[MARMAM] "Best Practices" Workshop on Measuring Behavioural Responses to Man Made Sounds

Jonathan Gordon jg20 at st-andrews.ac.uk
Wed Feb 24 01:30:24 PST 2016


There are still a few places available for this year's Best Practices Workshop.
There are no charges for attending these workshops.  To register contact Jonathan Gordon  jg20 at st-andrews.ac.uk<mailto:jg20 at st-andrews.ac.uk>



Measuring Behavioural Responses to Man Made Sounds: a "Best Practices" workshop organised on behalf of the ECS Scientific Committee


It is now widely appreciated that anthropogenic sound can have detrimental effects on marine mammals.  Concerns about behavioural responses to man-made sound are growing because of a realisation that, in some cases, behavioural changes can have severe physiological consequences and may even result in mortality.  In addition, chronic disturbance and changes in behaviour can disrupt important activities such as foraging, breeding and socialising.  These may have biologically significant consequences for individuals as well as having effects at the population level.  Although for some regulators, population level effects might be the primary concern, it is usually by studying behaviour that short term cause and effect relationships can be established so that problems can be identified and solutions or mitigation can be developed.

In the last few years several very substantial field projects have been conducted to investigate the effects of military sonar on a range of cetacean species.  These probably rank as the largest concerted cetacean field projects ever undertaken and have been mainly supported by military funding.  Results have been presented in a range of publications and in several recent workshops.  In addition to providing new information on the effects of sonar, these studies have been useful in developing new approaches and tools which should have a wider application.

There are of course many other anthropogenic sound sources which are of equal or greater concern. In addition, behavioural responses of marine mammals to artificial sounds can in some cases  be helpful in mitigating or alleviating risks such as those from intense sound sources or from net entanglement.   In this workshop we focus on studies that have measured responses to some of these "non-sonar" sound sources while exploring how the technical and methodological advances made as part of the large sonar studies might be applied more widely.

Studies of behavioural responses have typically followed one of three approaches: observational studies of responses of free ranging animals to activities that are already taking place, uncontrolled experimental exposures where the researcher introduces a sound source but does not have fine scale control over when it is active and controlled exposure experiments during which the researcher has fine scale control over when and where the sound is broadcast.   Researchers have attempted to measure a variety of response metrics from changes in relative densities to detailed movement and behavioural responses.  A variety of research techniques have been employed, ranging from visual and acoustic observations to detailed telemetry tracking of target individuals.  The research approach is often dictated by the particular species of interest, the type of sound being investigated and the metrics that can and should be obtained.  In tandem with these studies, have been initiatives to develop and improve techniques for both collecting and analysing the types of behavioural data that such studies generate.

When the research involves introducing a new source of sound there may be both ethical and regulatory concerns over possible effects on both the target study subject and other non-target animals in the vicinity.

Although they are conceptually simple, these studies have often been challenging to deliver.  The purpose of this workshop is to review and take stock of recent studies, critically assess the strengths and shortcomings of different approaches and synthesise recommendations for best practice which should be useful for those planning future studies.

In addition to some general presentations the workshops will include sessions where researchers summarise studies that have utilised differing approaches and techniques to investigate response to particular sound sources.

The intention is that the workshop should combine a series of presentations focused on practice and methodology of different approaches with ample opportunities for questions, exchange and discussion.



General Talks
Introduction and overview of some previous workshops.  - Jonathan Gordon
Analysing behavioural response study data: tools and insights from the MOCHA project. Catriona Harris
Ethical, legal and regulatory considerations.   Sarah Dolman
Collecting and interpreting data with greater biological significance.  Saana Isojunno
Status and future of research on the behavioural responses of marine mammals to U.S. Navy sonar  Catriona Harris

Example Studies by Sound Types
Responses of porpoises and seals to pile driving during wind farm construction   Jacob Tougaard, Gordon Hastie, David Thompson
Responses to tidal turbine noise.  Gordon Hastie, Dave Thompson
Responses of beaked whales and small cetaceans to shipping noise.  Enrico Pirotta, Natacha Aguilar
Responses of porpoise and seals to mitigation signals.  Miriam Brandt, Jonathan Gordon and Dave Thompson.






~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Dr Jonathan Gordon,
Sea Mammal Research Unit, Scottish Oceans Institute,
Gatty Laboratory, University of Saint Andrews,
Saint Andrews
Fife KY16 8LB
Tel. 01334 462637 (o) Mobile 07866 267814
Fax 01334 462632
Digital Messaging Service
Voice 07020-964-330, Fax 07020-964-334
Skype: EcologicUK
The University of St Andrews is a charity registered in Scotland : No SC013532



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Dr Jonathan Gordon,
Sea Mammal Research Unit, Scottish Oceans Institute,
Gatty Laboratory, University of Saint Andrews,
Saint Andrews
Fife KY16 8LB
Tel. 01334 462637 (o) Mobile 07866 267814
Fax 01334 462632
Digital Messaging Service
Voice 07020-964-330, Fax 07020-964-334
Skype: EcologicUK
The University of St Andrews is a charity registered in Scotland : No SC013532

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