Cumulative and Synergistic Effects of Physical, biological, and Acoustic Signals on Marine Mammal Habitat Use
Final rept. 1 Feb 2008-31 Dec 2012
WASHINGTON UNIV SEATTLE APPLIED PHYSICS LAB
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The long-term goal of this research effort was to enhance the understanding of how variability in physical, biological, and acoustic signals impact marine mammal prey and resulting marine mammal habitat use. This is especially critical in areas like the Bering Sea where global climate change can lead to rapid changes of the entire ecosystem. Synoptic measurements of marine mammal vocal presence, prey concentrations, physical oceanographic processes, and sound levels were made to better understand the relationship between environmental sound levels, ice cover and zooplankton community structure in different regions of the Bering Sea. These combined datasets provide information for predicting upper-level trophic dynamics, including marine mammal distribution and range, as sub-Arctic conditions continue to change. Baseline measurements are playing an important role in mitigation efforts and environmental assessments as commercial, recreation, and military activity increase in the region.