[MARMAM] New publication: "Advances in research on the impacts of anti-submarine sonar on beaked whales"

Yara Bernaldo de Quirós Miranda yarabdq at gmail.com
Wed Jan 30 03:00:53 PST 2019

Dear Colleagues,

We are glad to announce a new review on “Advances in research on the
impacts of anti-submarine sonar on beaked whales
<https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/full/10.1098/rspb.2018.2533>”. This
review arose from a workshop organized by the Institute of Animal Health of
the University of Las Palmas de Gran in September 2017 and counted with the
participation of 21 beaked whale experts in different fields such as beaked
whale population assessments, behavior, anatomy, physiology, and pathology.
This review summarizes the content discussed during the workshop and
focuses on questions posed regarding DCS and its role in recent atypical
mass stranding events.

The article is freely available from:



Mass stranding events (MSEs) of beaked whales (BWs) were extremely rare
prior to the 1960s but increased markedly after the development of naval
mid-frequency active sonar (MFAS). The temporal and spatial associations
between atypical BW MSEs and naval exercises were first observed in the
Canary Islands, Spain, in the mid-1980s. Further research on BWs stranded
in association with naval exercises demonstrated pathological findings
consistent with decompression sickness (DCS). A 2004 ban on MFASs around
the Canary Islands successfully prevented additional BW MSEs in the region,
but atypical MSEs have continued in other places of the world, especially
in the Mediterranean Sea, with examined individuals showing DCS. A workshop
held in Fuerteventura, Canary Islands, in September 2017 reviewed current
knowledge on BW atypical MSEs associated with MFAS. Our review suggests
that the effects of MFAS on BWs vary among individuals or populations, and
predisposing factors may contribute to individual outcomes. Spatial
management specific to BW habitat, such as the MFAS ban in the Canary
Islands, has proven to be an effective mitigation tool and mitigation
measures should be established in other areas taking into consideration
known population-level information.


Prof. Antonio Fernández

PhD Yara Bernaldo de Quirós
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