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Hearing mechanisms and noise metrics related to auditory masking in bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus)
Branstetter, B.K.; Bakhtiari, K.L.; Trickey, J.S.; Finneran, J.J. (2016). Hearing mechanisms and noise metrics related to auditory masking in bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), in: Popper, A.N. et al. (Ed.) The effects of noise on aquatic life II. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, 875: pp. 109-116. http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/978-1-4939-2981-8_13
In: Popper, A.N.; Hawkins, A. (Ed.) (2016). The effects of noise on aquatic life II. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, 875. Springer Science+Business Media, Inc: New York. ISBN 978-1-4939-2980-1. xxx, 1292 pp., more
In: Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology. Springer: Berlin. ISSN 0065-2598, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Detection; Tursiops truncatus (Montagu, 1821) [WoRMS]; Marine
Author keywords
    Signal; Comodulation

Authors  Top 
  • Branstetter, B.K.
  • Bakhtiari, K.L.
  • Trickey, J.S.
  • Finneran, J.J.

Abstract
    Odontocete cetaceans are acoustic specialists that depend on sound to hunt, forage, navigate, detect predators, and communicate. Auditory masking from natural and anthropogenic sound sources may adversely affect these fitness-related capabilities. The ability to detect a tone in a broad range of natural, anthropogenic, and synthesized noise was tested with bottlenose dolphins using a psychophysical, band-widening procedure. Diverging masking patterns were found for noise-bandwidths greater than the width of an auditory filter. Despite different noise types having equal-pressure spectral-density levels (95 dB re 1 mu Pa-2/Hz), masked detection threshold differences were as large as 22 dB. Consecutive experiments indicated that noise types with increased levels of amplitude modulation resulted in comodulation masking release due to within-channel and across-channel auditory mechanisms. The degree to which noise types were comodulated (comodulation index) was assessed by calculating the magnitude-squared coherence between the temporal envelope from an auditory filter centered on the signal and temporal envelopes from flanking filters. Statistical models indicate that masked thresholds in a variety of noise types, at a variety of levels, can be explained with metrics related to the comodulation index in addition to the pressure spectral-density level of noise. This study suggests that predicting auditory masking from ocean noise sources depends on both spectral and temporal properties of the noise.

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