Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

How effectively do horizontal and vertical response strategies of long-finned pilot whales reduce sound exposure from naval sonar?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


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).


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-81
Number of pages14
JournalMarine Environmental Research
Early online date24 Feb 2015
Publication statusPublished - May 2015

    Research areas

  • Cetaceans, Disturbance, Behaviour, Environmental impact, Noise, Risk assessment, Individual-based models, Sonar

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Evidence for discrimination between feeding sounds of familiar fish and unfamiliar mammal-eating killer whale ecotypes by long-finned pilot whales

    Curé, C., Isojunno, S., I Vester, H., Visser, F., Oudejans, M., Biassoni, N., Massenet, M., Barluet de Beauchesne, L., J Wensveen, P., Sivle, L. D., Tyack, P. L. & Miller, P. J. O., Sep 2019, In : Animal Cognition. 22, 5, p. 863-882 20 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Northern bottlenose whales in a pristine environment respond strongly to close and distant navy sonar signals

    Wensveen, P. J., Isojunno, S., Hansen, R. R., Von Benda-beckmann, A. M., Kleivane, L., Van Ijsselmuide, S., Lam, F. A., Kvadsheim, P. H., Deruiter, S. L., Curé, C., Narazaki, T., Tyack, P. L. & Miller, P. J. O., 20 Mar 2019, In : Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 286, 1899, 10 p., 20182592.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Marine mammals and sonar: dose-response studies, the risk-disturbance hypothesis and the role of exposure context

    Harris, C. M., Thomas, L., Falcone, E., Hildebrand, J., Houser, D., Kvadsheim, P., Lam, F-P. A., Miller, P., Moretti, D. J., Read, A., Slabbekoorn, H., Southall, B. L., Tyack, P. L., Wartzok, D. & Janik, V. M., Jan 2018, In : Journal of Applied Ecology. 55, 1, p. 396-404

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

  4. Lack of behavioural responses of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) indicate limited effectiveness of sonar mitigation

    Wensveen, P. J., Kvadsheim, P. H., Lam, F-P. A., von Benda-Beckmann, A. M., Sivle, L. D., Visser, F., Curé, C., Tyack, P. L. & Miller, P. J. O., 15 Nov 2017, In : Journal of Experimental Biology. 220, 22, p. 4150-4161

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  5. Avoidance responses of minke whales to 1–4 kHz naval sonar

    Kvadsheim, P. H., DeRuiter, S., Sivle, L. D., Goldbogen, J., Roland-Hansen, R., Miller, P. J. O., Lam, F-P. A., Calambokidis, J., Friedlaender, A., Visser, F., Tyack, P. L., Kleivane, L. & Southall, B., 15 Aug 2017, In : Marine Pollution Bulletin. 121, 1-2, p. 60-68

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related by journal

  1. Marine Environmental Research (Journal)

    Joanna Louise Kershaw (Member of editorial board)
    30 Aug 2018

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPeer review of manuscripts

Related by journal

  1. Physiological response of the coralline alga Corallina officinalis L. to both predicted long-term increases in temperature and short-term heatwave events

    Rendina, F., Bouchet, P. J., Appolloni, L., Russo, G. F., Sandulli, R., Kolzenburg, R., Putra, A. & Ragazzola, F., 22 Jul 2019, In : Marine Environmental Research. In press

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Show your beaks and we tell you what you eat: different ecology in sympatric Antarctic benthic octopods under a climate change context

    Matias, R. S., Gregory, S., Ceia, F. R., Baeta, A., Seco, J., Rocha, M. S., Fernandes, E. M., Reis, R. L., Silva, T. H., Pereira, E., Piatkowski, U., Ramos, J. A. & Xavier, J. C., 8 Jul 2019, In : Marine Environmental Research. 150

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Transcriptomes analysis of Aeromonas molluscorum Av27 cells exposed to tributyltin (TBT): unravelling the effects from the molecular level to the organism

    Cruz, A., Rodrigues, R., Monsanto Pinheiro, M. & Mendo, S., Aug 2015, In : Marine Environmental Research. 109, p. 132-139

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Infection, haematology and biochemistry in grey seal pups exposed to chlorinated biphenyls

    Hall, A. J., Pomeroy, P., Green, N., Jones, K. & Harwood, J., Feb 1997, In : Marine Environmental Research. 43, 1/2, p. 81-98 18 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

ID: 191321558