The impact of noise on passive monitoring of marine mammals in the bay of fundy
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The impact of noise on passive monitoring of marine mammals in the Bay of Fundy. Francine Desharnais 1 , Marjo H. Laurinolli 2 , Alex E. Hay 3 , and Douglas J. Schillinger 3 1 DRDC Atlantic 2 JASCO Research Ltd 3 Department of Oceanography, Dalhousie University. Outline.

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The impact of noise on passive monitoring of marine mammals in the bay of fundy

The impact of noise on passive monitoring of marine mammals in the Bay of Fundy

Francine Desharnais1, Marjo H. Laurinolli2, Alex E. Hay3, and Douglas J. Schillinger3

1DRDC Atlantic

2JASCO Research Ltd

3Department of Oceanography, Dalhousie University

Outline in the Bay of Fundy

  • Designing a system for the Bay of Fundy

    • Feasibility study for passive detection

  • SE = SL - (TL + AN)

    • Transmission loss, source level

    • Ambient noise on the Scotian Shelf and the Bay of Fundy

    • Signal excess (some examples)

  • Conclusions

The problem
The problem in the Bay of Fundy

  • North Atlantic right whales

  • Bay of Fundy

    • Deeper area of Bay

    • Clay on top drift

    • Summer/Fall

  • Feasibility study with omnidirectional sensors (sonobuoys)

Sample sounds eubalaena glacialis
Sample Sounds - in the Bay of FundyEubalaena Glacialis



low upsweep



down cry

down cry +



Localization methodology laurinolli 2002
Localization methodology [Laurinolli, 2002] in the Bay of Fundy

  • Aural detection

  • Time delay estimates through spectrogram cross-correlation technique

  • Localization with crossing of hyperbolae of equal time difference

Transmission loss
Transmission loss in the Bay of Fundy

  • Scotian Shelf drift over sandstone

  • Layer of LaHave clay in deeper basin

  • Source depth 3 m

  • Receiver depth 30 m

  • 180 m water depth

  • 150 & 500 Hz

Source level determination
Source Level Determination in the Bay of Fundy

  • Lower bound:

    • 10-200 Hz: 175 dB re 1 Pa @ 1m

    • 200-800 Hz: 160 dB re 1 Pa @ 1m

      A.E. Hay, M.H. Laurinolli, F. Desharnais, D.J. Schillinger, Source levels of North Atlantic right whale sounds in the Bay of Fundy (unpublished)

Ambient noise key references for scotian shelf
Ambient noise - Key references for Scotian Shelf in the Bay of Fundy

  • Piggott

    • C.L. Piggott, “Ambient sea noise at low frequencies in shallow water of the Scotian Shelf,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 36, 2152-2163, 1964.

    • 8.4 - 3100 Hz, 20 and 28 fathoms depths

    • Ship noise edited out

    • Main reference for Scotian Shelf

Key references cont d
Key references - cont’d in the Bay of Fundy

  • Wenz

    • G.M. Wenz, “Acoustic ambient noise in the ocean: spectra and sources,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 34, 1936-1956, 1962.

    • Increase by 2.5 dB for shallow water

    • 2-7 dB lower than Piggott

  • Knudsen et al.

    • Knudsen, V. O., Alford, R. S., and Emling, J. W., “Underwater ambient noise,” J. Mar. Res. 3, 410-429, 1948.

    • Agrees closely with Wenz >500 Hz

    • <500 Hz Wenz is closer to Piggott

Key references cont d1
Key references - cont’d in the Bay of Fundy

  • Zakarauskas et al.

    • P. Zakarauskas, “Ambient noise in shallow water: a survey of the unclassified literature,” Defence Research Establishment Atlantic Technical Memorandum 86/207, 1986.

    • P. Zakarauskas, D.M.F. Chapman and P.R. Staal, “Underwater acoustic ambient noise levels on the Eastern Canada continental shelf,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 87, 2064-2071, 1990.

      • <1 kHz

      • Grand Banks, Scotian Shelf, Flemish Cap, Laurentian Channel

      • Winter and summer

More references
More references in the Bay of Fundy

  • EC-SWAN (temporal and spatial fluctuations)

  • Gully and Sable Bank

  • Western Bank

  • Bay of Fundy

  • Classified literature

Scotian shelf rules of thumb
Scotian Shelf Rules of Thumb in the Bay of Fundy

  • 20 Hz

    • Seasonal finback cycle (in excess of 25 dB in winter)

  • Shipping band (10-200 Hz)

    • Moderate to high shipping on Wenz’ curves for shallow water

    • EC-SWAN dataset for specific areas

    • Short-term temporal fluctuations up to 10 dB, spatial fluctuations < 5 dB

  • Wind band (>200 Hz)

    • Piggott is good guide, Wenz and Knudsen too low

    • Low fluctuations

  • Very little data processed above 3 kHz

  • Some information on temporal and spatial statistics

  • Very little on depth dependence

Bay of fundy unpublished
Bay of Fundy - unpublished in the Bay of Fundy

  • < 200 Hz:

    • Noise levels follow EC-SWAN data for moderate to heavy shipping.

  • 200-800 Hz:

    • Amongst the highest levels measured on Scotian Shelf at these frequencies

    • Shallow water Wenz curves + 2 to 5 dB to account for spillage from high shipping noise

  • Depth dependence

    • Little based on modelling (energy-flux model)

Range inferences
Range inferences in the Bay of Fundy

Conclusions in the Bay of Fundy

  • Right whales can be detected well beyond 10 km in range in the 100-200 Hz band.

  • Higher frequencies get lost in background noise ~10 km

  • Shipping noise a significant factor - directional sensors desirable for added range