[MARMAM] New publication on harbor porpoise reaction to a 3D seismic survey

Joanna Sarnocinska sarnocinskaj at gmail.com
Fri Jan 17 01:59:04 PST 2020

Dear MARMAR community,

My co-authors and I are happy to announce our new publication:

Sarnocińska J, Teilmann J, Balle JD, van Beest FM, Delefosse M and Tougaard
J (2020) Harbor Porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) Reaction to a 3D Seismic
Airgun Survey in the North Sea. Front. Mar. Sci. 6:824. doi:

The most common cetacean in the North Sea is the harbor porpoise (Phocoena
phocoena). Underwater noise is increasingly recognized as a source of
impact on the marine environment and seismic airguns were one of the first
man-made high intensity sound source to receive attention with respect to
potential impact on marine mammals. In this study, we investigate the
effects of a 3D seismic survey on harbor porpoise echolocation activity in
the Danish sector of the North Sea. This was achieved by deploying porpoise
click detectors (C-PODs) and sound recorders (SM2M and SM3M) both inside
and adjacent to the seismic survey area, before, during and after the
survey over a total duration of 9 months. Three echolocation parameters
were analyzed: number of clicks per minute, minutes with porpoise
echolocation click trains and feeding buzz frequency in relation to all
minutes with click trains. Decreases in echolocation signals were detected
up to 8–12 km from the active airguns, which may indicate temporary
displacement of porpoises or a change in porpoise echolocation behavior.
However, no general displacement of harbor porpoises away from the seismic
survey area could be detected when comparing to reference stations 15 km
away from any seismic activity. Our results add to the understanding that
underwater noise has the potential to affect temporarily foraging
efficiency in porpoises. While the effect of seismic surveys on harbor
porpoise behavior was smaller than what has been found for pile-driving,
the cumulative effect of anthropogenic impacts could be assessed by
evaluation of potential population level consequences.

Open access to the article:


Best regards, Joanna Sarnocińska
Marine Environmental Consulting
sarnocinskaj at gmail.com
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