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ABSTRACT: The minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) is a ubiquitous but rarely sighted species that occurs in subtropical waters of the North Pacific during winter and spring. It produces a unique vocalization called a boing that is easy to detect and localize. We characterized the acoustic ecology of minke whales by detecting and localizing boings using passive acoustic methods. We conducted passive acoustic line-transect surveys in 2006 for a large area around the Northern Mariana Islands (site 1), and in 2010 for a smaller area off the Pacific Missile Range, Kauai, HI (site 2). We also recorded acoustic data from deep waters using cabled seafloor hydrophones at site 2. Densities of calling animals were estimated from line-transect surveys and will be used to estimate calling rates for use in spatially explicit capture-recapture analysis of fixed seafloor hydrophone data. Spatial analysis of acoustic localizations in relation to bathygraphic and oceanographic variables will be discussed. We provide examples of counter-calling and complex responses to vessel noise. These results provide important information about the acoustic ecology and behavior of minke whales that can be used to improve the conservation and management of this elusive but common whale. [Work sponsored by ONR and NAVFAC.].
The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 10/2011; 130(4):2321. · 1.65 Impact Factor