[MARMAM] New publication: dose-response curve for killer whale behavioural responses to ships

Christine Erbe erbe_c at yahoo.com
Wed Feb 12 14:21:40 PST 2014

Dear Colleagues,

on behalf of the first author, I would like to announce a new publication.

Williams, R., Erbe, C., Ashe, E., Beerman, A., and Smith, J. (2014). Severity of killer whale behavioural responses to ship noise: A dose-response study. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 79, 254-260.

Critical habitats of at-risk populations of northeast Pacific ‘‘resident’’ killer whales can be heavily trafficked by large ships, with transits occurring on average once every hour in busy shipping lanes. We modeled behavioral responses of killer whales to ship transits during 35 ‘‘natural experiments’’ as a dose–response function of estimated received noise levels in both broadband and audiogram-weighted terms. Interpreting effects is contingent on a subjective and seemingly arbitrary decision about severity threshold indicating a response. Subtle responses were observed around broadband received levels of 130 dB re 1 uPa (rms); more severe responses are hypothesized to occur at received levels beyond 150 dB re 1 uPa, where our study lacked data. Avoidance responses are expected to carry minor energetic costs in terms of increased energy expenditure, but future research must assess the potential for reduced prey acquisition, and potential population consequences, under these noise levels.



Rob & Christine

Rob Williams <rmcw at st-andrews.ac.uk>

Christine Erbe
Director | Centre for Marine Science & Technology
Curtin University
GPO Box U1987, Western Australia 6845
Tel | +61 8 9266 7543 
Mobile | 0407 0500 32  

Email | C.Erbe at curtin.edu.au 
Web | http://cmst.curtin.edu.au

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