Applying distance sampling to fin whale calls recorded by single seismic instruments in the northeast Atlantic.

Danielle Veronica Harris, Luis Matias, Len Thomas, John Harwood, Wolfram Geissler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


Automated methods were developed to detect fin whale calls recorded by an array of ocean bottom seismometers (OBSs) deployed off the Portuguese coast between 2007 and 2008. Using recordings collected on a single day in January 2008, a standard seismological method for estimating earthquake location from single instruments, the three-component analysis, was used to estimate the relative azimuth, incidence angle, and horizontal range between each OBS and detected calls. A validation study using airgun shots, performed prior to the call analysis, indicated that the accuracy of the three-component analysis was satisfactory for this preliminary study. Point transect sampling using cue counts, a form of distance sampling, was then used to estimate the average probability of detecting a call via the array during the chosen day. This is a key step to estimating density or abundance of animals using passive acoustic data. The average probability of detection was estimated to be 0.313 (standard error: 0.033). However, fin whale density could not be estimated due to a lack of an appropriate estimate of cue (i.e., vocalization) rate. This study demonstrates the potential for using a sparse array of widely spaced, independently operating acoustic sensors, such as OBSs, for estimating cetacean density.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3522
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013


  • Seismic waves
  • Agroacoustics
  • Data analysis
  • Seismic sources
  • Acoustic sensing


Dive into the research topics of 'Applying distance sampling to fin whale calls recorded by single seismic instruments in the northeast Atlantic.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this