The vocalization source level distributions and pulse compression gains are estimated for four distinct baleen whale species in the Gulf of Maine: fin, sei, minke and an unidentified baleen whale species. The vocalizations were received on a large-aperture densely-sampled coherent hydrophone array system useful for monitoring marine mammals over instantaneous wide areas via the passive ocean acoustic waveguide remote sensing technique. For each baleen whale species, between 125 and over 1400 measured vocalizations with significantly high Signal-to-Noise Ratios (SNR > 10 dB) after coherent beamforming and localized with high accuracies (<10% localization errors) over ranges spanning roughly 1 km–30 km are included in the analysis. The whale vocalization received pressure levels are corrected for broadband transmission losses modeled using a calibrated parabolic equation-based acoustic propagation model for a random range-dependent ocean waveguide. The whale vocalization source level distributions are characterized by the following means and standard deviations, in units of dB re 1
Pa at 1 m: 181.9 ± 5.2 for fin whale 20-Hz pulses, 173.5 ± 3.2 for sei whale downsweep chirps, 177.7 ± 5.4 for minke whale pulse trains and 169.6 ± 3.5 for the unidentified baleen whale species downsweep calls. The broadband vocalization equivalent pulse-compression gains are found to be 2.5 ± 1.1 for fin whale 20-Hz pulses, 24 ± 10 for the unidentified baleen whale species downsweep calls and 69 ± 23 for sei whale downsweep chirps. These pulse compression gains are found to be roughly proportional to the inter-pulse intervals of the vocalizations, which are 11 ± 5 s for fin whale 20-Hz pulses, 29 ± 18 for the unidentified baleen whale species downsweep calls and 52 ± 33 for sei whale downsweep chirps. The source level distributions and pulse compression gains are essential for determining signal-to-noise ratios and hence detection regions for baleen whale vocalizations received passively on underwater acoustic sensing systems, as well as for assessing communication ranges in baleen whales.
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