[MARMAM] On-Line Lecture this Thursday: "New Findings on the Effects of Noise on the Behavior of Whales and Dolphins"

Brandon Southall Brandon.Southall at sea-inc.net
Thu Jan 20 09:54:18 PST 2011


In consultation with colleagues involved in the SOCAL Behavioral 
Response Study (BRS), I would like to comment on Renee Owens recent 
MARMAM post.  Constructive dialog on this issue is welcome and I 
appreciate her expressing her views and MARMAM for providing a forum in 
this regard.

The purpose of the project is to provide scientific data on how marine 
mammals react to various sounds (following specific protective 
protocols), including simulated military sonar, to inform 
decision-making both for operational planning and regulatory 
assessments.  I am not entirely clear what Renee is referring to in 
terms of "sound buffering" or sonar "alternatives", but clearly our work 
does not override or circumvent ongoing efforts to mitigate any adverse 
effects of sonar training exercises.  Rather, we are providing some of 
the first direct empirical data on behavioral responses in various 
species that will directly inform how mitigation and conservation 
management related to the effects of human sounds in the ocean should 
best be accomplished.

The SOCAL BRS project is supported by different parts of the U.S. Navy, 
but none of the results from this project are classified and the Navy 
has exerted no data rights or restrictions on their release or 
publication. The project is closely partnered with NOAA who has been 
involved in various elements of planning, permitting, and field work.  
Most of the scientists involved in the project are from academic or 
private research organizations.  We are committed to the fair and open 
transmissions of results to Navy and NOAA as well as the scientific and 
environmental communities working in these areas, regardless of their 
potential implications for the Navy or anyone else.

Along these lines, in addition to the many open public presentations and 
discussions on this project, there are multiple sources of additional 
information on previous research efforts (for instance, see: 
<http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/acoustics/behavior.htm>).  For the SOCAL 
BRS project specifically, we have also developed a variety of ways to 
relate information on the SOCAL BRS goals and results specifically, 
     - Simple project summary and frequency asked questions 
     - Detailed project summary 
     - A from-the-field blog of our daily activities (start at: 
     - A Facebook page with photos and short videos demonstrating 
aspects of the project 

A publicly-available summary report of the project will be available at 
<www.sea-inc.net/SOCAL10> sometime in February; many of the results and 
preliminary conclusions in this report were included in the Smithsonian 
summary presentation available online.

Brandon Southall
SOCAL BRS project chief scientist

PLEASE NOTE: New mailing address and office/FAX #s for SEA, Inc.

Brandon L. Southall, Ph.D.
President, Senior Scientist, SEA, Inc.
Research Associate, University of California, Santa Cruz
9099 Soquel Drive, Suite 8, Aptos, CA 95003, USA
831.332.8744 (mobile); 831.661.5177 (office); 831.661.5178 (fax)
Brandon.Southall at sea-inc.net; www.sea-inc.net

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