Acoustic projectors make covert bioacoustic chirplet signals discoverable

Paolo Casari, Jeff Neasham, Guy Gubnitsky, Davide Eccher, Roee Diamant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To disguise man-made communications as natural signals, underwater transceivers have the option to pre-record animal vocalizations, and play them back in a way that carries meaningful information for a trained receiver. This operation, known as biomimicking, has been used to perform covert communications and to emit broadband signals for localization, either by playing pre-recorded animal sounds back into the environment, or by designing artificial waveforms whose spectrum is close to that of bioacoustic sounds.However, organic sound-emitting body structures in animals have very different trans-characteristics with respect to electro-acoustic transducers used in underwater acoustic transceivers. In this paper, we observe the distortion induced by transmitting pre-recorded animal vocalization through a transducer’s front-end, and argue that such distortion can be detected via appropriate entropy metrics. We test ten different metrics for this purpose, both via emulated transmission and in two field experiments. Our result indicate which signals and entropy metrics lead to the highest probability of detecting transducer-originated distortions, thus exposing ongoing covert communications. Our research emphasizes the limitations that man-made equipment incurs when reproducing bioacoustic sounds, and prompts for the choice of biomimicking signals that are possibly suboptimal for communications or localization, but help avoid exposing disguised transmissions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2591
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - 14 Feb 2023

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Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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