3S2: Behavioral Response Studies of Cetaceans to Navy Sonar Signals in Norwegian Waters
University of St Andrews Fife United Kingdom
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This program seeks to investigate behavioral reactions of three species of whales bottlenose whales, minke whales, and humpback whales elicited by exposures to quantified dosages of naval active sonar signals in the 1-2 kHz range. In this research project, our specific objectives are to 1. Expand the 3S comparative experimental dataset to include species that are potentially more sensitive even if they are difficult to study Northern bottlenose whale Hyperoodon ampullatus, family Ziphiidae and minke whale Balaenoptera acutorostrata, family Balaenopteridae. The goal is to identify behavioral response thresholds during exposure experiments, and to compare these to responses to no-sonar controls and playback of killer whale sounds 2. Conduct a directed study on the effectiveness of ramp-up as a mitigation method with abundant and relatively easy-to-study humpback whales Megaptera novaeangliae, family Balaenopteridae 3. Record sufficient no-sonar baseline data of all target species to statistically compare experimental records with baseline records and to adequately describe the behavioral significance of recorded changes in behavior and 4. Develop collaborations between the 3S research group with the MOCHA project and other research groups undertaking similar projects to pool data where appropriate, share expertise and reduce overall project costs. In conclusion, the 3S2 study has successfully studied the effects of sonar on cetaceans using an experimental approach, and has effectively addressed all of its objectives. The 3S research was carried out by an international collaborative team from the Sea Mammal Research Unit SMRU, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution WHOI, Norwegian Defense Research Establishment FFI, and Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research TNO.
- Biological Oceanography
- Stress Physiology
- Acoustic Detection and Detectors