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Modeling and Frequency Tracking of Marine Mammal Whistle Calls

Jared Severson, S.M, 2009
James Preisig, Advisor

Marine mammal whistle calls present an attractive medium for covert underwater communications. High quality models of the whistle calls are needed in order to synthesize natural-sounding whistles with embedded information. Since the whistle calls are composed of frequency modulated harmonic tones, they are best modeled as a weighted superposition of harmonically related sinusoids. Previous research with bottlenose dolphin whistle calls has produced synthetic whistles that sound too “clean” for use in a covert communications system. Due to the sensitivity of the human auditory system, watermarking schemes that slightly modify the fundamental frequency contour have good potential for producing natural-sounding whistles embedded with retrievable watermarks. Structured total least squares is used with linear prediction analysis to track the time-varying fundamental frequency and harmonic amplitude contours throughout a whistle call. Simulation and experimental results demonstrate the capability to accurately model bottlenose dolphin whistle calls and retrieve embedded information from watermarked synthetic whistle calls. Different fundamental frequency watermarking schemes are proposed based on their ability to produce natural sounding synthetic whistles and yield suitable watermark detection and retrieval.