Changes in consistency patterns of click frequency content over time of an echolocating Atlantic bottlenose dolphin

Stuart D. Ibsen, Whitlow W.L. Au, Paul E. Nachtigall, Caroline M. Delong, Marlee Breese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Echolocation clicks were recorded from an Atlantic bottlenose dolphin Tursiops truncatus trained to discriminate frequency filtered phantom targets in 1998 and in 2004. These clicks showed consistency within their spectra intensity profiles but only in a certain band of frequencies. In 2004 almost all the clicks were consistent within the 0-42 kHz band regardless of the presented target or the click source level. This region corresponded with previous data showing that in 2004 the dolphin perceived frequencies only from within the 29-42 kHz band during echolocation. Above 42 kHz the consistency was lost. In 1998 the consistent region was found only in the 90-100 kHz band showing a shift had occurred with time. This suggests the dolphin's echolocation strategy for these discrimination tasks centered on the use of clicks with the same controlled standard frequency content in a certain frequency band to investigate different targets. This consistent region shifted over time to maintain maximum signal to noise ratio of the echoes given certain changing limitations to the echolocation system. The shift in consistency over time indicates these consistent regions were not simply artifacts of click production but rather an active control of frequency content.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3821-3829
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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