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Soundings Archive

Monaco Conference Focuses on PAM And Navy Sperm Whale Data Base
Passive Acoustic Monitoring consists of listening to marine mammal's under water vocalizations. Current protection of marine mammals from anthropogenic harm in the water relies heavily on visual observations, which has some limitations. In theory, PAM allows vessels to determine whether there are marine mammals nearby even when they cannot be seen (e.g., when they are under water). Most observers would agree, however, that PAM has not yet been demonstrated reliable and useful in practice.

An international workshop on PAM will be conducted on November 16-18, 2005, in Monaco. This workshop is co-organized by Lissi-IsnS (Paris University), CNRS Chize (CEBC, France), and ACCOBAMS (UnEP/CMS Agreement). The conference website describes the conference objectives as follows:
    "The purpose of the workshop is to present current research on the detection and localization of marine mammals using passive acoustics. Researchers are invited to present their scientific work, to detail the advantages and drawbacks of the methods they use and to show their recent results through a practical approach."
One of the many interesting aspects of this conference is its use of the last half-day of the conference to compare "all scientific methods presented using the same data set." The data sets to be used consist of actual sperm whale sounds recorded by the US Navy Undersea Warfare Command. The conference website describes these data sets as
    "Comprised of regular cliks [sic] and creaks. The data set #1 has multiple sperm whales, 6 hydrophones for 20 minutes. The data set #2 has just one sperm whale with reverb., 5 hydrophones, for 25 minutes."

    ***

    "Based on this data set, the work submitted to the researchers will be on:

    1. Sperm whale click detection
    2. Estimation of the number of distinct sperm whales
    3. Association of clicks to individual whales
    4. Sperm whale localization and/or tracking"
The UNWC data set is available on line, but access requires authorization. Instructions for gaining access are available on the conference website.
  • Click here for conference website
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