Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

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

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

1. Marine mammals may be negatively affected by anthropogenic noise. Behavioural response studies (BRSs) aim to establish a relationship between the exposure dose of a stressor and associated behavioural responses of animals. A recent series of BRSs have focused on the effects of naval sonar on cetaceans. Here we review the current state of understanding of the impact of sonar on marine mammals and highlight knowledge gaps and future research priorities.
2. Many marine mammal species exhibit responses to naval sonar. However, responses are highly variable between and within individuals, species and populations, highlighting the importance of context in modulating dose-response relationships.
3. There is increasing support for the risk-disturbance hypothesis as an underlying response mechanism. This hypothesis proposes that sonar sounds may be perceived by animals as a threat, evoking an evolved anti-predator response. An understanding of responses within both the dose-response and risk-disturbance frameworks may enhance our ability to predict responsiveness for unstudied species and populations.
4. Many observed behavioural responses are energetically costly, but the way in which these responses may lead to long-term individual and population level impacts is poorly understood.
Synthesis and Applications
Behavioural response studies have greatly enhanced our understanding of the potential effects of navy sonar on marine mammals. Despite data gaps, we believe a dose-response approach within a risk-disturbance framework will enhance our ability to predict responsiveness for unstudied species and populations. We advocate for (1) regulatory frameworks to utilise recent peer-reviewed research findings when making predictions of impact (where feasible within assessment cycles), (2) regulatory frameworks to account for the inherent uncertainty in predictions of impact, and (3) investment in monitoring programmes that are both directed by recent research and offer opportunities for validation of predictions at the individual and population level.
Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)396-404
JournalJournal of Applied Ecology
Volume55
Issue number1
Early online date20 Jul 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018

    Research areas

  • Sonar, Cetaceans, Human disturbance, Impact assessment, Anti-predator response, Anthropogenic noise, Behavioural response, Marine mammals, Dose response

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

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. From physiology to policy: a review of physiological noise effects on marine fauna with implications for mitigation

    Aguilar De Soto, N., Gkikopoulou, K., Hooker, S., Isojunno, S., Johnson, M., Miller, P., Tyack, P., Wensveen, P., Donovan, C., Harris, C. M., Harris, D., Marshall, L., Oedekoven, C., Prieto, R. & Thomas, L., Dec 2016, In : Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics. 27, 1, 14 p., 040008.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

  2. The challenges of analyzing behavioral response study data: an overview of the MOCHA (Multi-study OCean acoustics Human effects Analysis) project

    Harris, C. M., Thomas, L., Sadykova, D., De Ruiter, S. L., Tyack, P. L., Southall, B. L., Read, A. J. & Miller, P., 2016, Effects of Noise on Aquatic Life II. Popper, A. N. & Hawkins, A. (eds.). Springer Science and Business Media, p. 399-407 9 p. (Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology; vol. 875).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

  3. Dose response severity functions for acoustic disturbance in cetaceans using recurrent event survival analysis

    Harris, C. M., Sadykova, D., De Ruiter, S. L., Tyack, P. L., Miller, P., Kvadsheim, P., Lam, F-P. & Thomas, L., 20 Nov 2015, In : Ecosphere. 6, 11, 14 p., 236.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Individual, ecological, and anthropogenic influences on activity budgets of long-finned pilot whales

    Isojunno, S., Sadykova, D., DeRuiter, S., Curé, C., Visser, F., Thomas, L., Miller, P. J. O. & Harris, C. M., Dec 2017, In : Ecosphere. 8, 12, 26 p., e02044.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  5. Naval sonar disrupts foraging behaviour in humpback whales

    Sivle, L. D., Wensveen, P. J., Kvadsheim, P., Lam, F-P. A., Visser, F., Cure, C., Harris, C. M., Tyack, P. L. & Miller, P., 29 Dec 2016, In : Marine Ecology Progress Series. 562, p. 211-220

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related by journal

  1. Journal of Applied Ecology (Journal)

    Jason Matthiopoulos (Editor)
    2007 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

Related by journal

  1. Empirical determination of severe trauma in seals from collisions with tidal turbine blades

    Onoufriou, J., Brownlow, A., Moss, S., Hastie, G. & Thompson, D., 14 May 2019, In : Journal of Applied Ecology. Early View, 13 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Harbour seals avoid tidal turbine noise: implications for collision risk

    Hastie, G. D., Russell, D. J. F., Lepper, P., Elliott, J., Wilson, B., Benjamins, S. & Thompson, D., Mar 2018, In : Journal of Applied Ecology. 55, 2, p. 684-693 10 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Counting chirps: acoustic monitoring of cryptic frogs

    Measey, G. J., Stevenson, B. C., Scott, T., Altwegg, R. & Borchers, D. L., Jun 2017, In : Journal of Applied Ecology. 54, 3, p. 894-902 9 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Seals and shipping: quantifying population risk and individual exposure to vessel noise

    Jones, E. L., Hastie, G. D., Smout, S., Onoufriou, J., Merchant, N. D., Brookes, K. L. & Thompson, D., Dec 2017, In : Journal of Applied Ecology. 54, 6, p. 1930-1940

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

ID: 246305917