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SoCal ISSI blimp blue whale photo

Cruises off Southern California have provided an opportunity for acoustic studies of blue and fin whales. One focus of this work has been to acoustically monitor whales of known sex to evaluate sex specific call differences. Most of the projects are in collaboration with Scripps Institution of Oceanography (cetus.ucsd.edu)

Wiggins, S. M., Oleson, E. M., McDonald, M. A. and Hildebrand, J. A., Blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) diel call patterns offshore of Southern California, Aquatic Mammals, 31(2), 161-168, 2005. (Online. abstract)

McDonald, M. A., Calambokidis, J., Teranishi, A.M., and Hildebrand, J.A., The Acoustic Calls of Blue Whales off California with Gender Data, J. Acous. Soc. Am.,109, 1728-1735, 2001. (Online. pdf)

Oleson, E. M., Calambokidis, J., Burgess, W. C., McDonald, M. A. and Hildebrand, J. A., Behavioral context of call production by Eastern North Pacific blue whales, Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser., 330:269-284, 2007.(Online pdf)

Recent work in this area has also been directed towards understanding changes in ambient noise levels.

McDonald, M. A., Hildebrand, J.A. and Wiggins, S.M., Increases in deep ocean ambient noise in the Northeast Pacific west of San Nicolas Island, California, J. Acous. Soc. Am., 120:711-718, 2006.(Online abstract )

McDonald, M. A., Wiggins, S. M., Hildebrand, J. A. and Ross D., Ambient Ocean Noise near San Clemente Island: a Bathymetrically Complex Coastal Region off Southern California, J. Acous. Soc. Am., in press.

Current work is focused on mapping the distribution of Cuvier's beaked whales with long-term passive acoustic recordings.


Locations of Long term acoustic recorders (HARP's) deployed off Southern California


Three dimensional tracking of beaked whales with vector acoustic sensors is expected to allow estimation of population density. Beaked whale echolocation sounds are highly directional, making tracking diffiuclt without vector sensors.


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