[MARMAM] New ESR Publication: Nowhere to go: noise impact assessments for, marine mammal populations with high site fidelity

Brandon Southall brandon.southall at sea-inc.net
Mon May 15 06:37:11 PDT 2017

MARMAM readers,

On behalf of my colleagues and co-authors, I would like to bring to your 
attention a new publication in Endangered Species Research. This paper 
is a contribution to the Theme Section ‘21st century paradigms for 
measuring and managing the effects of anthropogenic ocean noise’ that 
has been developed and edited by Doug Nowacek, Wendy Dow-Peniak, and 
myself. The citation and abstract of the article are given below. The 
full text is available Open Access at 
<http://www.int-res.com/abstracts/esr/v32/> or by personal request to 
Brandon.Southall at sea-inc.net.

*Forney, K.A., Southall, B.L., Slooten, E., Dawson, S., Read, A.J., 
Baird, R.W. and Brownell, R.L., 2017. Nowhere to go: Noise impact 
assessments for marine mammal populations with high site fidelity. 
/Endangered Species Research/.*

ABSTRACT. As awareness of the effects of anthropogenic noise on marine 
mammals has grown, research has broadened from evaluating physiological 
responses, including injury and mortality, to considering effects on 
behavior and acoustic communication. Most mitigation efforts attempt to 
minimize injury by enabling animals to move away as noise levels are 
increased gradually. Recent
experiences demonstrate that this approach is inadequate or even 
counterproductive for small, localized marine mammal populations, for 
which displacement of animals may itself cause harm.
Seismic surveys within the ranges of harbor porpoise /Phocoena phocoena/ 
in California and Ma¯ui dolphin /Cephalorhynchus hectori maui/ in New 
Zealand highlight the need to explicitly consider biological risks posed 
by displacement during survey planning, monitoring, and mitigation. 
Consequences of displacement are poorly understood, but likely include 
increased stress and reduced
foraging success, with associated effects on survival and reproduction. 
In some cases, such as the Critically Endangered Ma¯ui dolphin, 
displacement by seismic activities risks exposing the remaining 55 
dolphins to bycatch in nearby fisheries. Similar concerns about military 
and industrial activities exist for island-associated species such as 
melon-headed whales /Peponocephala electra/ in Hawai’i; shelf-break 
associated species such as Cuvier’s beaked whales /Ziphius cavirostris/ 
off the US Atlantic coast, and whales foraging in coastal habitats, such 
as the Critically Endangered western gray whale /Eschrichtius robustus/. 
We present an expanded framework for considering disturbance effects 
that acknowledges scientific uncertainty, providing managers and 
operators a more robust means of assessing and avoiding potential harm 
associated with both displacement and direct effects of intense 
anthropogenic noise exposure.

Brandon L. Southall, Ph.D.
President, Senior Scientist, SEA, Inc.
Research Associate, University of California, Santa Cruz
9099 Soquel Drive, Suite 8, Aptos, CA 95003, USA
831.332.8744 (mobile); 831.661.5177 (office); 831.661.5178 (fax)
Brandon.Southall at sea-inc.net; www.sea-inc.net

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