Bioacoustics (2009)

DOI: 10.1080/09524622.2009.9753614


Probably all odontocetes use echolocation for spatial orientation and detection of prey. We used a four hydrophone “Y” array to record the high frequency clicks from free-ranging White-beaked Dolphins Lagenorhynchus albirostris and captive Harbour Porpoises Phocoena phocoena. From the recordings we calculated distances to the animals and source levels of the clicks. The recordings from White-beaked Dolphins were made in Iceland and those from Harbour Porpoises at Fjord & Baelt, Kerteminde, Denmark during prey capture. We used stringent criteria to determine which clicks could be defined as being on the acoustic axis. Two dolphin and nine porpoise click series could be used to track individual animals, which presumably focused on the array hydrophones or a fish right in front of the array. The apparent source levels of clicks in the individual tracks increased with range. One individual White-beaked Dolphin and three Harbour Porpoises regulate their output signal level to nearly compensate for one-way transmission loss while approaching a target. The other dolphin regulated the output differently. For most of the recordings the sound level at the target remains nearly constant and the echo level at the animal increases as it closes on the target.