[MARMAM] New paper on the effects of seismic surveys on New Zealand fur seals

Helen McConnell hmcconnell at slrconsulting.com
Tue May 10 19:07:11 PDT 2016

Dear colleagues,

My co-author and I are pleased to announce our recent publication on the effects of seismic surveys on New Zealand fur seals:

Lalas, C and McConnell, H. 2016. Effects of seismic surveys on New Zealand fur seals during daylight hours: Do fur seals respond to obstacles rather than airgun noise? Marine Mammal Science 32(2): 643 – 663. DOI: 10.1111/mms.12293

The responses of New Zealand fur seals (Arctocephalus forsteri) during a three-dimensional marine seismic survey were recorded in the first quantified investigation of the effects of seismic exploration operations on otariid seals. The survey was over the continental slope off southern New Zealand, where fur seals dive to forage at night and rest on the surface during daylight hours. Data were restricted to daylight sightings from the source vessel while towed seismic gear was fully deployed, with comparisons made between fur seal responses when airguns were off and when airguns were operating at full power. Results were inconclusive. Comparisons were confounded because both sighting rate and distance first seen decreased with deteriorating sea state. The key finding of this study was that the source vessel and towed gear created physical obstacles that often generated responses from fur seals. A more thorough investigation is recommended in order to differentiate between responses to airgun noise and responses to physical obstacles, and improvements are suggested to rectify shortfalls in data collection that should generate conclusive outcomes.

The paper is available online at:

Or please feel free to contact me directly at:
hmcconnell at slrconsulting.com<mailto:hmcconnell at slrconsulting.com>

Kind regards,

Helen McConnell
SLR Consulting NZ Limited

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Email:  hmcconnell at slrconsulting.com<mailto:hmcconnell at slrconsulting.com>
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