Efforts to identify the specific causal mechanisms responsible for beaked whale strandings coincident with naval exercises have been hampered by lack of data concerning the hearing abilities of beaked whales and their physiological and behavioral responses to sound. In this study, auditory capabilities of a stranded Gervais' beaked whale (Mesoplodon europaeus) were investigated by measuring auditory evoked potentials. Click-evoked potentials, auditory thresholds as a function of frequency, and the modulation rate transfer function were determined. The evoked potentials and modulation rate transfer function were similar to those measured in other echolocating odontocetes; the upper limit of functional hearing was 80-90 kHz.
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