Mensinger Allen F.

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Allen F.

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  • Article
    Slocum gliders provide accurate near real-time estimates of baleen whale presence from human-reviewed passive acoustic detection information
    (Frontiers Media, 2020-02-25) Baumgartner, Mark F. ; Bonnell, Julianne M. ; Corkeron, Peter ; Van Parijs, Sofie M. ; Hotchkin, Cara ; Hodges, Benjamin A. ; Bort Thornton, Jacqueline ; Mensi, Bryan L. ; Bruner, Scott M.
    Mitigating the effects of human activities on marine mammals often depends on monitoring animal occurrence over long time scales, large spatial scales, and in real time. Passive acoustics, particularly from autonomous vehicles, is a promising approach to meeting this need. We have previously developed the capability to record, detect, classify, and transmit to shore information about the tonal sounds of baleen whales in near real time from long-endurance ocean gliders. We have recently developed a protocol by which a human analyst reviews this information to determine the presence of marine mammals, and the results of this review are automatically posted to a publicly accessible website, sent directly to interested parties via email or text, and made available to stakeholders via a number of public and private digital applications. We evaluated the performance of this system during two 3.75-month Slocum glider deployments in the southwestern Gulf of Maine during the spring seasons of 2015 and 2016. Near real-time detections of humpback, fin, sei, and North Atlantic right whales were compared to detections of these species from simultaneously recorded audio. Data from another 2016 glider deployment in the same area were also used to compare results between three different analysts to determine repeatability of results both among and within analysts. False detection (occurrence) rates on daily time scales were 0% for all species. Daily missed detection rates ranged from 17 to 24%. Agreement between two trained novice analysts and an experienced analyst was greater than 95% for fin, sei, and right whales, while agreement was 83–89% for humpback whales owing to the more subjective process for detecting this species. Our results indicate that the presence of baleen whales can be accurately determined using information about tonal sounds transmitted in near real-time from Slocum gliders. The system is being used operationally to monitor baleen whales in United States, Canadian, and Chilean waters, and has been particularly useful for monitoring the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale throughout the northwestern Atlantic Ocean.
  • Article
    Lateral line sensitivity in free-swimming toadfish Opsanus tau
    (Company of Biologists, 2019-01-25) Mensinger, Allen F. ; Van Wert, Jacey C. ; Rogers, Loranzie S.
    A longstanding question in aquatic animal sensory physiology is the impact of self-generated movement on lateral line sensitivity. One hypothesis is that efferent modulation of the sensory hair cells cancels self-generated noise and allows fish to sample their surroundings while swimming. In this study, microwire electrodes were chronically implanted into the anterior lateral line nerve of oyster toadfish and neural activity was monitored during forward movement. Fish were allowed to freely swim or were moved by a tethered sled. In all cases, neural activity increased during movement with no evidence of efferent modulation. The anterior lateral line of moving fish responded to a vibrating sphere or the tail oscillations of a robotic fish, indicating that the lateral line also remains sensitive to outside stimulus during self-generated movement. The results suggest that during normal swim speeds, lateral line neuromasts are not saturated and retain the ability to detect external stimuli without efferent modulation.
  • Article
    Seasonal and daily patterns of the mating calls of the oyster toadfish, Opsanus tau.
    (University of Chicago Press, 2019-02-08) Van Wert, Jacey C. ; Mensinger, Allen F.
    Acoustic communication is vital across many taxa for mating behavior, defense, and social interactions. Male oyster toadfish, Opsanus tau, produce courtship calls, or “boatwhistles,” characterized by an initial broadband segment (30–50 ms) and a longer tone-like second part (200–650 ms) during mating season. Male calls were monitored continuously with an in situ SoundTrap hydrophone that was deployed in Eel Pond, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, during the 2015 mating season. At least 10 vocalizing males were positively identified by their unique acoustic signatures. This resident population was tracked throughout the season, with several individuals tracked for extended periods of time (72 hours). Toadfish began calling in mid-May when water temperature reached 14.6 °C with these early-season “precursor” boatwhistles that were shorter in duration and contained less distinct tonal segments compared to calls later in the season. The resident toadfish stopped calling in mid-August, when water temperature was about 25.5 °C. The pulse repetition rate of the tonal part of the call was significantly related to ambient water temperature during both short-term (hourly) and long-term (weekly) monitoring. This was the first study to monitor individuals in the same population of oyster toadfish in situ continuously throughout the mating season.
  • Preprint
    Localizing individual soniferous fish using passive acoustic monitoring
    (Elsevier, 2018-08-13) Putland, Rosalyn L. ; Mackiewicz, A. G. ; Mensinger, Allen F.
    Identifying where fish inhabit is a fundamentally important topic in ecology and management allowing acoustically sensitive times and areas to be prioritized. Passive acoustic localization has the benefit of being a non-invasive and non-destructive observational tool, and provides unbiased data on the position and movement of aquatic animals. This study used the time difference of arrivals (TDOA) of sound recordings on a four-hydrophone array to pinpoint the location of male oyster toadfish, Opsanus tau, a cryptic fish that produces boatwhistles to attract females. Coupling the TDOA method with cross correlation of the different boatwhistles, individual toadfish were mapped during dawn (0523–0823), midday (1123–1423), dusk (1723–2023) and night (2323−0223) to examine the relationship between temporal and spatial trends. Seven individual males were identified within 0.5–24.2 m of the hydrophone array and 0.0–18.2 m of the other individuals. Uncertainty in passive acoustics localization was investigated using computer simulations as <2.0 m within a bearing of 033 to 148° of the linear hydrophone array. Passive acoustic monitoring is presented as a viable tool for monitoring the positions of soniferous species, like the oyster toadfish. The method used in this study could be applied to a variety of soniferous fishes, without disturbing them or their environment. Understanding the location of fishes can be linked to temporal and environmental parameters to investigate ecological trends, as well as to vessel activity to discuss how individuals' respond to anthropogenic noise.
  • Article
    Potential role of the anterior lateral line in sound localization in toadfish (Opsanus tau)
    (Company of Biologists, 2018-11-26) Cardinal, Emily A. ; Radford, Craig A. ; Mensinger, Allen F.
    Male oyster toadfish (Opsanus tau) acoustically attract females to nesting sites using a boatwhistle call. The rapid speed of sound underwater combined with the close proximity of the otolithic organs makes inner ear interaural time differences an unlikely mechanism to localize sound. To determine the role that the mechanosensory lateral line may play in sound localization, microwire electrodes were bilaterally implanted into the anterior lateral line nerve to record neural responses to vibrational stimuli. Highest spike rates and strongest phase-locking occurred at distances close to the fish and decreased as the stimulus was moved further from the fish. Bilateral anterior lateral line neuromasts displayed differential directional sensitivity to incoming vibrational stimuli, which suggests the potential for the lateral line to be used for sound localization in the near field. The present study also demonstrates that the spatially separated neuromasts of the toadfish may provide sufficient time delays between sensory organs for determining sound localization cues. Multimodal sensory input processing through both the inner ear (far field) and lateral line (near field) may allow for effective sound localization in fish.
  • Article
    Vessel sound causes hearing loss for hummingbird bobtail squid (Euprymna berryi)
    (Frontiers Media, 2023-02-28) Putland, Rosalyn L. ; Mooney, T. Aran ; Mensinger, Allen F.
    Anthropogenic activity and its associated sounds have been shown to incur adverse effects on the behaviour and physiology of a wide range of aquatic taxa, from marine mammals to fishes. Yet, little is known about how invertebrates detect and respond to anthropogenic sound. The hummingbird bobtail squid ( Euprymna berryi ) has a short lifespan (< 6 months), grows to sexual maturity around 90 days post hatching and its small size (< 5 cm mantle length) makes the species an ideal candidate to examine potential effects of sound exposure under laboratory conditions. Hearing and behavioural observations were made before, during and after 15 minutes of vessel sound playback, and aural sensitivity curves were determined using auditory evoked potentials. A significant decrease in relative ventilation rate was observed during and post sound exposure. Auditory sensitivity before and after vessel sound exposure was also examined for three different ages: juveniles, mid- and late adults. Baseline audiograms indicated that there was a decrease in aural sensitivity with age. All three age groups showed similar, significantly decreased hearing sensitivity following sound exposure, however auditory sensitivity recovered within two hours. Globally, anthropogenic sounds have become louder and more persistent, therefore there may be limited time for these animals to recover from sound exposure. Given their ecological and economic importance, cephalopods should be considered in management and policy on underwater noise owing to potential adverse effects of anthropogenic sound on behaviour and physiology.
  • Article
    Effects of temperature and diet on the growth rate of year 0 oyster toadfish, Opsanus tau
    (Marine Biological Laboratory, 2006-02) Mensinger, Allen F. ; Tubbs, M. E.
    The effects of temperature and diet on the growth of captive year 0 specimens of Opansus tau were examined for two consecutive year classes. The 2001 year class was raised at about 23, 26, or 29°C and provided with live brine shrimp, frozen butterfish and squid, or commercial food pellets (45% protein, 19% fat, and 3% fiber) three times per week. Maximal growth was achieved with the pellet diet, and fish raised at 29°C attained the highest mean wet weight (84.0 g ± 14.6 g SE) and fastest instantaneous relative growth rate (IRGR, 1.79% body weight/d). The 2002 year class was raised on the same pellet diet at 31.5°C and fed 3, 5, or 7 times per week. Although more frequent feedings led to significantly greater mean wet weight in the first half of the year, by month 12 there was no significant difference between the three feeding frequencies. These fish weighed approximately 68g and had an average IRGR of 1.74% body weight/d. The pellet diet during both years was correlated with high survival (> 75%).