New article online: Dynamics of soundscape in a shallow water marine environment: A study of the habitat of the Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin

A new article introduce the underwater soundscape in coastal waters of Taiwan has been published in the Journal of Acoustical Society of America.

Dynamics of soundscape in a shallow water marine environment: A study of the habitat of the Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin

J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 137, 2939 (2015)

Shane Guan
Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service, 1315 East-West Highway, SSMC-3 Suite 13826, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910, USA
Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Catholic University of America, 620 Michigan Avenue NE, Washington, DC 20064, USA

Joseph Vignola, John Judge, Diego Turo
Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Catholic University of America, 620 Michigan Avenue NE, Washington, DC 20064, USA

Tzu-Hao Lin, Lien-Siang Chou
Institute of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, National Taiwan University, Number 1, Section 4, Roosevelt Road, Taipei 10617, Taiwan

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.