[MARMAM] New publications on Wind Energy related research

Genevieve Davis - NOAA Federal genevieve.davis at noaa.gov
Wed Nov 15 07:14:57 PST 2023


Dear colleagues,

We are pleased to announce 3 recent publications from our Passive Acoustics
Branch in the ICES Journal of Marine Science special issue "Assessing the
impact of expanding offshore wind energy".   All are open access:

1. Davis, G.E., Tennant, S.C., Van Parijs, S.M. Upcalling behaviour and
patterns in North Atlantic right whales, implications for monitoring
protocols during wind energy development, *ICES Journal of Marine Science*,
2023;, fsad174, https://doi.org/10.1093/icesjms/fsad174

Abstract: Offshore wind energy is rapidly developing in US waters, with
construction underway off Southern New England (SNE), an important region
for many species, including the critically endangered North Atlantic right
whale (NARW). A data-driven understanding of NARW upcalling behaviour is
presented here to help establish proper monitoring protocols for mitigating
impacts. Analyses of individual upcalls from 2 years of acoustic recordings
showed that NARWs were detected at least 1 day every week throughout both
years, with highest NARW presence from October to April. Weeks with more
days of acoustic presence typically had more hours with calling activity,
but the number of upcalls within a day or hour was variable, reflective of
the social function of the upcall. Within SNE, on average, 95% of the time
NARWs persisted for 10 days, and reoccurred again within 11 days. An
evaluation of the time period over which it is most effective to monitor
prior to commencing pile driving activities showed that with 1 h of
pre-construction monitoring there was only 4% likelihood of hearing a NARW,
compared to 74% at 18 h. Therefore, monitoring for at least 24 h prior to
activity will increase the likelihood of detecting an up-calling NARW.

2.  Holdman, A.K., Tregenza, N., Van Parijs, S.M.,  DeAngelis, A.I.
Acoustic ecology of harbour porpoise (*Phocoena phocoena*) between two U.S.
offshore wind energy areas, *ICES Journal of Marine Science*, 2023;,
fsad150, https://doi.org/10.1093/icesjms/fsad150

Abstract: Offshore wind energy is set to develop rapidly in waters off the
east coast of the United States. There is considerable overlap between
areas proposed for offshore wind development and harbour porpoise habitats
in the Gulf of Maine (GOM) and Southern New England waters. Baseline data
on the occurrence and foraging activity of porpoises was collected using 10
echolocation-click detectors (F-PODs) from 2020 to 2022. Porpoises were
present year-round in the GOM with peak detections in the summer and fall.
In line with previous reported distribution patterns, porpoise occurrence
in Southern New England was high in fall, winter and spring, but porpoises
were largely absent in the summer. One site in the GOM, Mount Desert Rock
(MDR), was an anomaly as porpoise detections here were highest in the
winter. On average, foraging was identified in 29% of all porpoise
detections, with the most foraging occurring at MDR (53%). Results from
generalized additive models suggest that time of year, hour of day, lunar
illumination, and temperature are significant contributors to porpoise
presence and/or foraging effort. European studies show that harbour
porpoises exhibit behavioural changes, disruption of foraging and
displacement due to wind energy development. Therefore, early
identification of areas of importance, mitigating impacts, and monitoring
changes is essential for the protection of this species in US waters.

3. Van Parijs, S.M., DeAngelis, A.I., Aldrich, T., Gordon, R., Holdman, A.,
McCordic, J.A.,  Mouy, X., Rowell, T.J., Tennant, S., Westell, A., Davis,
G.E. Establishing baselines for predicting change in ambient sound metrics,
marine mammal, and vessel occurrence within a US offshore wind energy
area, *ICES
Journal of Marine Science*, 2023;, fsad148,
https://doi.org/10.1093/icesjms/fsad148

Abstract: Evaluating potential impacts on marine animals or increased sound
levels resulting from offshore wind energy construction requires the
establishment of baseline data records from which to draw inference. This
study provides 2 years of baseline data on cetacean species’ presence,
vessel activity, and ambient sound levels in the southern New England wind
energy area. With eight species/families present in the area for at least 9
months of the year, this area represents an important habitat for
cetaceans. Most species showed seasonality, with peak daily presence in
winter (harbour porpoise, North Atlantic right, fin, and humpback whales),
summer (sperm whales), spring (sei whales), or spring and fall/autumn
(minke whales). Delphinids were continuously present and blue whales
present only in January. The endangered North Atlantic right whales were
present year round with high presence in October through April. Daily
vessel presence showed an increase from summer through fall/autumn. On
average, ambient sound levels were lowest in summer and increased late 2021
through 2022 with most temporal variability occurring across lower
frequencies. The area showed a complex soundscape with several species
sharing time–frequency space as well as overlap of vessel noise with the
communication range of all baleen whale species.

Cheers,
*Genevieve Davis*
*Passive Acoustics Branch*
Northeast Fisheries Science Center
166 Water Street, Woods Hole, MA 02543
NOAA Fisheries | U.S. Department of Commerce
Phone: 508-495-2325‬
NEFSC Passive Acoustic Research: www.fisheries.noaa.gov
<https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/new-england-mid-atlantic/endangered-species-conservation/passive-acoustic-research-atlantic-ocean>
NEFSC Passive Acoustic Cetacean Map (PACM)
<https://apps-nefsc.fisheries.noaa.gov/pacm/#/>
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