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Questions in cetacean bioacoustics: some suggestions for future research

Arthur N. Popper, Harold L. Hawkins and Robert C. Gisiner (1997). Questions in cetacean bioacoustics: some suggestions for future research. Bioacoustics, Volume 8 (1-2): 163 -182



This paper provides our views on the areas of cetacean bioacoustics that are in the greatest need of study over the next several years. In doing this, we ask a number of questions we see as important to developing a better understanding of cetacean bioacoustics. The topics we will cover are: Auditory Capabilities, including hearing sensitivity, pathways of sound to the ear, intraspecific variation in hearing capabilities, and the effects of intense sound on hearing capabilities; Echolocation, including the information-bearing parameters exploited by dolphin sonar systems to discriminate and identify objects, and the functional characteristics of the internal representation generated by reflections from ensonified objects; and Acoustic Communication, including the nature of the cetacean sound generation mechanism, the behaviors associated with mysticete communication sounds, and the range over which mysticetes communicate. While other investigators may not fully agree with our suggestions as to which questions are most important for future studies of cetacean bioacoustics, it is clear that a considerable effort must still be made in order that we can better understand the bioacoustics and general behavior of these animals.


odontocete, mysticete, whale, dolphin, hearing, ear, echolocation, communication, sound production, porpoise