Grant Title

Dr. Dolittle Project: A Framework for Classification and Understanding of Animal Vocalizations

Document Type


Publication Date


Source Publication

Journal of the Acoustical Society of America

Source ISSN



A significant and often unavoidable problem in bioacoustic signal processing is the presence of background noise due to an adverse recording environment. This paper proposes a new bioacoustic signal enhancement technique which can be used on a wide range of species. The technique is based on a perceptually scaled wavelet packet decomposition using a species-specific Greenwood scale function. Spectral estimation techniques, similar to those used for human speech enhancement, are used for estimation of clean signal wavelet coefficients under an additive noise model. The new approach is compared to several other techniques, including basic bandpass filtering as well as classical speech enhancement methods such as spectral subtraction, Wiener filtering, and Ephraim–Malah filtering. Vocalizations recorded from several species are used for evaluation, including the ortolan bunting (Emberiza hortulana), rhesus monkey (Macaca mulatta), and humpback whale (Megaptera novaeanglia), with both additive white Gaussian noise and environment recording noise added across a range of signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs). Results, measured by both SNR and segmental SNR of the enhanced wave forms, indicate that the proposed method outperforms other approaches for a wide range of noise conditions.

Document Rights and Citation of Original

Published version. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, Vol. 124, No. 1 (July 2008): 316–327. DOI. © 2008 Acoustical Society of America. Used with permission.