[MARMAM] New Publication on Sperm whale year-round presence & ambient sound levels in the Greek Seas

Niki Diogou niki.diogou at gmail.com
Mon May 13 07:01:29 PDT 2019

Dear all,

My colleagues and I are glad to share with the MARMAM Community our
paper on sperm whale acoustic presence in the Greek Seas, published in
*Mediterranean Marine Scienc*e.

& KATSANEVAKIS, S. (2019).
Year-round acoustic presence of sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus)
and baseline ambient ocean sound levels in the Greek Seas.
*Mediterranean Marine Science, 20*(1), 208-221.

*Corresponding author: niki.diogou at gmail.com


The sperm whale (*Physeter macrocephalus*) is the largest odontocete
occurring in the Greek Seas. However, monitoring the species’
spatiotemporal distribution patterns is especially difficult during the
winter months when unfavorable weather conditions often hinder survey
efforts. In the Greek Seas, visual cetacean surveys are typically not
conducted between November and March. In a first attempt to collect
year-round baseline information on sperm whale occurrence patterns in Greek
waters, two Passive Aquatic Listeners (PALs) were deployed for 19 months,
at Pylos Station (36.8 N, 21.6ο E) in the Hellenic Trench, and at Athos
Station (40.0 N, 24.7ο E) in the North Aegean Trough. Results revealed the
year-round presence of sperm whales at Pylos Station with a higher number
of detections observed during late spring and throughout the summer. No
sperm whale vocalizations were detected at Athos Station. An ambient sound
level analysis revealed higher winter and lower summer levels at both sites
largely driven by local weather conditions. Results showed that marine life
in the Hellenic Trench area was exposed to higher low frequency (< 1 kHz)
sound levels (by up to 10 dB re 1 μPa2/Hz). Ambient noise below 1 kHz is
frequently dominated by anthropogenic sources including shipping. Ship
strikes and noise disturbance constitute major threats for the small,
genetically isolated, endangered sperm whale population. The results of
this study are useful for sperm whale conservation efforts in the region
and may help policymakers in prioritizing mitigation measures, including
the establishment of speed limits and rerouting of ship traffic.

The manuscript is available for download at:


Please do not hesitate to contact me (niki.diogou
<https://lists.uvic.ca/mailman/listinfo/marmam> at gmail.com) with any

Best regards,


Niki Diogou

PhD Candidate

University of the Aegean, Department of Marine Sciences
Oregon State University Research Collective for Applied Acoustics (ORCAA)
Hellenic Center for Marine Research, Department of Oceanography
*+30 6944 050 050*
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