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Resources

Behavioral Response Studies


Using accelerometers to determine the calling behavior of tagged baleen whales

Low-frequency acoustic signals generated by baleen whales can propagate over vast distances, making the assignment of calls to specific individuals problematic. Here, we report the novel use of acoustic recording tags equipped with high-resolution accelerometers to detect vibrations from the surface of two tagged fin whales that directly match the timing of recorded acoustic signals.

Southall et al (2012) – Marine Mammal Behavioral Response Studies in Southern California: Advances in Technology and Experimental Methods
Behavioral response studies (BRS) are increasingly being conducted to better understand basic behavioral patterns in marine animals and how underwater sounds, including from human sources, can affect them. These studies are being enabled and enhanced by advances in both acoustic sensing and transmission technologies.

Marine Mammal BRS in Southern California: Advances in Technology and Experimental Methods
Behavioral response studies (BRS) are increasingly being conducted to better understand basic behavioral patterns in marine animals and how underwater sounds, including from human sources, can affect them.  This paper focuses on the advances in both acoustic sensing and transmission technologies.

BRS 07 – 08 Project Summary
A Behavioral Response Study in 2007 &2008 (BRS-07/08) was conducted in the Bahamas to study diving behavior and sound production in beaked whales and other marine mammals, including how animals may change their behavior when they hear different sounds.

Southall BRS Presentation at Quebec SMM 09
This presentation provides the combined scientific methodologies and accomplishments of BRS-07/08, as well as the important implications of our results.

Hazen BRS Presentation at Quebec SMM 09
This poster presentation gives detailed analyses of the acoustic measurements of potential cetacean prey species in the study area, as well as physical oceanographic measurements of small-scale water movement affecting prey distribution.

Allen BRS Presentation at Quebec SMM 09
This poster presentation provides detailed analyses of the movement patterns of the individual beaked whale exposed to mid-frequency sonar and killer whale sounds in BRS-07.

Sayigh BRS Presentation at Quebec SMM 09
This presentation provides detailed analysis and categorization of the vast array of sounds produced by short-fined pilot whales (before sound exposure) tagged during BRS-07/08.

Quick BRS Presentation at Quebec SMM 09
This presentation analyzes the vocal responses of tagged pilot whales before, during, and after sound exposure during BRS-07/08 and demonstrates changes in vocal behavior.

DeRuiter BRS Presentation at Quebec SMM 09
This presentation also assesses vocal responses during BRS-07/08, but also looks at other focal cetacean species (false killer whales and melon-headed whales) and identifies vocal ‘mimicry’ of sonar sounds in false killer whales.

“MED-09″ BRS Project Summary
MED-09 is a research project designed to measure where, why, and how different species of whales and dolphins live in interesting and important biological areas of the western Mediterranean Sea.

2009 Federal Register File No. 14534_for “SOCAL” BRS
Application requesting a five-year permit to conduct a research program involving studies of sound production, diving and other behavior, and responses to sound of marine mammals.

BRS-08 Final Cruise Report
This is the final cruise report of BRS-08, conducted in the Tongue of the Ocean, Bahamas) in which animals were exposed to carefully measured doses of underwater sound while their responses were being measured.

BRS-07 Final Cruise Report
This is the final cruise report of the first behavioral response study to be carried out on beaked and pilot whales in which these animals were exposed to carefully measured doses of underwater sound while their responses were being measured.




Field Research

Jeremy A. Goldbogen et al (2013) – Underwater acrobatics by the world’s largest predator: 360° rolling manoeuvres by lunge-feeding blue whales
In this study we measured the three dimensional kinematics and foraging behaviour of blue whales feeding on krill, using suction-cup attached multi-sensor tags.

Holt et al (2005) – Behavioral and Playback Investigations of Call Directionality in Male Northern Elephant Seals
This study describes a sound playback experiment to measure how elephant seals respond to sounds of other seals given from different orientations.

Southall et al (2003) – Signal Detection Ranges
This study uses a combination of field and laboratory data to make predictions about how far from one another elephant seals can be and still hear one another.




Lab Research on Noise Impacts

Kastak et al (2007 JASA) – Aerial TTS Study
Onset, growth, and recovery of in-air temporary threshold shift (TTS) in a California sea lion (Zalophus californianus).

Holt and Schusterman (2007) -_Spatial release from masking (SRM) of aerial tones in pinnipeds
In this study, SRM was investigated in a harbor seal, (Phoca vitulina), who naturally lacks pinnae, and California sea lion, (Zalophus californianus), who possesses reduced pinnae.

Holt et al_(2005 JASA) – Localization of aerial pure tones by pinnipeds
In this study, minimum audible angles (MAAs) of aerial pure tones were measured in and compared between a northern elephant seal (Mirounga angustirostris), a harbor seal (Phoca vitulina), and a California sea lion (Zalophus californianus).

Kastak et al (2005 JASA) – Underwater temporary threshold shift in pinnipeds: Effects of noise level and duration
Behavioral psychophysical techniques were used to evaluate the residual effects of underwater noise on the hearing sensitivity of three pinnipeds: a California sea lion (Zalophus californianus), a harbor seal (Phoca vitulina), and a northern elephant seal (Mirounga angustirostris). Temporary threshold shift (TTS), defined as the difference between auditory thresholds obtained before and after noise exposure, was assessed.

Southall et al_(2005 ARLO) – Reliability of underwater hearing thresholds in pinnipeds
Repeated measures of low-frequency underwater hearing sensitivity in individuals of three pinniped species tested over 4–7 years are presented.

Southall et al (2003 JASA) – Auditory masking in three pinnipeds: Aerial critical ratios and direct critical bandwidth measurements
This study expands the limited understanding of pinniped aerial auditory masking and includes measurements at some of the relatively low frequencies predominant in many pinniped vocalizations.

Southall et al (2000 JASA) – Masking in three pinnipeds: Underwater, low-frequency critical ratios
Behavioral techniques were used to determine underwater masked hearing thresholds for a northern elephant seal (Mirounga angustirostris), a harbor seal (Phoca vitulina), and a California sea lion (Zalophus californianus).

Kastak and Schusterman_(1998 JASA) – Low-frequency amphibious hearing in pinnipeds: Methods, measurements, noise, and ecology
Aerial low-frequency (100–6400 Hz) hearing thresholds were obtained for one California sea lion (Zalophus californianus), one harbor seal (Phoca vitulina), and one northern elephant seal (Mirounga angustirostris).




Marine Mammals and Noise – Criteria and Research Recommendations

2009 IATF Final Report
A Report of the Joint Subcommittee on Ocean Science & Technology (JSOST) – “Addressing the Effects of Human-Generated Sound on Marine Life: An Integrated Research Plan for U.S. Federal Agencies”.

Aquatic Mammals (2007 Volume 33, Number 4)
Marine Mammal Noise Exposure Criteria: Initial Scientific Recommendations




Shipping Noise

MEPC_59-19 (April 2009)
This document is the Marine Environment Protection Committee report on the issue of “Noise from commercial shipping and its adverse impact on marine life”.

Scholik plus Southall – AMSA Chap. 6 on Noise Disturbances
This is one chapter of a larger report (the Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment) that considers environmental impacts of commercial shipping on marine life, including noise.

August 2008 OSPAR_- Noise Module Shipping
This document also summarizes issues related to shipping noise and marine mammals as part of a larger document by OSPAR summarizing the effects of noise on marine life.

MEPC_58-19 (June 2008)
This document by the Marine Environment Protection Committee proposes the inclusion of a new high priority work programme item on the agenda of the Committee to take action to minimize the incidental introduction of noise from commercial shipping operations into the marine environment to reduce potential adverse impacts on marine life.

April 2008 – Report from the International Workshop on Shipping Noise and Marine Mammals held in Hamburg, Germany
A diverse group of stakeholders from around the world was convened with expertise in the areas of underwater acoustics, naval architecture, marine engineering, ship building, marine mammal bioacoustics, marine operations, and noise control, as well as in international maritime and environmental law and policy.

MEPC 57-20 INF.4 (December 2007)
This information document advises the Committee of the issue of noise generated by international shipping and its potential adverse impact on marine life.

NOAA 2007 Vessel Quieting Symposium Final Report
Potential Application of Vessel-Quieting Technology on Large Commercial Vessels

2004 Shipping Symposium Final Report
Shipping Noise and Marine Mammals: A Forum for Science, Management, and Technology

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.

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