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Blainville’s beaked whale (Mesoplodon densirostris) echolocation clicks from autonomous passive acoustic recordings

Cite this dataset

Baumann-Pickering, Simone et al. (2022). Blainville’s beaked whale (Mesoplodon densirostris) echolocation clicks from autonomous passive acoustic recordings [Dataset]. Dryad.


Understanding the distribution of cetacean species and their populations over space and time is relevant to conservation, management, and mitigation goals. Geographic differences in acoustic signals may provide a line of evidence for population-level discrimination in some cetacean species. This data set of acoustic recordings collected over broad spatial and temporal scales was used to investigate whether global variability in echolocation click peak frequency could elucidate population structure in Blainville’s beaked whale (Mesoplodon densirostris). It consists of ~4.1M event detections from over 70 instrument deployments at 23 sites.


Passive acoustic data was collected with High-frequency Acoustic Recordig Packages (HARPs, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA), sampling at 200 kHz, 16 bit. They were analyzed to extract Blainville's beaked whale echolocation clicks.

Files are named according to the acoustic dataset from which they were derived with the following file name structure:<Project>_<Site>_<DeploymentNumber>_<SpeciesAbbreviation>.mat

These files contain impulsive event detections from 70 deployments of HARPs. Only detections with signal-to-noise levels >10 dB were retained. Each file includes false detections which are subsequently cleaned out through clustering as described in the associated manuscript.

Variables in all files include MTT, MPP, MSN, MSP; each row represents 1 event:
- MTT: Start time of event as ISO-8601 date (format YYYY-MM-DDThh:mm:ss.sssZ; e.g., 2013-06-16T13:05:55.577Z).
- MPP: Peak to peak amplitude of event in dB re 1µPa.
- MSN: Event waveforms, sampled at 200 kHz, padded with zeros as needed to reach 202 samples, with maximum energy located around the 100th sample.
- MSP: Spectra of each event, in 1 kHz frequency bins.
- f: Frequency vector in kHz associated with the spectra in MSP.

Usage notes

Data files are saved as –v7.3 in Matlab 2021a. This file type can be opened via NetCDF routines. 

Matlab-based software used with the dataset and associated manuscript can be found at:, including plugins:

Click Detector:

Cluster Tool:



U.S. Navy Living Marine Resources, Award: N3943019C2176

University of St Andrews, Award: N3943019C2176

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Award: NA15OAR4320071 Amd 70

NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center, Award: NA15OAR4320071 Amd 70