First direct measurements of behavioural responses by Cuvier’s beaked whales to mid-frequency active sonar

Open Access Peer Reviewed Publication 2013

Biology Letters

Most marine mammal strandings coincident with naval sonar exercises have involved Cuvier’s beaked whales (Ziphius cavirostris). We recorded animal movement and acoustic data on two tagged Ziphius and obtained the first direct measurements of behavioural responses of this species to mid-frequency active (MFA) sonar signals. Each recording included a 30-min playback (one 1.6-s simulated MFA sonar signal repeated every 25 s); one whale was also incidentally exposed to MFA sonar from distant naval exercises. Whales responded strongly to playbacks at low received levels (RLs; 89–127 dBre 1µPa): after ceasing normal fluking and echolocation, they swam rapidly, silently away, extending both dive duration and subsequent non-foraging interval. Distant sonar exercises (78–106 dB re 1µPa) did not elicit such responses, suggesting that context may moderate reactions. The observed responses to playback occurred at RLs well below current regulatory thresholds; equivalent responses to operational sonars could elevate stranding risk and reduce foraging efficiency.

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

Sounds from an oil production island in the Beaufort Sea in summer: Characteristics and contribution of vessels

Pay-walled Journal Article 2005

The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America

The objective of this study was to determine the levels, characteristics, and range dependence of underwater and in-air sounds produced during the open-water seasons of 2000–2003...
Read More

Ship noise and cortisol secretion in European freshwater fishes

Pay-walled Journal Article 2006

Biological Conservation

Underwater noise pollution is a growing problem in aquatic environments and as such may be a major source of stress for fish. In the present study,...
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

Harbour porpoises react to low levels of high frequency vessel noise.

Open Access Peer Reviewed Publication 2015

Scientific Reports

Cetaceans rely critically on sound for navigation, foraging and communication and are therefore potentially affected by increasing noise levels from human activities at sea. Shipping is...
Read More

The potential impact of 1-8 kHz active sonar on stocks of juvenile fish during sonar exercises.

Open Access Report 2005

Norwegian Defence Research Establishment

The mortality threshold for juvenile herring exposed to sonar signals is 180-190 dB (re 1μPa), and for other species even higher. This report analyses the potential...
Read More

Ambient Underwater Noise Levels at Norra Midsjöbanken during Construction of the Nord Stream Pipeline.

Open Access Journal Article 2012

Nord Stream

Norra Midsjöbanken is a Natura 2000 area situated approximately 50 km east of the southern tip of Öland island in the Swedish Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)....
Read More

Effects of exposure to intermittent and continuous 6–7 kHz sonar sweeps on harbor porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) hearing

Pay-walled Peer Reviewed Publication 2015

Journal of the Acoustical Society of America

Safety criteria for mid-frequency naval sonar sounds are needed to protect harbor porpoise hearing. A porpoise was exposed to sequences of one-second 6–7 kHz sonar down-sweeps,...
Read More

Effect of level, duration, and inter-pulse interval of 1-2 kHz sonar signal exposures on harbor porpoise hearing

Pay-walled Peer Reviewed Publication 2014

Journal of the Acoustical Society of America

Safety criteria for underwater low-frequency active sonar sounds produced during naval exercises are needed to protect harbor porpoise hearing. As a first step toward defining criteria,...
Read More