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Cetaceans and Naval Sonar: Behavioral Response as a Function of Sonar Frequency
WOODS HOLE OCEANOGRAPHIC INSTITUTION MA
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This is an international cooperative research program to quantify the behavioral reactions of cetaceans and herring to controlled presentations of military sonar signals at 2 different frequencies LFAS1-2 kHz and MFAS6-7 kHz, and relevant control sounds within Norwegian waters. The ultimate goal is to use these data to help establish safety limits for sonar operations. The targeted species are herring and killer whales, through we will also opportunistically study pilot and minke whales as well as other deep-diving odontocetes. Specific research tasks are 1. Determination of behavioral response thresholds by approaching a tagged whale while transmitting sonar signals until a behavioral reaction is observed. 2. Description of behavior during sonar exposures versus baseline and controls, and interpretation of the biological significance of any observed behavioral change. 3. Exploration of how response thresholds vary at different sonar frequencies, and in relation to reported hearing thresholds at the tested frequencies. 4. Continued monitoring of killer whale usage of the Vestfjord basin in relation to FLOTEX naval exercises, to relate reactions to experimental sonar exposure with possible effects from actual exercises.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE