hydrophones were deployed through holes in the ice to localize vocalizing bowhead whales, estimate source levels and measure ambient noise. The song had a mean apparent source level of 185±2 dB rms re 1 µPa @ 1 m and a high mean centroid frequency of 444±48 Hz. Using measured ambient noise levels in the area and Arctic sound spreading models, the estimated active space of these song notes is between 40 and 130 km, an order of magnitude smaller than the estimated active space of low frequency blue and fin whale songs produced at similar source levels and for similar noise conditions. We propose that bowhead whales spatially compensate for their smaller communication range through mating aggregations that co-evolved with broadband song to form a complex and dynamic acoustically mediated sexual display.