Beaked Whales and Pilot Whales in the Alboran Sea (SW Mediterranean): Research Towards Improved Science-Based Mitigation Strategies for Risks from Man-Made Sound
ALNITAK MARINE RESEARCH CENTER MADRID (SPAIN)
Pagination or Media Count:
There has been growing recognition that atypical mass strandings of beaked whales may coincide with naval exercises that use mid-frequency sonar, but the causal chain of events from sound exposure to stranding has not been elucidated. Even less is known about potential risks for other species of odontocete or for other signals. The primary genus proposed for study here, the pilot whale, has been documented to mass strand coincident with a sonar exercise, but the evidence linking strandings of delphinid odontocetes with sonar is weaker than that for ziphiid beaked whales. Preliminary studies indicate that the responses of delphinids to sonar and predators may differ from responses of beaked whales to the same stimuli, suggesting differential risk. The proposed research is part of a collaborative research program that will compare responses of beaked whales vs other odontocetes to playbacks of mid-frequency sonar sounds vs other sounds. The primary applied goal of the proposed research is to gain a better understanding of risks presented by sonar and other sounds to these species, to define safe exposures, and to improve science-based mitigation strategies.