Standardization of Electrophysiological Measures of Hearing in Marine Mammals
CALIFORNIA UNIV SANTA CRUZ INST OF MARINE SCIENCES
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The primary goal of this project is to develop the technology and methods required to make quantitative, repeatable, and interpretable measurements of pinniped hearing sensitivity using averaged evoked potentials recorded from the surface of the head. This effort will advance understanding of marine mammal auditory physiology and provide the tools necessary for the study of population-level and species-level hearing so that noise impacts in marine ecosystems can be better understood. The immediate goals of this project are as follows 1 transfer available technology from ongoing research with cetaceans to establish an appropriate system for recording auditory evoked potentials in pinnipeds, 2 develop protocols for electrode placement and stimulus presentation that result in optimal evoked potential recordings, 3 measure the hearing sensitivity of individuals from multiple pinniped species using evoked potential methodology, 4 benchmark the evoked potential measures of hearing against standard behavioral measurements obtained for the same individuals, and 5 compare both behavioral and physiological hearing measures obtained for pinnipeds with those obtained under similar conditions for dolphins. Development of standardized procedures and technologies for evoked potential audiometry that are suitable for marine mammal species are necessary to achieve the ultimate goals of understanding species-specific population level variations in hearing sensitivity and to move toward the ability to measure the hearing sensitivity of species for which behavioral methodologies are not applicable e.g., baleen whales, beaked whales, Antarctic seals. Such information is essential to mitigating the effects of anthropogenic noise in the marine environment and furthering scientific knowledge of the role of acoustics in marine mammal biology, behavior, and ecology.
- Anatomy and Physiology