Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

The Severity of Behavioral Changes Observed During Experimental Exposures of Killer (Orcinus orca), Long-Finned Pilot (Globicephala melas), and Sperm (Physeter macrocephalus) Whales to Naval Sonar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

DOI

Author(s)

Patrick J. O. Miller, Petter H. Kvadsheim, Frans-Peter A. Lam, Paul Wensveen, Ricardo Antunes, Ana Catarina Alves, Fleur Visser, Lars Kleivane, Peter L. Tyack, Lise Doksaeter Sivle

School/Research organisations

Abstract

This study describes behavioral changes of wild cetaceans observed during controlled exposures of naval sonar. In 2006 through 2009, 14 experiments were conducted with killer (n = 4), long-finned pilot (n = 6), and sperm (n = 4) whales. A total of 14 6-7 kHz upsweep, 13 1-2 kHz upsweep, and five 1-2 kHz downsweep sonar exposures, as well as seven Silent vessel control exposure sessions and eight playbacks of killer whale sounds were conducted. Sonar signals were transmitted by a towable source that approached each tagged subject from a starting distance of 6 to 8 km with a ramp up of source levels (from 152 to 158 to a maximum of 198 to 214 dB re: 1 mu Pa m). This procedure resulted in a gradual escalation of the sonar received level at the whale, measured by towed hydrophones and by tags that record movement and sound (Dtags). Observers tracked the position of each tagged animal and recorded group-level surface behavior. Two expert panels independently scored the severity of diverse behavioral changes observed during each sonar and control exposure, using the 0 to 9 point severity scale of Southall et al. (2007), and then reached consensus with a third-party moderator. The most severe responses scored (i.e., most likely to affect vital rates) included a temporary separation of a calf from its group, cessation of feeding or resting, and avoidance movements that continued after the sonar stopped transmitting. Higher severity scores were more common during sonar exposure than during Silent control sessions. Scored responses started at lower sound pressure levels (SPLs) for killer whales and were more severe during sonar exposures to killer and sperm whales than to long-finned pilot whales. Exposure sessions with the higher source level of 1 to 2 kHz sonar had more changes and a trend for higher maximum severity than 6 to 7 kHz sessions, but the order of the sessions had no effect. This approach is helpful to standardize the description of behavioral changes that occurred during our experiments and to identify and describe the severity of potential responses of free-ranging cetaceans to sonar.

Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)362-401
Number of pages40
JournalAquatic Mammals
Volume38
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

    Research areas

  • TURSIOPS-TRUNCATUS, TONE PULSES, cetaceans, RESPONSES, FORAGING BEHAVIOR, ocean noise, PORPOISE PHOCOENA-PHOCOENA, TEMPORARY THRESHOLD SHIFT, effects of sonar, SOUND PRESSURE LEVELS, BOWHEAD WHALES, BALAENA-MYSTICETUS, BEAUFORT SEA, severity scoring, controlled exposure experiments

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., 22 Jun 2019, In : Animal Cognition. 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. Aquatic Mammals (Journal)

    Joanna Louise Kershaw (Member of editorial board)
    27 Jul 2018

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

Related by journal

  1. A giant’s dance: underwater social and vocal behavior of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) recorded on the Northern Coast of Ecuador

    Oña, J., Duque, E., Garland, E. C., Seger, K., Narváez, M., Maldonado, J. & Denkinger, J., 8 May 2019, (Accepted/In press) In : Aquatic Mammals.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Marine mammal noise exposure criteria: updated scientific recommendations for residual hearing effects

    Southall, B. L., Finneran, J. J., Reichmuth, C., Nachtigall, P. E., Ketten, D. R., Bowles, A. E., Ellison, W. T., Nowacek, D. P. & Tyack, P. L., 11 Mar 2019, In : Aquatic Mammals. 45, 2, p. 125-232

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Can the camera lie? A non-permanent nick in a bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus)

    Quick, N. J., Cheney, B., Thompson, P. M. & Hammond, P. S., 12 Mar 2017, In : Aquatic Mammals. 43, 2, p. 156-161

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Incidence of Probable Vertebral Column Deformities in Norwegian and Icelandic Killer Whales (Orcinus orca)

    Jourdain, E. M., Samarra, F. I. P., Tavares, S. B. & Karoliussen, R. E., 13 Nov 2017, In : Aquatic Mammals. 43, 6, p. 682-690

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  5. Sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) collision with a research vessel: accidental collision or deliberate ramming?

    Fulling, G. L., Jefferson, T. A., Fertl, D., Salinas Vega, J. C., Oedekoven, C. S. & Kuczaj II, S. A., 10 Jul 2017, In : Aquatic Mammals. 43, 4, p. 421-429

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

ID: 46106423