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Cumulative and Synergistic Effects of Physical, Biological and Acoustic Signals on Marine Mammal Habitat Use
WASHINGTON UNIV SEATTLE APPLIED PHYSICS LAB
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The long-term goal of this collaborative research effort is to enhance understanding of how variability in physical, biological and acoustic signals impact cetacean habitat use. In particular, what are the effects of manmade underwater sound on marine mammal health and physiology, and what are the consequences of these effects at the marine mammal population level The objectives of this collaborative research effort are to make synoptic measurements of cetacean habitat use, prey concentrations, physical oceanographic processes, and noise levels in the Bering Sea. Integrated data such as these will be vital in understanding the relationship between cetaceans and their environment both in the presence and absence of specific noise sources. Long-term measurements will play an important role in determining the point at which cumulative effects of the environment and human activities impact animal populations, and in identifying the kinds of exposure that pose the greatest risk. The Bering Sea is an ecosystem that is presently experiencing rapid climate change, has relatively healthy populations of cetaceans and supports the largest fishery in the US EEZ.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE