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Development of a model to assess masking potential for marine mammals by the use of air guns in Antarctic waters

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Author: Wittekind, D. · Tougaard, J. · Stilz, P. · Dähne, M. · Clark, C.W. · Lucke, K. · Benda-Beckmann, A.M. von · Ainslie, M.A. · Siebert, U.
Publisher: Springer
Place: New York
Source:Popper, A.N.Hawkins, A., The Effects of Noise on Aquatic Life II, 1243-1249
Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
Identifier: 530279
doi: doi:10.1007/978-1-4939-2981-8_156
Keywords: Biology · Mysticetes · Pinnipeds · Seismic · Air guns · Antarctica · Frequency modulation · Marine mammals · Masking · Noise pollution · Process development · Sensory nerve conduction · Signal noise ratio · Sound analysis · Sound intensity · Sound propagation modeling · Vocalization · Waveform · Defence Research · Defence, Safety and Security · Observation, Weapon & Protection Systems · AS - Acoustics & Sonar · TS - Technical Sciences


We estimated the long-range effects of air gun array noise on marine mammal communication ranges in the Southern Ocean. Air gun impulses are subject to significant distortion during propagation, potentially resulting in a quasi- continuous sound. Propagation modeling to estimate the received waveform was conducted. A leaky integrator was used as a hearing model to assess communication masking in three species due to intermittent/continuous air gun sounds. Air gun noise is most probably changing from impulse to continuous noise between 1,000 and 2,000 km from the source, leading to a reduced communication range for, e.g., blue and fin whales up to 2,000 km from the source. © Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016.