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Predicting acoustic dose associated with marine mammal behavioural responses to sound as detected with fixed acoustic recorders and satellite tags

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Author: Benda-Beckmann, A.M. von · Wensveen, P.J. · Prior, M. · Ainslie, M.A. · Hansen, R.R. · Isojunno, S. · Lam, F.P.A. · Kvadsheim, P.H. · Miller, P.J.O.
Publisher: Acoustical Society of America
Source:Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 3, 145, 1401-1416
Identifier: 866270
Keywords: Acoustic fields · Behavioral research · Mammals · Noise pollution · Satellites · Uncertainty analysis · Underwater acoustics · Acoustic environment · Animal response · Bottlenose whales · Marine mammals · Short durations · Spatial and temporal scale · Spatial coverage · Underwater noise · Bioacoustics


To understand the consequences of underwater noise exposure for cetaceans, there is a need for assessments of behavioural responses over increased spatial and temporal scales. Bottom-moored acoustic recorders and satellite tags provide such long-term and large spatial coverage of behaviour compared to short-duration acoustic-recording tags. However, these tools result in a decreased resolution of data from which an animal response can be inferred, and no direct recording of the sound received at the animal. This study discusses the consequence of the decreased resolution of data from satellite tags and fixed acoustic recorders on the acoustic dose estimated by propagation modelling and presents a method for estimating the range of sound levels that animals observed with these methods have received. This problem is illustrated using experimental results obtained during controlled exposures of northern bottlenose whales (Hyperoodon ampullatus) exposed to naval sonar, carried out near Jan Mayen, Norway. It is shown that variability and uncertainties in the sound field, resulting from limited sampling of the acoustic environment, as well as decreased resolution in animal locations, can lead to quantifiable uncertainties in the estimated acoustic dose associated with the behavioural response (in this case avoidance and cessation of foraging). © 2019 Acoustical Society of America.