[MARMAM] new paper: Changes in humpback whale song in response to OAWRS

Denise Risch denise.risch at noaa.gov
Thu Jan 12 07:54:24 PST 2012

Dear list members,

The paper below has just been published in PLoS ONE:

Risch D, Corkeron PJ, Ellison WT, Van Parijs SM (2012) Changes in Humpback
Whale Song Occurrence in Response to an Acoustic Source 200 km Away. PLoS
ONE 7(1): e29741. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0029741

The effect of underwater anthropogenic sound on marine mammals is of
increasing concern. Here we show that humpback whale (*Megaptera
novaeangliae*) song in the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary
(SBNMS) was reduced, concurrent with transmissions of an Ocean Acoustic
Waveguide Remote Sensing (OAWRS) experiment approximately 200 km away. We
detected the OAWRS experiment in SBNMS during an 11 day period in autumn
2006. We compared the occurrence of song for 11 days before, during and
after the experiment with song over the same 33 calendar days in two later
years. Using a quasi-Poisson generalized linear model (GLM), we demonstrate
a significant difference in the number of minutes with detected song
between periods and years. The lack of humpback whale song during the OAWRS
experiment was the most substantial signal in the data. Our findings
demonstrate the greatest published distance over which anthropogenic sound
has been shown to affect vocalizing baleen whales, and the first time that
active acoustic fisheries technology has been shown to have this effect.
The suitability of Ocean Acoustic Waveguide Remote Sensing technology for *
in-situ*, long term monitoring of marine ecosystems should be considered,
bearing in mind its possible effects on non-target species, in particular
protected species.

The paper can be downloaded from the journal website:


Denise Risch
Protected Species Branch, NEFSC
166 Water St
MA 02543, Woods Hole

ph: +1 (508) 495 2136
fax: +1 (508) 495 2066
email:denise.risch at noaa.gov
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