The biosonar signals of two free-swimming Atlantic bottlenose dolphins performing a complex sonar search for a bottom target in San Diego Bay were compared with the biosonar signals of a dolphin performing a target discrimination task in a net pen in the same bay. A bite-plate device carried by the free-swimming dolphins supported a hydrophone that extended directly in front of the dolphin. A biosonar measuring tool attached to the bite plate measured the outgoing biosonar signals while the dolphins conducted sonar searches. Each of the free-swimming dolphins used different biosonar search strategy in solving the problem and the dolphins' biosonar signals reflect the difference in strategy. The dolphin in the pen stationed in a hoop while echolocating on a target 6 m away and reported if the indentation on a spherical target was directed toward it. The signals were parameterized by determining the peak-to-peak source levels, source energy flux density, peak frequency, center frequency, root-mean-square (rms) bandwidth, rms duration, and the Q of the signals. Some parameters were similar for the free-swimming and stationary dolphins while some were significantly different, suggesting biosonar signals used by free-swimming animals may be different than signals used by dolphins in a pen.
Dynamics of biosonar signals in free-swimming and stationary dolphins: The role of source levels on the characteristics of the signals
Whitlow W. L. Au, Stephen W. Martin, Patrick W. Moore, Brian Branstetter, Adrienne M. Copeland; Dynamics of biosonar signals in free-swimming and stationary dolphins: The role of source levels on the characteristics of the signals. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 1 March 2016; 139 (3): 1381–1389. https://doi.org/10.1121/1.4944636
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