[MARMAM] New publication: Minke whale swimming behavior in Hawaii

Regina Guazzo rguazzo at ucsd.edu
Tue Apr 11 10:42:12 PDT 2023

Dear Colleagues,

I hope you are doing well.  My co-authors and I are excited to announce the
following open-access publication:

Helble TA, Guazzo RA, Durbach IN, Martin CR, Alongi GC, Martin SW and
Henderson EE (2023) Minke whales change their swimming behavior with
respect to their calling behavior, nearby conspecifics, and the environment
in the central North Pacific. Front. Mar. Sci. 10:1148987. doi:

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2023.1148987

Behavioral responses to sonar have been observed in a number of baleen
whales, including minke whales (*Balaenoptera acutorostrata*). Previous
studies used acoustic minke whale boing detections to localize and track
individual whales on the U.S. Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) in Kaua
‘i, Hawai‘i before, during, and after Navy training activities. These
analyses showed significant changes in central North Pacific minke whale
distribution and swimming behavior during Navy sonar events. For the
purposes of contextualizing changes in animal movement relative to Navy
sonar, we expanded on this research to examine the natural variation in
minke whale movement when Navy sonar was not present. This study included
2,245 acoustically derived minke whale tracks spanning the years 2012–2017
over all months that minke whales were detected (October–May). Minke whale
movement was examined relative to calling season, day of the year, hour of
day, wind speed, calling state (nominal or rapid), and distance to the
nearest calling conspecific. Hidden Markov models were used to identify two
kinematic states (slower, less directional movement and faster, more
directional movement). The findings indicate that minke whales were more
likely to travel in a faster and more directional state when they were
calling rapidly, when other vocalizing minke whales were nearby, during
certain times of the day and calling seasons, and in windier conditions,
but these changes in movement were less intense than the changes observed
during exposure to Navy sonar, when swim speeds were the fastest. These
results start to put behavioral responses to Navy sonar into an
environmental context to understand the severity of responses relative to
natural changes in behavior.

Please email Tyler Helble (tyler.a.helble.civ at us.navy.mil) if you have any
questions about this work.

All my best,


Regina A. Guazzo, PhD (she/her
Oceanographer and Outreach Lead
Whale Acoustic Reconnaissance Project (WARP)
Environmental Readiness Program, Code 56720
Naval Information Warfare Center, Pacific
Work Cell: 757-472-0957
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