Estimating minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) boing sound density using passive acoustic sensors

Steven Martin, Tiago A. Marques, Len Thomas, Ronald Morrissey, Susan Jarvis, Nancy DiMarzio, David Moretti, David Mellinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Density estimation for marine mammal species is performed primarily using
visual distance sampling or capture-recapture. Minke whales in Hawaiian waters
are very difficult to sight; however, they produce a distinctive “boing” call, making them ideal candidates for passive acoustic density estimation. We used an array of 14 bottom-mounted hydrophones, distributed over a 60 × 30 km area off Kauai, Hawaii, to estimate density during 12 d of recordings in early 2006.We converted the number of acoustic cues (i.e., boings) detected using signal processing software into a cue density by accounting for the false positive rate and probability of detection. The former was estimated by manual validation, the latter by applying spatially explicit capture-recapture (SECR) methods to a subset of data where we had determined which hydrophones detected each call. Estimated boing density was 130 boings per hour per 10,000 km2 (95% CI 104–163). Little is known about the population’s acoustic behavior, so conversion from boing to animal density is difficult. As a demonstration of the method, we used a tentative boing rate of 6.04
boings per hour, from a single animal tracked in 2009, to give an estimate of 21.5 boing-calling minke whales per 10,000 km2.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)142-158
JournalMarine Mammal Science
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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