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High-frequency modulated signals of killer whales (Orcinus orca) in the North Pacific
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FIG. 1.

Map of killer whale high-frequency modulated (HFM) signal recording locations in the North Pacific.

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FIG. 2.

Killer whale HFM signal spectrograms for five regions in the North Pacific (512-point FFT, 41% overlap, high-pass filter with corner frequency at 4 kHz).


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Location and specifications of recordings containing killer whale high-frequency modulated signals.

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Descriptive statistics of killer whale high-frequency modulated signal parameters given in median (bold) with 10th and 90th percentiles (brackets), compared to Samarra et al., 2010; n values are shown as a fraction to indicate how many signals were used in the analysis (numerator) and how many were detected (denominator). ip = inflection points.


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Killer whales in the North Pacific, similar to Atlantic populations, produce high-frequency modulated signals, based on acoustic recordings from ship-based hydrophone arrays and autonomous recorders at multiple locations. The median peak frequency of these signals ranged from 19.6–36.1 kHz and median duration ranged from 50–163 ms. Source levels were 185–193 dB peak-to-peak re: 1 μPa at 1 m. These uniform, repetitive, down-swept signals are similar to bat echolocation signals and possibly could have echolocation functionality. A large geographic range of occurrence suggests that different killer whale ecotypes may utilize these signals.


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Scitation: High-frequency modulated signals of killer whales (Orcinus orca) in the North Pacific