We use acoustic recording tags to study the vocal and diving behavior of large cetaceans. The data collected has provided valuable information on the relationship between call production and behavior and on the swimming and feeding mechanics of baleen whales.

       The Bioacoustic Probe, or BProbe, was designed by Bill Burgess of Greeneridge Sciences. It is an electronic data-logging tag that records pressure, temperature, and sound up to a maximum sample rate of 20 kHz. The B-Probe provides calibrated acoustic pressure data with a flat frequency response between 10 and 7400 Hz, with 16-bit resolution and a sensitivity of −190 dB re: 1 µPa. With flotation and suction cups, the B-Probe is approximately 33 cm long and 6 cm in diameter. The 2003 and later versions of the B-Probe include a 2-axis accelerometer, enabling the derivation of instantaneous body orientation (i.e., tilt and roll).
The BProbe is held onto the animal with suction cups. Skin is often collected from the inner surface of the cup following the recovery of a tag. This skin can be genetically analyzed to determine the sex of the tagged animal, another important aspect of understand the calling behavior of large whales. The tags carry a VHF transmitter allowing us to track the whale while it is carrying the tag and to recover the tag following detachment from the whale.
We have deployed BProbes onto blue, fin, and humpback whales, primarily off the coast of California. The data collected from the tag can be combined with environmental data, animal sex, surface observations of the tagged whale and other whales nearby to evaluate calling and dive behavior.

The following publications describe some of our work with acoustic recording tags:

       Goldbogen et al 2006

       JEBOleson et al 2007 MEPS