Dose-response relationships for the onset of avoidance of sonar by free-ranging killer whales
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Eight experimentally controlled exposures to 1−2 kHz or 6−7 kHz sonar signals were conducted with four killer whale groups. The source level and proximity of the source were increased during each exposure in order to reveal response thresholds. Detailed inspection of movements during each exposure session revealed sustained changes in speed and travel direction judged to be avoidance responses during six of eight sessions. Following methods developed for Phase-I clinical trials in human medicine, response thresholds ranging from 94 to 164 dB re 1 μPa received sound pressure level (SPL) were fitted to Bayesian dose-response functions. Thresholds did not consistently differ by sonar frequency or whether a group had previously been exposed, with a mean SPL response threshold of 142 ± 15 dB (mean ± s.d.). High levels of between- and within-individual variability were identified, indicating that thresholds depended upon other undefined contextual variables. The dose-response functions indicate that some killer whales started to avoid sonar at received SPL below thresholds assumed by the U.S. Navy. The predicted extent of habitat over which avoidance reactions occur depends upon whether whales responded to proximity or received SPL of the sonar or both, but was large enough to raise concerns about biological consequences to the whales.
Miller , P , Antunes , R N , Wensveen , P J , Samarra , F I P , Alves , A C D C , Tyack , P L , Kvadsheim , P H , Kleivane , L , Lam , F-P A , Ainslie , M A & Thomas , L 2014 , ' Dose-response relationships for the onset of avoidance of sonar by free-ranging killer whales ' Journal of the Acoustical Society of America , vol 135 , no. 2 , pp. 975-993 . DOI: 10.1121/1.4861346
Journal of the Acoustical Society of America
Copyright 2014. Acoustical Society of America. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the Acoustical Society of America. The following article appeared as Dose-response relationships for the onset of avoidance of sonar by free-ranging killer whales Miller, P., Antunes, R. N., Wensveen, P. J., Samarra, F. I. P., Alves, A. C. D. C., Tyack, P. L., Kvadsheim, P. H., Kleivane, L., Lam, F-P. A., Ainslie, M. A. & Thomas, L. Feb 2014 In : Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 135, 2, p. 975-993 and may be found at http://scitation.aip.org/content/asa/journal/jasa/135/2/10.1121/1.4861346
The authors acknowledge the support of the MASTS pooling initiative (The Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland) in the completion of this study. MASTS is funded by the Scottish Funding Council (grant reference HR09011) and contributing institutions.
- University of St Andrews Research
- Biology Research
- Statistics Research
- Centre for Research into Ecological & Environmental Modelling (CREEM) Research
- Centre for Social Learning and Cognitive Evolution Research
- Institute of Behavioural and Neural Sciences Research
- NERC Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU) Research
- Scottish Oceans Institute Research
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