[MARMAM] 11/20: NOAA seminar: Population Consequences of Disturbance by Offshore Oil and Gas Activity for Endangered Sperm Whales (Physeter macrocephalus)

Tracy Gill - NOAA Federal tracy.gill at noaa.gov
Mon Nov 19 07:36:36 PST 2018

OneNOAA Science Seminar Series <https://www.nodc.noaa.gov/seminars/>
Please forward to folks (in or out of NOAA) who might be interested; thanks.

*Title: Population Consequences of Disturbance by Offshore Oil and Gas
Activity for Endangered Sperm Whales (Physeter macrocephalus)*

*When: *TOMORROW, Tuesday, November 19, 2018, 12-1pm ET

*Where: *Via webinar (see login below), or for NOAA Silver Spring folks,
SSMC4, Rm 8150

*Speaker: *Dr. Nick Farmer, Chief, Species Conservation, Protected
Resources Division, NOAA Fisheries, Southeast Regional Office. Presenting

*Sponsor: *NOAA's National Ocean Service Science Seminar Series; host is
Tracy.Gill at noaa.gov

*Webinar Access:* We will be using Adobe Connect for this webinar. To join
a session, please go to the following website at the scheduled date and
time, and hit button "Enter as Guest", then please add your first & last
name: https://noaabroadcast.adobeconnect.com/nosscienceseminars/
Users should use either IE or Edge on Windows or Safari if using a Mac;
google chrome often works too. You can test your ability to use Adobe
Connect at the following link:
 Contact your help desk if you have any trouble completing this test. Audio
will be available thru the computer only; no phone. Questions will be
addressed in the chat window. This Webcast will be recorded, archived and
made accessible in the near future.

*Abstract: *Sperm whale (*Physeter macrocephalus*) populations are still
recovering from massive population declines associated with commercial
whaling operations. The species continues to face a suite of contemporary
threats, including pollution, ship strikes, fisheries interactions, habitat
loss and degradation, oil spills, and anthropogenic noise. The sperm whale
stock in the northern Gulf of Mexico was exposed to oil from the Deepwater
Horizon (DWH) oil spill and is exposed to high levels of anthropogenic
noises generated by geological and geophysical (G&G) surveys for
hydrocarbon deposits. Population impacts from oil and gas activities were
predicted from models that incorporated two stressors: (i) oil exposure
from DWH and (ii) noise from G&G surveys. Oil exposure was projected to
reduce survival and reproductive success, causing a mean stock decline of
26% by 2025. Additionally, exposure to underwater noise can adversely
impact whale hearing, communication, foraging efficiency, and disturb
essential behaviors. Exposures to G&G survey noise were determined by
simulating individual movements through three-dimensional sound fields
generated by different survey methods. Behavioral disturbance was evaluated
as reduced foraging opportunities under four dose-response functions.
Bioenergetic models tracked the depletion of reserves in blubber, muscle,
and viscera. All simulations suggested significant reductions in relative
fitness of reproductive females were a likely consequence of persistent
disturbances to foraging behaviors. Under a 160 dB SPL unweighted
dose-response function, up to 4.4 ± 0.3% of the stock may reach terminal
starvation due to behavioral disturbance associated with future G&G
surveys, leading to abortions, calf abandonment, and up to 25% greater
stock declines beyond those predicted from DWH oil exposure. Uncertainty in
our results emphasizes a need for further controlled exposure experiments
to generate behavioral disturbance dose-response curves and detailed
evaluation of individual resilience following disturbance events. Given our
focus on a limited suite of threats and need for field verification of
these modeled impacts, precautionary management application of our results
is recommended for this endangered species.

*About the Speaker: *Dr. Farmer earned his Ph.D. in Marine Biology and
Fisheries from the University of Miami. He is the Chief of Species
Conservation in the Protected Resources Division at the NOAA Fisheries
Southeast Regional Office. His research includes reef fish movement
tracking, efficient marine reserve design, acoustic monitoring of fish
spawning aggregations, fishery-independent monitoring of reef fish
populations, species distribution models for protected species, dynamic
stock assessment projection management decision tools, the population
consequences of multiple stressors for endangered cetaceans, and satellite
tracking of giant manta rays.

*Subscribe to the OneNOAA Science Seminar weekly email*: Send an email to
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in the subject or body. See http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/seminars/


Tracy A. Gill   tracy.gill at noaa.gov   240-533-0349
Physical Scientist
, NOAA/NOS Science Seminar Coordinator
NOAA/NOS National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS
Marine Spatial Ecology Division, Biogeography Branch
1305 East-West Hwy, N/SCI-1, # 9208, Silver Spring, MD  20910-3278

*Check out **the OneNOAA Science Seminar Series website
<https://www.nodc.noaa.gov/seminars/> for the schedule and to
**sign up <https://list.woc.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/onenoaascienceseminars>
for the weekly seminar email.*

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