Fine-scale movement responses of free-ranging harbour porpoises to capture, tagging and short-term noise pulses from a single airgun

Open Access Peer Reviewed Publication 2018

Royal Society Open Science

Knowledge about the impact of anthropogenic disturbances on the behavioural responses of cetaceans is constrained by lack of data on fine-scale movements of individuals. We equipped five free-ranging harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) with high-resolution location and dive loggers and exposed them to a single 10 inch3 underwater airgun producing high-intensity noise pulses (2–3 s intervals) for 1 min. All five porpoises responded to capture and tagging with longer, faster and more directed movements as well as with shorter, shallower, less wiggly dives immediately after release, with natural behaviour resumed in less than or equal to 24 h. When we exposed porpoises to airgun pulses at ranges of 420–690 m with noise level estimates of 135–147 dB re 1 µPa2s (sound exposure level), one individual displayed rapid and directed movements away from the exposure site and two individuals used shorter and shallower dives compared to natural behaviour immediately after exposure. Noise-induced movement typically lasted for less than or equal to 8 h with an additional 24 h recovery period until natural behaviour was resumed. The remaining individuals did not show any quantifiable responses to the noise exposure. Changes in natural behaviour following anthropogenic disturbances may reduce feeding opportunities, and evaluating potential population-level consequences should be a priority research area.

Link To Publication

Similar Research

Influences of man-made noise and other human actions on cetacean behaviour

Pay-walled Journal Article 1995

Marine and Freshwater Behaviour and Physiology

Behavioral reactions of cetaceans to man-made noises are highly variable, ranging from attraction (e.g. bow riding by dolphins) or no response through short-term changes in behaviour...
Read More

A Summary of Existing and Future Potential Treatments for Reducing Underwater Sounds from Oil and Gas Industry Activities

Pay-walled Conference 2007

OCEANS 2007

This paper summarizes the efforts undertaken by the author to identify existing and future potential methods to reduce underwater sound levels created by nearly all oil...
Read More

Influence of seismic surveys on western gray whales off Sakhalin Island, Russia in 2001

Open Access Report 2002

Publications, Agencies and Staff of the U.S. Department of Commerce

Western gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus) aggregate off the northeastern coast of Sakhalin Island, Russia during summer-autumn to feed on benthic and near-benthic prey. During summer 2001,...
Read More

Broadband spectra of seismic survey air-gun emissions, with reference to dolphin auditory thresholds

Pay-walled Journal Article 1998

The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America

Acoustic emissions from a 2120 cubic in. air-gun array were recorded through a towed hydrophone assembly during an oil industry 2-D seismic survey off the West...
Read More

Effects of seismic energy releases on the survival and development of zoeal larvae of dungeness crab (Cancer magister)

Pay-walled Journal Article 1994

Marine Environmental Research

In blind, controlled field experiments, early Stage II zoeae of Dungeness crab (Cancer magister DANA) were exposed to sounds from single discharges of a 13·8-litre array...
Read More

Quantitative measures of air-gun pulses recorded on sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) using acoustic tags during controlled exposure experiments

Pay-walled Journal Article 2006

The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America

The widespread use of powerful, low-frequency air-gun pulses for seismic seabed exploration has raised concern about their potential negative effects on marine wildlife. Here, we quantify...
Read More

Low-frequency whale and seismic airgun sounds recorded in the mid-Atlantic Ocean

Pay-walled Journal Article 2004

The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America

Beginning in February 1999, an array of six autonomous hydrophones was moored near the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (35°N–15°N, 50°W–33°W). Two years of data were reviewed for whale...
Read More

Criteria and Thresholds of U.S. Navy Acoustic and Explosive Effects Analysis.

Open Access Report 2012

Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command Systems Centre Pacific

Sounds produced from naval activities can be divided into seven categories: (1) Sonars and other active acoustic sources; (2) Explosive detonations; (3) Ship noise; (4) Aircrafts...
Read More

A brief overview of seismic air-gun arrays.

Open Access Journal Article 2000

The Leading Edge

This article summarizes salient points one must know about seismic air-gun arrays to discuss seriously how they might affect marine life. It is by no means...
Read More

Short-term disturbance by a commercial two-dimensional seismic survey does not lead to long-term displacement of harbour porpoises

Open Access Peer Reviewed Publication 2013

Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences

Assessments of the impact of offshore energy developments are constrained because it is not known whether fine-scale behavioural responses to noise lead to broader-scale displacement of...
Read More