U.S. Department of Commerce



Date of this Version



Published in MARINE MAMMAL SCIENCE, 14(3):617-627 (July 1998).


In late August 1991 scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Marine Mammal Laboratory (NMML) and Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) began a pilot study to investigate the capability of hydrophones from the US. Navy’s fixed array system to detect large whales in the North Pacific by passive reception of their calls. PMEL had previously established a direct data link from five bottom-mounted arrays of the Navy SOSUS (Sound Surveillance System), via the Naval Oceanographic Processing Facility (NOPF) at Whidbey Island, Washington, to study low-level seafloor seismicity (Fox et al. 1994). PMEL subsequently provided NMML tapes of SOSUS hydrophone data from which whale calls were analyzed. As in an analogous study conducted in the North Atlantic (Nishimura and Conlon 1994, Clark 1995, Mellinger and Clark 1995), calls attributable to whales were received at each SOSUS site at rates that varied seasonally (Anonymous 1996).