ABSTRACT: Yangtze finless porpoises were surveyed by using simultaneous visual and acoustical methods from 6 November to 13 December 2006. Two research vessels towed stereo acoustic data loggers, which were used to store the intensity and sound source direction of the high frequency sonar signals produced by finless porpoises at detection ranges up to 300 m on each side of the vessel. Simple stereo beam forming allowed the separation of distinct biosonar sound source, which enabled us to count the number of vocalizing porpoises. Acoustically, 204 porpoises were detected from one vessel and 199 from the other vessel in the same section of the Yangtze River. Visually, 163 and 162 porpoises were detected from two vessels within 300 m of the vessel track. The calculated detection probability using acoustic method was approximately twice that for visual detection for each vessel. The difference in detection probabilities between the two methods was caused by the large number of single individuals that were missed by visual observers. However, the sizes of large groups were underestimated by using the acoustic methods. Acoustic and visual observations complemented each other in the accurate detection of porpoises. The use of simple, relatively inexpensive acoustic monitoring systems should enhance population surveys of free-ranging, echolocating odontocetes.
The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 07/2008; 123(6):4403-11. · 1.55 Impact Factor