[MARMAM] New report: satellite tagging, photo-identfication and PAM of odontocetes off Kaua'i in 2013

Robin Baird rwbaird at cascadiaresearch.org
Wed Aug 13 12:49:27 PDT 2014

New report available:

Baird, R.W., S.M. Jarvis, D.L. Webster, B.K. Rone, J.A. Shaffer, S.D. Mahaffy, A.M. Gorgone and D.J. Moretti. 2014. Odontocete studies on the Pacific Missile Range Facility in July/August 2013: satellite-tagging, photo-identification, and passive acoustic monitoring. Prepared for Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, submitted to Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Pacific by HDR Environmental, Operations and Construction, Inc.

Abstract. A joint project in July and August 2013 on and around the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) combined passive acoustic monitoring and boat-based field efforts. There were 671 kilometers (36.6 hours [hr]) of small-vessel survey effort over the course of the 8-day project, with 55.1 percent of time (20.2 hr) spent within the PMRF instrumented hydrophone range boundaries. A total of 33.0 hr of acoustic monitoring coincided with the small-vessel field effort. There were 18 sightings of four species of odontocetes, five of which were directed by acoustic detections from the Marine Mammal Monitoring on Navy Ranges (M3R) system. Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) were encountered on six occasions, spinner dolphins (Stenella longirostris) on three, rough-toothed dolphins (Steno bredanensis) on eight, and false killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens) once. Recordings on the M3R system were made for three of the four species (all but spinner dolphins) to improve species classification for future acoustic monitoring efforts. During the encounters 4,393 photos were taken for individual identification, two biopsy samples were obtained for genetic studies, and three depth-transmitting satellite tags were deployed on two species (one false killer whale, two rough-toothed dolphins). Data were obtained from the two tagged rough-toothed dolphins for 9.9 and 13.4 days. During this period they remained associated with Ni'ihau, with each found inside PMRF range boundaries on 11 occasions, spending 34 percent and 46 percent of their time on PMRF, respectively. The tagged false killer whale was identified as part of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands population, known from previous efforts to use the area around Kaua'i. Data were obtained for 21.3 days; during this period the tagged individual was found inside PMRF boundaries on 17 occasions, spending 24 percent of its time on PMRF. Based on preliminary sound propagation analyses and the locations of animals tracked during this study, both of these populations are likely exposed to mid-frequency active sonar on PMRF, but appear to use the overall area in different ways. Thus, the likelihood of exposure to different sound levels also probably varies by species. Continued collection of movement and habitat use data from all species should allow for a better understanding of the use of the range as well as provide datasets that can be used to estimate received sound levels at animal locations and examine potential responses to exposure.

A copy of the report can be downloaded from http://www.cascadiaresearch.org/hawaii/publications.htm or directly at http://www.cascadiaresearch.org/hawaii/Bairdetal2014_JulAug2013.pdf

More information on our Hawai'i odontocete research can be found at http://www.cascadiaresearch.org/hawaii.htm

Robin W. Baird, Ph.D.
Research Biologist
Cascadia Research Collective
218 1/2 W. 4th Avenue
Olympia, WA 98501 USA
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