Journal of Comparative Physiology A

, Volume 192, Issue 5, pp 489–495

Beaked whale auditory evoked potential hearing measurements


    • College of Marine ScienceUniversity of South Florida
  • René A. Varela
    • Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, Inc.
  • Juli D. Goldstein
    • Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, Inc.
  • Stephen D. McCulloch
    • Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, Inc.
  • Gregory D. Bossart
    • Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, Inc.
  • James J. Finneran
    • US Navy Marine Mammal Program, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center
  • Dorian Houser
    • Biomimetica
  • David A. Mann
    • College of Marine ScienceUniversity of South Florida
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00359-005-0086-1

Cite this article as:
Cook, M.L.H., Varela, R.A., Goldstein, J.D. et al. J Comp Physiol A (2006) 192: 489. doi:10.1007/s00359-005-0086-1


Several mass strandings of beaked whales have recently been correlated with military exercises involving mid-frequency sonar highlighting unknowns regarding hearing sensitivity in these species. We report the hearing abilities of a stranded juvenile beaked whale (Mesoplodon europaeus) measured with auditory evoked potentials. The beaked whale’s modulation rate transfer function (MRTF) measured with a 40-kHz carrier showed responses up to an 1,800 Hz amplitude modulation (AM) rate. The MRTF was strongest at the 1,000 and 1,200 Hz AM rates. The envelope following response (EFR) input–output functions were non-linear. The beaked whale was most sensitive to high frequency signals between 40 and 80 kHz, but produced smaller evoked potentials to 5 kHz, the lowest frequency tested. The beaked whale hearing range and sensitivity are similar to other odontocetes that have been measured.


Beaked whaleMesoplodon europaeusHearingAuditory evoked potentialEnvelope following responseModulation rate transfer function



Amplitude modulation


Auditory evoked potential


Envelope following response


Evoked potential


Fast Fourier transform


Modulation rate transfer function


Sound pressure level

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006