How can dolphins recognize fish according to their echoes? a statistical analysis of fish echoes

Yossi Yovel*, Whitlow W.L. Au

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Echo-based object classification is a fundamental task of animals that use a biosonar system. Dolphins and porpoises should be able to rely on echoes to discriminate a predator from a prey or to select a desired prey from an undesired object. Many studies have shown that dolphins and porpoises can discriminate between objects according to their echoes. All of these studies however, used unnatural objects that can be easily characterized in human terminologies (e.g., metallic spheres, disks, cylinders). In this work, we collected real fish echoes from many angles of acquisition using a sonar system that mimics the emission properties of dolphins and porpoises. We then tested two alternative statistical approaches in classifying these echoes. Our results suggest that fish species can be classified according to echoes returning from porpoiseand dolphin-like signals. These results suggest how dolphins and porpoises can classify fish based on their echoes and provide some insight as to which features might enable the classification.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere14054
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume5
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - 2010

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