Separating overlapping click trains originating from multiple individuals in echolocation recordings.

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Recordings of the acoustic activity of free-swimming groups of echolocating dolphins increase the likelihood of collecting overlapping click trains, originating from multiple individuals, in the same set of data. In order to evaluate the click properties of each individual based on such recordings it is necessary to identify which clicks originate from which animal. This paper suggests a computationally efficient strategy to separate overlapping click trains originating from multiple free-swimming bottlenose dolphins, enabling echolocation analysis at an individual level on several animals. This technique is based on sequential matching of the frequency spectra of successive clicks. The clicks are grouped together as individual click trains if the correlation coefficients between clicks are higher than a pre-set threshold level. The robustness of the algorithm is tested by adding artificially generated white Gaussian noise and comparing the results with other comparable commonly used methods based on inter-click intervals, centroid frequencies, and amplitude levels. The described method is applicable to a variety of experimental and observational contexts, e.g., those regarding echolocation development of calves, the hypothesized acoustic "etiquette" among dolphins when investigating the same object, and the possible occurrence of eavesdropping in large dolphin pods.


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  • Medical Engineering
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)458-466
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Publication categoryResearch