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I am trying to determine a list of frequency ranges into which marine mammal vocalizations fall. Ideally, I would like a list showing where the most popular marine mammal vocalizations fall, followed by the species name. That being said, I only really care about frequencies above 20 kHz, should they exist.

Example: (Numbers fabricated)

  • Orcas : 30-40 kHz
  • Dolphins : 100 kHz
  • Blue Whales : 60-88 kHz


Even if the list is 'quick and dirty', thats ok. The list will essentially point me to which species' songs/sounds I need to study.

Some additional context, this wikipedia link as well as this one have some nice sound files of many marine mammals' songs/sounds. I am trying to avoid having to download each one and analyze their spectral content. (I could, but would rather not).

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Are you trying to find a list of frequency ranges, a range into which most vocalizations fall, or a list of marine mammals which vocalize above 20 kHz? It's three different (but similar) questions. – Shep May 2 '12 at 9:23
@Shep I edited. – Mohammad May 2 '12 at 14:40

Here there are spectrograms from Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), Killer whales (Orcinus orca) and False killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens).

Here there are spectrograms for Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) and from Sperm whales (Physeter catodon or Physeter marcocephalus)

Here there are spectrograms from Blue whale, Fin whale and Minke whale.

Some other google search for "spectrogram + your preferred cetaceans" should make your list. Enjoy.

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Thank you. The majority seem to fall under ~20 KHz. Is this more or less true of marine mammals? – Mohammad May 2 '12 at 16:40

Dolphins can hear above 110 kHz, and produce vocalizations in this range. Clicking has evolved in proposes and sperm whales and is predominantly above 100 kHz (to avoid being heard by killer whales). It's a bit subjective, of course: if you do a frequency decomposition of a click, it will always have some component with very high frequency.

That dolphins have evolved into such an niche highlights a problem with asking about "most" marine mammals, though: evolution often favors diversification between species, so you'd expect very different vocal ranges, to the point that many species have no overlap at all. (for the sake of illustration, ask yourself where most people live)

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Thank you Shep I have edited the post for additional info/context. – Mohammad May 2 '12 at 14:46

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