[MARMAM] New paper on variation in harbour porpoise activity in response to seismic survey noise

Enrico Pirotta pirotts at libero.it
Thu May 22 07:45:43 PDT 2014

Dear MARMAM colleagues,

We are pleased to announce that the following paper has been published online:

Enrico Pirotta, Kate L. Brookes, Isla M. Graham and Paul M. Thompson (2014). 
Variation in harbour porpoise activity in response to seismic survey noise. 
Biology Letters 10(5): 20131090.

Animals exposed to anthropogenic disturbance make trade-offs between perceived 
risk and the cost of leaving disturbed areas. Impact assessments tend to focus 
on overt behavioural responses leading to displacement, but trade-offs may also 
impact individual energy budgets through reduced foraging performance. Previous 
studies found no evidence for broad-scale displacement of harbour porpoises 
exposed to impulse noise from a 10 day two-dimensional seismic survey. Here, we 
used an array of passive acoustic loggers coupled with calibrated noise 
measurements to test whether the seismic survey influenced the activity 
patterns of porpoises remaining in the area. We showed that the probability of 
recording a buzz declined by 15% in the ensonified area and was positively 
related to distance from the source vessel. We also estimated received levels 
at the hydrophones and characterized the noise response curve. Our results 
demonstrate how environmental impact assessments can be developed to assess 
more subtle effects of noise disturbance on activity patterns and foraging 

KEY WORDS: activity budget, anthropogenic disturbance, environmental impact 
assessment, foraging efficiency.

A PDF copy of the work can be downloaded from: 


Please do not hesitate to contact me for any question regarding our work.

Best Regards,
Enrico Pirotta

More information about the MARMAM mailing list