[MARMAM] New paper: Vessel noise levels drive behavioural responses of humpback whales with implications for whale-watching

Kate Rose-Ann Sprogis kate.sprogis at bios.au.dk
Fri Jun 19 04:40:54 PDT 2020


Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to announce the following paper published in eLife.

Title: Vessel noise levels drive behavioural responses of humpback whales with implications for whale-watching.

Authors: Kate R. Sprogis, Simone Videsen and Peter T. Madsen.

Abstract: Disturbance from whale-watching can cause significant behavioural changes with fitness consequences for targeted whale populations. However, the sensory stimuli triggering these responses are unknown, preventing effective mitigation. Here, we test the hypothesis that vessel noise level is a driver of disturbance, using humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) as a model species. We conducted controlled exposure experiments (n= 42) on resting mother-calf pairs on a resting ground off Australia, by simulating whale-watch scenarios with a research vessel (range 100 m, speed 1.5 knts) playing back vessel noise at control/low (124/148 dB), medium (160 dB) or high (172 dB) LF-weighted source levels (re 1 μPa RMS at 1m). Compared to control/low treatments, during high noise playbacks the mother’s proportion of time resting decreased by 30%, respiration rate doubled and swim speed increased by 37%. We therefore conclude that vessel noise is an adequate driver of behavioural disturbance in whales and that regulations to mitigate the impact of whale-watching should include noise emission standards.

Reference:
Sprogis KR, Videsen S, Madsen PT (2020) Vessel noise levels drive behavioural responses of humpback whales with implications for whale-watching. eLife. doi: 10.7554/eLife.56760<https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.56760>

The accepted pre-manuscript is online (PDF to freely download), with the full online typeset edition to follow (in a few weeks).

Kind regards,

Kate Sprogis
Marie Skłodowska-Curie Post-doctoral Fellow
Marine Bioacoustics Lab,<https://marinebioacoustics.wordpress.com/people/kate-sprogis/> Dept. of Bioscience, Aarhus University, Denmark
kate.sprogis at bio.au.dk<mailto:kate.sprogis at bio.au.dk> | Kate Sprogis Photography<https://katesprogisphotography.wordpress.com/>
Twitter, Instagram: @KateSprogis

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Recent papers:
-          Sprogis KR, Bejder L, Hanf D, Christiansen F. 2020. Behavioural responses of migrating humpback whales to swim-with-whale activities in the Ningaloo Marine Park, Western Australia. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 522:151254. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jembe.2019.151254
-          Christiansen F, Sprogis KR, Gross J, Castrillon J, Warick HA, Leunissen E & Bengtson Nash S. 2020. Variation in outer blubber lipid concentrations does not reflect morphological body condition in humpback whales. Journal of Experimental Biology. doi: 10.1242/jeb.213769<https://jeb.biologists.org/content/early/2020/03/06/jeb.213769>




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