Dr Brian Miller BA, BSc, PhD

I am a marine mammal acoustician who is especially interested in passive acoustic population surveys, localisation, and tracking, as well as the effects of man-made noise on marine mammals. I have much experience analyzing marine mammal vocalisations and have developed passive acoustic instrumentation and software as part of the Otago University Marine Mammal Lab. I have also conducted research at Boston University's Hearing Research Center investigating the mechanics of cetacean hearing. This research involved measurement of physical properties of the ears of stranded cetaceans in order to predict the hearing abilities for species that are otherwise difficult to measure by traditional means. For my PhD, I conducted research on sperm whales in Kaikoura, New Zealand, and as a part of that I developed passive acoustic software for measuring individual growth in sperm whales. I have considerable involvement designing and building portable passive acoustic arrays (hardware and software) which have been used successfully to track diving sperm whales in 3D.

I am interested in the Southern Ocean and understanding the role and recovery of large whales within the region. My research is a part of the Southern Ocean Research Partnership, and our main research tools are sonobuoys and autonomous moored-acoustic recording devices (whale recorders). Work with sonobuoys will focus on real-time localisation and tracking of blue whales during vessel based surveys. Real-time acoustic tracking provides a reliable and efficient way to find extremely rare Antarctic blue whales, and the application of this technique will not only allow for more detailed investigation of their role in the Antarctic ecosystem, but also provides a means to monitor their putative recovery after their near-miss with exctinction during 19th century industrial whaling. Sonobuoy surveys may also provide an important link between visually observed behaviour and acoustic behaviour. Work with acoustic loggers involves collecting year-round recordings from areas that may otherwise be inaccessible to regular survey. Recordings from loggers can give insight into seasonal trends in vocal behaviour and could potentially provide information on migration, abundance, and habitat usage of acoustically active dolphins and whales.

Selected publications

Miller BS, J Barlow, S Calderan, K Collins et al. 2015. Validating the reliability of passive acoustic localisation: a novel method for encountering rare and remote Antarctic blue whales. Endang Species Res 26:257-269

Calderan S, B Miller, K Collins, P Ensor, et al. 2014. Low-frequency vocalizations of sei whales (Balaenoptera borealis) in the Southern Ocean. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 136(6), EL418-EL423.

Peel D, BS Miller, N Kelly, S Dawson, E Slooten, and MC Double 2014. A simulation study of acoustic-assisted tracking of whales for mark-recapture surveys. PloS one 9:e95602

Miller, BS, K Collins, J Barlow, S Calderan, et al. 2014. Blue whale vocalizations recorded around New Zealand: 1964-2013. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 135:1616–23

Miller BS, R Leaper, S Calderan, J Gedamke 2014. Red shift, blue shift: Investigating Doppler shifts, blubber thickness, and migration as explanations of seasonal variation in the tonality of Antarctic blue whale song. PLoS ONE 9(9):e107740. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0107740.

Van Opzeeland IC, F Samaran, KM Stafford, K Findlay, J Gedamke, D Harris, BS Miller 2013 The Southern Ocean Hydrophone Network (SOHN): Circum-Antarctic passive acoustic monitoring of Antarctic blue and fin whales. [PDF] Polarforschung. 83(2):47-61, hdl:10013/epic.44470.d001.

Miller, BS, SM Dawson and R Vennell. 2013. Underwater behavior of sperm whales off Kaikoura, New Zealand, as revealed by a three-dimensional hydrophone array. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 134, 2690–2700.

Miller, BS, A Growcott, E Slooten and SM Dawson. 2013. Acoustically derived growth rates of sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) in Kaikoura, New Zealand. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 134, 2438–45.

Miller, BS. 2012. Real-time tracking of blue whales using DIFAR sonobuoys. Proceedings of Acoustics 2012. Fremantle, Western Australia.

Growcott, A, BS Miller, P Sirguey, E Slooten, and SM Dawson. 2011. Measuring body length of male sperm whales from their clicks: the relationship between inter-pulse intervals and photogrammetrically measured lengths. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 130, 568–73.

Miller BS and S Dawson 2009. A large-aperture low-cost hydrophone array for tracking whales from small boats. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 2009 Nov;126(5):2248-56.

Miller, BS, AL Zosuls, DR Ketten, and DA Mountain. 2006. Middle Ear Stiffness of the Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus). IEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering; 31(1):87-94.

This page was last modified on August 28, 2015.