How effectively do horizontal and vertical response strategies of long-finned pilot whales reduce sound exposure from naval sonar?
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The behaviour of a marine mammal near a noise source can modulate the sound exposure it receives. We demonstrate that two long-finned pilot whales both surfaced in synchrony with consecutive arrivals of multiple sonar pulses. We then assess the effect of surfacing and other behavioural response strategies on the received cumulative sound exposure levels and maximum sound pressure levels (SPLs) by modelling realistic spatiotemporal interactions of a pilot whale with an approaching source. Under the propagation conditions of our model, some response strategies observed in the wild were effective in reducing received levels (e.g. movement perpendicular to the source's line of approach), but others were not (e.g. switching from deep to shallow diving; synchronous surfacing after maximum SPLs). Our study exemplifies how simulations of source-whale interactions guided by detailed observational data can improve our understanding about motivations behind behaviour responses observed in the wild (e.g., reducing sound exposure, prey movement).
Wensveen , P J , von Benda-Beckmann , A M , Ainslie , M A , Lam , F-P A , Kvadsheim , P H , Tyack , P L & Miller , P J O 2015 , ' How effectively do horizontal and vertical response strategies of long-finned pilot whales reduce sound exposure from naval sonar? ' Marine Environmental Research , vol 106 , pp. 68-81 . DOI: 10.1016/j.marenvres.2015.02.005
Marine Environmental Research
© 2015. Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Marine Environmental Research. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Marine Environmental Research, May 2015, DOI 10.1016/j.marenvres.2015.02.005
PJW was supported with studentships of The Netherlands Ministry of Defence (grant number 032.30370/01.02) and the VSB Foundation (grant number VSB.08/228-E) and Ren e Dekeling is acknowledged for making funding possible. The 3S project was supported by the US Ofﬁce of Naval Research, The Netherlands Ministry of Defence, Royal Norwegian Navy and Norwegian Ministry of Defence, and by World Wildlife Fund Norway. PLT received funding from the MASTS pooling initiative (The Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland) and their support is gratefully acknowledged.
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