[MARMAM] New Paper on Cuvier's beaked whales and Navy Sonar

Greg Schorr gschorr at marecotel.org
Fri Sep 15 07:07:41 PDT 2017

We are pleased to announce the following article that was recently
published in Royal Society Open Science, and is available open source at:

Title: Diving behaviour of Cuvier's beaked whales exposed to two types of
military sonar.

Authors: Erin A. Falcone, Gregory S. Schorr, Stephanie L. Watwood, Stacy L.
DeRuiter, Alexandre N. Zerbini, Russel D. Andrews, Ronald P. Morrissey, and
David J. Moretti.


Cuvier's beaked whales (*Ziphius cavirostris*) have stranded in association
with mid-frequency active sonar (MFAS) use, and though the causative
mechanism linking these events remains unclear, it is believed to be
behaviourally mediated. To determine whether MFAS use was associated with
behavioural changes in this species, satellite tags were used to record the
diving and movements of 16 Cuvier's beaked whales for up to 88 days in a
region of frequent MFAS training off the coast of Southern California. Tag
data were combined with summarized records of concurrent bouts of
high-power, surface ship and mid-power, helicopter-deployed MFAS use, along
with other potential covariates, in generalized additive mixed-effects
models. Deep dives, shallow dives, and surface intervals tended to become
longer during MFAS use, with some variation associated with total amount of
overlapping MFAS during the behaviour. These changes in dives and surface
intervals contributed to a longer interval between deep dives, a proxy for
foraging disruption in this species. Most responses intensified with
proximity and were more pronounced during mid-power than high-power MFAS
use at comparable distances within ~ 50 km, despite the significantly lower
source level of mid-power MFAS. However, distance-mediated responses to
high-power MFAS, and increased deep dive intervals during mid-power MFAS,
were evident up to ~100 km away.

Greg Schorr, Research Biologist
Marine Ecology and Telemetry Research
2420 Nellita Rd NW, Seabeck WA 98380
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