We have come to the end of the first full research phase for the SOCAL-BRS project in 2013. In terms of our success with the high-priority beaked whale species, this was the most successful period we have had in this project. We had two successful tag deployments (see below – taken under NMFS #14534-2, credit J. Calambokidis) and at least three other very close attempts with multiple groups. We had both successful visual focal follows over many “shallow” dives and acoustic tracking of focal groups through deeper foraging bouts covering many miles. Having multiple groups detected and tracked with multiple tags deployed and a full CEE sequence with workable weather for five straight days well offshore was unprecedented for us as well.
On the days we did not manage beaked whales we had lots of luck with Rissos dolphins (8 total tags, 4 CEEs), fin whales (2 tags, 2 CEEs – below photo taken under NMFS #14534-2, credit J. Calambokidis) and targeted deployments on blue whales (3 tags, 3 CEEs).
Another major development, as described in the public summary for this project linked to the SOCAL-13 page on <socal-brs.org>, was our first coordinations with the U.S. Navy to coordinate with already ongoing training operations to have real military sonar systems used as sound sources in our CEEs rather than the small, scaled simulations we have used to this point. Our colleagues at the Navy just issued some additional information on this partnership and have more information about it available in several locations – please see:
http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=75825 https://www.facebook.com/navycurrents?ref=hl http://www.enn.com/press_releases/4187 http://greenfleet.dodlive.mil/environment/
Thanks again for following us out here and for the many comments and nice emails I have and continue to receive. We will be back for phase II in September and will resume the from the field blog at that point. We will have some additional updates and information on forthcoming presentations and manuscripts before then likely as well, as we have another paper coming out from the project soon.
Tagged blue whale (see gold DTAG attached to left side of the whale) with our research boat “TRUTH” in the background (taken under NMFS #14534, credit J. Calambokidis)