New Paper on Spotted Seal Hearing

We are very happy to announce the recent publication on hearing and the masking effects of noise in spotted seals. This is the first-ever such measurement of hearing in this species both in air and under water. This study was conducted in highly controlled and quiet acoustic environments and the results indicate very acute hearing by these phocid seals both above and below the water. Jillian Sills, a graduate student in Dr. Colleen Reichmuth’s lab at UC Santa Cruz <see: www.pinnipedlab.orb> was the lead author of this seminar article. SEA’s Brandon Southall was fortunate to work with the UCSC team on this important project, which is continuing with the first-ever measurements of how seismic airguns affect the hearing of seals. Related studies are also underway with ringed seals, another important species of Arctic seal, and future work is planned with bearded seals.

Sills, J. M., Southall, B. L., & Reichmuth, C. (2014). Amphibious hearing in spotted seals (Phoca largha): underwater audiograms, aerial audiograms and critical ratio measurements. The Journal of experimental biology217(5), 726-734.

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SOCAL-BRS is a study of basic behavior and responses to controlled sound exposures in a variety of marine mammal species.

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