[MARMAM] New publication on noise impact on whale resting and nursing using drones

Patty Arranz patty.arranz at gmail.com
Wed Nov 10 07:53:18 PST 2021


Dear Colleagues,

The paper ‘‘Decreased resting and nursing in short-finned pilot whales when
exposed to louder petrol engine noise of a hybrid whale-watch vessel*'* is
published today in the journal *Scientific Reports*. You can download the
pdf from this link: http://nature.com/articles/s41598-021-00487-0.



The work is the result of the joint effort of researchers from the
University of La Laguna (Spain), Aarhus University (Denmark) and University
of Iceland (Iceland), as well as a collaborating whale watching operator
from Tenerife, Canary Islands.



Authors: Patricia Arranz, Maria Glarou, Kate R. Sprogis.

Previous research has found that noise produced by whale-watch vessels can
affect whale behaviour. However, despite global effort for implementing
best-practice principles, to date, there are no regulations on whale-watch
vessel noise levels.

We used drones to observe the behaviour of short-finned pilot whale mother
and calf pairs off the coast of Tenerife, Spain. We found that, compared to
those not approached by a vessel, mothers who were approached by a vessel
with petrol engines spent on average 29% less time resting and 81% less
time nursing their calves. There were no significant effects on behaviour
from the vessel when using the quieter electric engines. These results
suggest that these behavioural changes could increase the energy
consumption of mothers and reduce calf energy intake, with potential
negative implications for calf survival.

The findings demonstrate that, even if whale-watch vessels comply with
current guidelines, louder engines can have a greater impact on whale
behaviour. We suggest that noise produced by whale-watch vessels be
minimised and the noise levels from whale-watch vessels considered in
existing guidelines, in order to limit disturbance to whales.



Reference: P. Arranz, M. Glarou, K. Sprogis. 2021. Decreased resting
and nursing in short‑finned pilot whales when exposed to louder petrol
engine noise of a hybrid whale‑watch vessel. Scientific Reports,
11:21195



Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

Kind regards,

Patricia, Maria and Kate

CONTACT: Patricia Arranz (University of La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain)

Email: arranz at ull.edu.es
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