The underwater acoustic field is an important ecological element for many aquatic animals. This research examines the soundscape of a critically endangered Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin population in the shallow water environment off the west coast of Taiwan. Underwater acoustic recordings were conducted between late spring and late fall in 2012 at Yunlin (YL), which is close to a shipping lane, and Waisanding (WS), which is relatively pristine. Site-specific analyses were performed on the dynamics of the temporal and spectral acoustic characteristics for both locations. The results highlight the dynamics of the soundscape in two major octave bands: 150–300 Hz and 1.2–2.4 kHz. The acoustic energy in the former frequency band is mainly associated with passing container vessels near YL, while the latter frequency band is from sonic fish chorus at nighttime in both recording sites. In addition, large variation of low frequency acoustic energy throughout the study period was noticed at WS, where the water depths ranged between 1.5 and 4.5 m depending on tidal cycle. This phenomenon suggests that besides certain sound sources in the environment, the coastal soundscape may also be influenced by its local bathymetry and the dynamics of the physical environment.

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