Underwater recordings of the whistles of bottlenose dolphins in Fremantle Inner Harbour, Western Australia
Dolphins use frequency-modulated whistles for a variety of social functions. Whistles vary in their characteristics according to context, such as activity state, group size, group composition, geographic location, and ambient noise levels. Therefore, comparison of whistle characteristics can be used to address numerous research questions regarding dolphin populations and behaviour. However, logistical and economic constraints on dolphin research have resulted in data collection biases, inconsistent analytical approaches, and knowledge gaps. Here, we present an acoustic dataset of bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops aduncus) whistles recorded in the Fremantle Inner Harbour, Western Australia. Digital files of individual whistles and corresponding measurements make this dataset available to researchers to address future questions regarding variations within and between dolphin communities.
Data were collected using an autonomous recorder and analysed using a range of acoustic measurements. Acoustic data review identified 336 whistles, which were subsequently measured for six key characteristics using Raven Pro software. These six characteristics were: duration, minimum frequency, maximum frequency, delta frequency, start frequency and end frequency. Of these 336 whistles, 164 “high-quality” whistles were manually measured to provide an additional five acoustic characteristics. These additional characteristics were: inflection points, extrema, breaks and saddles.
Each of the 336 whistles is stored as an individual .wav file, with a sequential name (Wh_0001, Wh_0002, Wh_0003, etc). File names correspond with a unique “Whistle Number” in an Excel spreadsheet. The date and time of each 10 min acoustic recording are presented, along with a column called “Whistle Begins” which lists the point within a recording when a whistle occurs. This spreadsheet also contains information regarding the whistle quality (Grades 1-3) and the whistle characteristics measured. Duration is measured in seconds, all frequency characteristics are measured in Hz, harmonics are present (1) or absent (0), and all remaining characteristics are counts. Frequency measurements were rounded to the nearest 100 Hz.
Further information is available in the accompanying Data Descriptor published in Scientific Data.