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Acoustic property reconstruction of a pygmy sperm whale (Kogia breviceps) forehead based on computed tomography imaging

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Per Berggren


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Computed tomography (CT) imaging and sound experimental measurements were used to reconstruct the acoustic properties (density, velocity, and impedance) of the forehead tissues of a deceased pygmy sperm whale (Kogia breviceps). The forehead was segmented along the body axis and sectioned into cross section slices, which were further cut into sample pieces for measurements. Hounsfield units (HUs) of the corresponding measured pieces were obtained from CT scans, and regression analyses were conducted to investigate the linear relationships between the tissues’ HUs and velocity, and HUs and density. The distributions of the acoustic properties of the head at axial, coronal, and sagittal cross sections were reconstructed, revealing that the nasal passage system was asymmetric and the cornucopia-shaped spermaceti organ was in the right nasal passage, surrounded by tissues and airsacs. A distinct dense theca was discovered in the posterior-dorsal area of the melon, which was characterized by low velocity in the inner core and high velocity in the outer region. Statistical analyses revealed significant differences in density, velocity, and acoustic impedance between all four structures, melon, spermaceti organ, muscle, and connective tissue (p<0.001). The obtained acoustic properties of the forehead tissues provide important information for understanding the species’ bioacoustic characteristics.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Song Z, XU X, Dong J, Xing L, Zhang M, Liu X, Zhang Y, Li S, Berggren P

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America

Year: 2015

Volume: 138

Issue: 5

Pages: 3129–3137

Online publication date: 18/11/2015

Acceptance date: 22/10/2015

ISSN (print): 0001-4966

ISSN (electronic): 1520-8524

Publisher: AIP Publishing LLC


DOI: 10.1121/1.4935135


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Funder referenceFunder name
11174240National Science Foundation of China
41276040National Science Foundation of China
41306169National Science Foundation of China
2012J06010Natural Science Foundation of Fujian Province of China
41422604National Science Foundation of China
SIDSSE-BR-315 201201"Hundred Talents Program" of the Chinese Academy of Sciences
XXH12504-3-20Chinese Academy of Sciences
SIDSSE-316 201210Knowledge Innovation Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences
Y410012"Hundred Talents Program" of the Chinese Academy of Sciences