Big Whales and an Old Friend

We’ve been offshore for another few days on the first phase of our SOCAL-13 experiment and just back in to recharge for our last few days. We have had reasonably good conditions the last few days and have been searching for beaked whales but haven’t had the luck with them we had last week. We have had two tags out on a fin whale (above – taken under NMFS #14534 by J. Calambokidis) and a blue whale near the busy shipping lanes out of Long Beach.

After almost a whole phase of our project we hadn’t seen the sperm whale we had seen and documented on each field phase of this project since 2010. Affectionately known as Mango, an adult male sperm whale that has been identified in this area for over 20 years has been a regular occurrence for us out here. Apparently he knew we were almost done with our work for these two weeks as he made a cameo appearance yesterday allowing us to get some photo ID pictures to continue the long time series documentation of his movement (below taken under NMFS #14534 by A. Friedlaender).

 

 

Offshore bottlenose dolphin riding the waves in southern California (taken under NMFS #14534 by B. Southall)

Beaked whale bonanza!!!


Sorry for the radio silence with the SOCAL-13 blog. We have had very good offshore conditions and great success accordingly! In fact, the last five days have seen multiple beaked whale tags deployed and multiple groups seen with many other near-miss approaches, which is a first in our efforts out here. We have gotten two long tags deployed on Cuvier’s beaked whales, one of which involved a mid-frequency sonar controlled exposure, and gotten a ton of great baseline data as well on these very difficult to study species (see above and below photos on Cuvier’s beaked whale tagging and tag on – both taken under NMFS permit #14534 by J. Calambokidis).

 

We have also had great success with other species as well, including Rissos dolphins and blue whales (see below – taken under NMFS permit #14534 by J. Calambokidis).

 

At the moment we have two more blue whales tagged and narrowing in on a fin whale, planning for some mapping of the prey fields for these feeding whales and a possible experimental trial this afternoon. We may be offshore again tomorrow with great conditions forecast but will provide more updates when we can. Thanks for the nice comments and interest in our progress out here studying these amazing animals.

BEGIN SOCAL-13

We are happy to report on the start of our SOCAL Behavioral Response Study for the 2013 field season (SOCAL-13). After several days of field efforts offshore we are back in internet range to provide an update on our progress. As a reminder for those of you following the blog or others that have just found it, we have lots of general information, photos, paper reprints, and informative links at the project website <www.socal-brs.org>. Additionally, as noted in many of these documents and with photo credits, our work is authorized under U.S. NMFS permit # 14534, Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary permit #2010-004, and are in accordance with a federal consistency determination of the California Coastal Commission. We are very fortunate in this project (thanks to the support of the U.S. Navy’s Living Marine Resources Research Program and the Office of Naval Research) to be able to study some amazing animals, measure aspects of behavior that are poorly known in many regards, and make controlled experimental measurements of their responses to sound. We have been committed throughout to an open and transparent process in providing information on our planned work and our progress. You can find project reports and public summary documents of planned efforts at the website given above.

The offshore weather hasn’t been great for the kinds of work we do (tagging marine mammals using non-invasive methods from small boats – see photo above). We have gotten to work early in the mornings in reasonable conditions and have typically found rougher to unworkable winds later in the day. Fortunately based on our experiences in the areas around the Channel Islands we adapted and found workable conditions and individuals of our focal study species with which to work. We have tagged two Risso’s dolphins (see below) as well as a blue whale in the past two days and conduct two experimental sequences. We have also had several acoustic and visual detections of Cuvier’s beaked whales – one of the highest priority yet most difficult species to work with – although we haven’t managed to tag one yet. We are ashore tonight to load up on provisions and fuel and reposition tomorrow for an offshore weather window starting Sunday that looks quite favorable. Look for more posts forthcoming in the next few weeks of phase I of SOCAL-13 – we will post information on our progress as we are able with internet access. Thanks for the interest and comments on the project to date – as mentioned, please see <www.socal-brs.org> for more details.

Rissos dolphin with a Digital Acoustic Recording Tag attached with suction cups during SOCAL-13 (taken under NMFS permit #14534, credit: A. Friedlaender)

Ari Friedlaender Goes Ballistic

Check out our very own Ari Friedlaender in a recent Wired magazine piece along with Vladimir Putin:

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2013/07/science-goes-ballistic-8-guns-for-hunting-knowledge/?pid=7282

NEW SOCAL-BRS PAPER ON BEAKED WHALE RESPONSES TO SOUND EXPOSURE

A second paper from the SOCAL-BRS project was published today as well. This paper (in Biology Letters) presents results for the responses of beaked whales to both controlled and incidental exposure to mid-frequency sonar signals. The reference for the paper is:

DeRuiter SL, Southall BL, Calambokidis J, Zimmer WMX, Sadykova D, Falcone EA, Friedlaender AS, Joseph JE, Moretti, D, Schorr GS, Thomas L, Tyack PL. 2013 First direct measurements of behavioural responses by Cuvier’s beaked whales to mid-frequency active sonar. Biol Lett 9: 20130223. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2013.0223

This paper is available through Open Access as well at: http://rsbl.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/9/4/20130223.full

The abstract for the paper is given here:

Most marine mammal strandings coincident with naval sonar exercises have involved Cuvier’s beaked whales (Ziphius cavirostris). We recorded animal movement and acoustic data on two tagged Ziphius and obtained the first direct measurements of behavioural responses of this species to mid-frequency active (MFA) sonar signals. Each recording included a 30-min playback (one 1.6-s simulated MFA sonar signal repeated every 25 s); one whale was also incidentally exposed to MFA sonar from distant naval exercises. Whales responded strongly to playbacks at low received levels (RLs; 89–127 dB re 1 micro Pa): after ceasing normal fluking and echolocation, they swam rapidly, silently away, extending both dive duration and subsequent non-foraging interval. Distant sonar exercises (78–106 dB re 1 micro Pa) did not elicit such responses, suggesting that context may moderate reactions. The observed responses to playback occurred at RLs well below current regulatory thresholds; equivalent responses to operational sonars could elevate stranding risk and reduce foraging efficiency.

 

NEW SOCAL BRS PAPER ON BLUE WHALE RESPONSES TO SOUND EXPOSURE

We are pleased to announce the publication of a new paper in the Proceedings of the Royal Society – B from our Southern California Behavioral Response Study on responses of blue whales to simulated sonar and other human sounds. The reference for the paper is:

Goldbogen JA, Southall BL, DeRuiter SL, Calambokidis J, Friedlaender AS, Hazen EL, Falcone EA, Schorr GS, Douglass A, Moretti DJ, Kyburg C, McKenna MF, Tyack PL. 2013. Blue whales respond to simulated mid-frequency military sonar. Proc R Soc B 20130657. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2013.0657

The paper is available through Open Access at: http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/280/1765/20130657.full

The abstract for the paper is included here:

Mid-frequency military (1–10 kHz) sonars have been associated with lethal mass strandings of deep-diving toothed whales, but the effects on endangered baleen whale species are virtually unknown. Here, we used controlled exposure experiments with simulated military sonar and other mid-frequency sounds to measure behavioural responses of tagged blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) in feeding areas within the Southern California Bight. Despite using source levels orders of magnitude below some operational military systems, our results demonstrate that mid-frequency sound can significantly affect blue whale behaviour, especially during deep feeding modes. When a response occurred, behavioural changes varied widely from cessation of deep feeding to increased swimming speed and directed travel away from the sound source. The variability of these behavioural responses was largely influenced by a complex interaction of behavioural state, the type of mid-frequency sound and received sound level. Sonar-induced disruption of feeding and displacement from high-quality prey patches could have significant and previously undocumented impacts on baleen whale foraging ecology, individual fitness and population health.

New Paper on Amphibious Hearing in Pinnipeds in Special Issue of Journal of Comparative Physiology (A)

SEA blog,

Please note the availability of a new special issue of Journal of Comparative Physiology (A) on Sensory Biology of Marine Animals (see below details and link). Within this issue is an original paper lead by Colleen Reichmuth at UCSC <www.pinnipedlab.org> to which SEA’s B. Southall contributed. This paper is available on request.

Comparative assessment of amphibious hearing in pinnipeds

Colleen Reichmuth (1), Marla M. Holt (2), Jason Mulsow (3), Jillian M. Sills (4) and Brandon L. Southall (1, 5)

(1) Long Marine Laboratory, Institute of Marine Sciences, University of California Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, USA

(2) Conservation Biology Division, Northwest Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2725 Montlake Blvd. East, Seattle, WA 98112, USA

(3) National Marine Mammal Foundation, 2240 Shelter Island Drive, # 200, San Diego, CA 92106, USA

(4) Long Marine Laboratory, Department of Ocean Sciences, University of California Santa Cruz, 100 Shaffer Road, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, USA

(5) SEA Inc., 9099 Soquel Drive, Suite 8, Aptos, CA 95003, USA

 

http://link.springer.com/journal/359/199/6/page/1  

Journal of Comparative Physiology A

Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology

Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg

Volume 199, Issue 6, June 2013

 

Special Issue: Sensory Biology of Aquatic Mammals

 (13 articles)

Guest Editors: Wolf Hanke, Guido Dehnhardt

Editor-in chief: Friedrich G. Barth

 

Editorial:

Sensory biology of aquatic mammals

Wolf Hanke (1, 2) and Guido Dehnhardt (1, 2)

(1) Institute for Biosciences, Chair of Sensory and Cognitive Ecology, Rostock University, Albert-Einstein-Strasse 3, 18059 Rostock, Germany

(2) Marine Science Center, Am Yachthafen 3a, 18119 Rostock, Germany

 

Review:

Hydrodynamic perception in true seals (Phocidae) and eared seals (Otariidae)

Wolf Hanke (1), Sven Wieskotten (1), Christopher Marshall (2) and Guido Dehnhardt (1)

(1) Institute for Biosciences, Chair of Sensory and Cognitive Ecology, Rostock University, Albert-Einstein-Strasse 3, 18059 Rostock, Germany

(2) Department of Marine Biology, Texas A&M University, Galveston, TX 77553, USA 

 

Original Paper:

Detection of hydrodynamic stimuli by the Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris)

Joseph C. Gaspard III (1, 2), Gordon B. Bauer (1, 3), Roger L. Reep (2), Kimberly Dziuk (1), LaToshia Read (1) and David A. Mann (1, 4)

(1) Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, Sarasota, FL 34236, USA

(2) Aquatic Animal Health Program, Department of Physiological Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610, USA

(3) Division of Social Sciences, New College of Florida, Sarasota, FL 34243, USA

(4) College of Marine Science, University of South Florida, St. Petersburg, FL 33701, USA

 

Original Paper:

Echolocation in Blainville’s beaked whales (Mesoplodon densirostris)

P. T. Madsen (1), N. Aguilar de Soto (2, 3), P. Arranz (2, 3) and M. Johnson (3)

(1) Department of Bioscience—Zoophysiology, Aarhus University, Build. 1131, Århus, Denmark

(2) Department of Animal Biology, La Laguna University, 38206 La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain

(3) Scottish Oceans Institute, University of St. Andrews, St. Andrews, KY16 8LB, Scotland

 

Review:

Gain control in the sonar of odontocetes

Alexander Ya Supin (1) and Paul E. Nachtigall (2)

(1) Institute of Ecology and Evolution, Russian Academy of Science, 33 Leninsky Prospect, 119071 Moscow, Russia

(2) Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, University of Hawaii, Hawaii, USA

 

Review:

Communication in bottlenose dolphins: 50 years of signature whistle research

Vincent M. Janik (1) and Laela S. Sayigh (2)

(1) Sea Mammal Research Unit, School of Biology, University of St Andrews, Fife, KY16 8LB, UK

(2) Biology Department, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA 02543, USA

 

Original Paper:

Comparative assessment of amphibious hearing in pinnipeds

Colleen Reichmuth (1), Marla M. Holt (2), Jason Mulsow (3), Jillian M. Sills (4) and Brandon L. Southall (1, 5)

(1) Long Marine Laboratory, Institute of Marine Sciences, University of California Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, USA

(2) Conservation Biology Division, Northwest Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2725 Montlake Blvd. East, Seattle, WA 98112, USA

(3) National Marine Mammal Foundation, 2240 Shelter Island Drive, # 200, San Diego, CA 92106, USA

(4) Long Marine Laboratory, Department of Ocean Sciences, University of California Santa Cruz, 100 Shaffer Road, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, USA

(5) SEA Inc., 9099 Soquel Drive, Suite 8, Aptos, CA 95003, USA

 

Original Paper:

Are harbour seals (Phoca vitulina) able to perceive and use polarised light?

Frederike D. Hanke (1), Lars Miersch (1), Eric J. Warrant (2), Fedor M. Mitschke (3) and Guido Dehnhardt (1)

(1) Institute for Biosciences, Sensory and Cognitive Ecology, University of Rostock, Albert-Einstein-Str. 3, 18059 Rostock, Germany

(2) Lund Vision Group, Department of Biology, University of Lund, Sölvegatan 35, 22362 Lund, Sweden

(3) Institute for Physics, University of Rostock, Universitätsplatz 3, 18055 Rostock, Germany

 

Original Paper:

Vibrissal touch sensing in the harbor seal (Phoca vitulina): how do seals judge size?

Robyn Grant (1, 2), Sven Wieskotten (3), Nina Wengst (3), Tony Prescott (1) and Guido Dehnhardt (3)

(1) Active Touch Laboratory, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK

(2) Division of Biology and Conservation Ecology, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK

(3) Marine Science Center, University of Rostock, Rostock, Germany 

Original Paper:

Olfactory discrimination ability of South African fur seals (Arctocephalus pusillus) for enantiomers

Sunghee Kim (1), Mats Amundin (2) and Matthias Laska (1)

(1) IFM Biology, Linköping University, 581 83 Linköping, Sweden

(2) Kolmårdens Djurpark, 618 92 Kolmården, Sweden

 

Review:

The neurobiology and behavior of the American water shrew (Sorex palustris)

Kenneth C. Catania (1)

(1) Department of Biological Sciences, Vanderbilt University, VU Station B, Box 35-1634, Nashville, TN 37235-1634, USA

 

Review:

Passive electroreception in aquatic mammals

Nicole U. Czech-Damal (1), Guido Dehnhardt (2), Paul Manger (3) and Wolf Hanke (2)

(1) Biocenter Grindel and Zoological Museum, University of Hamburg, Martin-Luther-King-Platz 3, 20146 Hamburg, Germany

(2) Institute for Biosciences, University of Rostock, Albert-Einstein-Strasse 3, 18059 Rostock, Germany

(3) School of Anatomical Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, 7 York Road, Parktown, 2193 Johannesburg, South Africa

Review:

Consciousness in dolphins? A review of recent evidence

Heidi E. Harley (1)

(1) Division of Social Sciences, New College of Florida, 5800 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota, FL 34243, USA

SEA’s Dr. Hugh Southall lead author on new publication on magnetic wave reflection

SEA Senior Scientist Dr. Hugh Southall has published a new paper in Microwave and Optical Technology Letters. Dr. Southall has long been a leading expert in signal processing, electrical engineering, and radar and antenna technology. SEA is very proud and privileged to bring his expertise to the new and challenging environmental issues on which we are working. This paper is just one example of his exciting and cutting edge research in applying complex signal processing and engineering solutions to tough question.

 

TRANSVERSE MAGNETIC WAVE REFLECTION FROM A METAMATERIAL

Hugh L. Southall,1 Bae-Ian Wu,2 and Jeffery W. Allen2

1 SEA, Inc., 2 Luan Circle, Chelmsford, MA 01824

2 Sensors Directorate, AFRL/RYHA, 2241 Avionics Circle, Wright-Patterson AFB, OH 45433-7320;

Corresponding author: hughso@verizon.net

The article is available online through the following link: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/mop.27454/abstract

Abstract: It has been shown that transverse electric plane waves reflect from certain types of metamaterials with a unit magnitude reflection coefficient (Smith and Schurig, Phys Rev Lett 90 &899;2003), 077405-1–077405-4).Here we investigate the reflection of transverse magnetic plane waves using a Hertzian dipole over a semi-infinite slab of metamaterial, which is used as a ground plane. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Microwave Opt Technol Lett 55:899–903, 2013; View this article online at wileyonlinelibrary.com. DOI 10.1002/mop.27454

B. Southall Kicks Off Marine Sound Working Group of World Ocean Council

SEA’s Dr. Brandon Southall served as a co-chair of the newly formed Marine Sound Working Group at the World Ocean Council’s 2013 Sustainable Ocean Summit (SOS) which was held earlier this week in Washington DC.

Dr. Southall gave an interview with Maritime TV on the issues related to human sound in the oceans and marine life, the importance of the SOS, and the initiation of the working group. You can see the interview at: <http://maritimetv.com/Events/WorldOceanCouncilSOS2013.aspx?VID=maritime/130423_Maritime_WOC_Interview_Southall.flv#anchor>. Look for other interviews of SOS participants below as well.

 

Brandon Southall to give Science Sunday Lecture at Long Marine Lab Seymour Center

Dr. Brandon Southall will give the Science Sunday Lecture this month at UCSC’s Long Marine Laboratory Seymour Center

Sunday, April 21, 1 PM
Ocean Journeys: How I became a marine scientist
Brandon Southall Research Associate, UC Santa Cruz
President and Senior Scientist, SEA, Inc.

Not everyone knows what they want to be when they “grow-up.” And growing up in East Texas doesn’t seem like a direct path to becoming a marine scientist, but that’s how it all started for Brandon Southall.

Bass fishing in Texas, studying fresh water ecology in Montana, and a college exchange opportunity to the University of Hawai’i are just the beginnings of the story that Southall discusses from his new book Ocean Journeys: Beginnings, describing one man’s discovery of the ocean, the animals that live in it, and a passion for understanding and conserving the sea.

Southall will discuss how some of the formative personal and research experiences in his early life and career that shaped and guided his evolution as a marine scientist. These include diving and fishing in Hawai’i and the Florida Keys, tracking turtles on black sand beaches, finding the cold edges of Monterey Bay, and being fully immersed in the amazing science and collaborations at Long Marine Lab. Southall’s adventures led him to Washington DC, around the world, and back again to the Monterey Bay.

Join us at this Science Sunday for a unique look at the person behind the ocean science that is making a difference. Ocean Journeys: Beginnings is available in the Seymour Center’s Ocean Discovery Shop. Southall will be available to sign books immediately following the talk.

More information is available at http://seymourcenter.ucsc.edu

 

SOCAL-BRS

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

Southall Environmental Associates, Inc.

Reducing environmental impacts from essential human activities requires unique approaches to meet challenging conservation objectives in the 21st century. SEA, Inc. works globally with diverse scientific teams and cutting-edge technologies to provide real-world solutions. Learn more about SEA