This paper addresses the problem of passive acoustic detection of contact calls produced by the highly endangered North Atlantic right whale Eubalaena glacialis. The proposed solution is based on using a generalized likelihood ratio test detector of polynomial-phase signals with unknown amplitude and polynomial coefficients observed in the presence of locally stationary Gaussian noise. The closed form representation for a minimal sufficient statistic is derived and a realizable detection scheme is developed. The receiver operation characteristic curves are calculated using empirical data recordings containing known right whale calls. The curves demonstrate that the proposed detector provides superior detection performance as compared with other known detection techniques for northern right whale contact calls.
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