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Providing Field Support for the Behavior Response Study (BRS-08)
BAHAMAS MARINE MAMMAL RESEARCH ORGANISATION ABACO (BAHAMAS)
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The long-term goals of this project are to contribute towards the development of a science-based sonar use policy for the US Navy which reduces the risk of injury to beaked whales from mid-frequency sonar. This project will also increase our understanding of the population and behavioral ecology of beaked whales and other cetacean species which occur in the AUTEC-Andros Operating Area in the Tongue of the Ocean, northern Bahamas, and will help to mitigate the effects of naval activities on these populations. The over-riding objective of this effort was to provide field support for Phase II of the Behavior Response Study which took place in 2008, known as BRS-08. Specific objectives were 1 To work with the Marine Mammal Monitoring M3R program at the Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center AUTEC to visually locate cetaceans detected acoustically on the AUTEC range, with a particular focus on finding beaked whales Family Ziphiidae. 2 To photo-identify individual animals within each group found. 3 To attach digital acoustic tags or Dtags to beaked whales, pilot whales and other species to prepare for playback experiments and to gather baseline data on the diving behavior of these species in Tongue of the Ocean TOTO. 4 To conduct focal follows of the tagged whales before, during and after a playback experiment. 5 To conduct aerial surveys for stranded or injured cetaceans before BRS-08 commenced, following each playback if deemed necessary, and after BRS-08 ended, as part of the BRS mitigation. 6 To provide a team from a Bahamian non-governmental organization to allow independent observation of the experiment.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE