Synthesis and modification of the whistles of the bottlenose dolphin, Tursiops truncatus. Academic Article uri icon


  • A signal-processing algorithm was developed to analyze harmonic frequency-modulated sounds, to modify the parameters of the analyzed signal, and to synthesize a new analytically specified signal that resembles the original signal in specified features. This algorithm was used with dolphin whistles, a frequency-modulated harmonic signal that has typically been described in terms of its contour, or pattern of modulation of the fundamental frequency. In order to test whether other features may also be salient to dolphins, the whistle analysis calculates the energies at the harmonics as well as the fundamental frequency of the whistle. The modification part of the algorithm can set all of these energies to a constant, can shift the whistle frequency, and can expand or compress the time base or the frequency of the whistle. The synthesis part of the algorithm then synthesizes a waveform based upon the energies and frequencies of the fundamental and first two harmonics. These synthetic whistles will be useful for evaluating what acoustic features dolphins use in discriminating different whistles.

publication date

  • July 2000